EXCITER may have been a band to put Canada on the Metal map in the 1980s (along with RAZOR and ANNIHILATOR), but the output as of lately has been anything but memorable. Keeping one’s hopes up for a turn around in quality, “Death Machine” finally ended up in my reviewing queue. Too bad it’s just another mediocre effort from a band that formerly made the paths for others to follow.
“Death Machine” is far from being bad. It’s still a fairly respectable Speed Metal release whose intent and energy help it from drowning too much in its formulaic writing and standard performances. The writing simply doesn’t spark on this tenth album. It tends to want to all blend together with it’s flurried riffing, bouncing bass, and shrieking vocals. A muddy production certainly doesn’t help that at all (where’s the punch guys?), but the general formula for EXCITER runs thin on “Death Machine”. Most songs pummel with quick riffing and stick to that. Sans the mid-tempo and pounding “Power And Domination”, these Canadians stick to their guns to a fault.
Easily the best two aspects of “Death Machine” are the drumming (which kicks some serious energy into the mix on double bass embattlements and some killer fills like the epic “Skull Breaker”) and the rather unique and shrill vocal performance. The lyrical content is run of the mill violence and being pissed off with repetitive choruses, but Winter’s almost ACCUSED like warbling and wails make for an interesting take to give the mundane instrumental work some spice. Once again the production hinders some of the more powerful work, but it does give it a unique aspect to latch onto.
Simply put, EXCITER has yet to release anything in decades that excites. “Death Machine” adds nothing new to the mix. Their latest vocalist punches it up and the drums ably give the album some depth, but the album is written in a mediocre way. Not what one expects from such an influential act even in this day and age.
Songs to check out: “Death Machine”, “Razor In Your Back”, “Skull Breaker."
(Online June 29, 2012)