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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


Long Live The Loud

Review by Mike Korn

The glory years of the 80s brought forth a ton of metal bands that should have gone on to huge careers but missed by inches. Savatage was one such band, Helstar was another. For my money, no band deserve big success more than Canada’s Exciter. The very definition of a power trio, this was a band that helped usher me into the world of underground metal.

Their debut release Heavy Metal Maniac is still considered a seminal work to this day, and I wouldn’t dispute that for a second. But the band’s greatest album to me was their third LP, 1985’s Long Live The Loud. Even now, it remains one of my top five records of all time. With flawless production by Guy Bidmead, this sucker was everything a heavy metal record should be. Exciter has been described as Judas Priest on 11, and that was never truer than here. So let’s dive into this 100% metal classic.

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Track by Track Review
Unlike the throwaway intros that litter modern metal records, this song actually meant something and served as the perfect lead-in to the record as a whole. An instrumental, this has a heavy but elegant sound, almost like something from classical music transformed into steel. It perfectly leads to the following title track.
Long Live The Loud
Now we dive right into the meaty metal of the album with a fast and ripping speed metal track that very much fits the “Judas Priest on speed” description. Screaming lead vocals from drummer Dan Beehler and an anthemic fist-pumping chorus make you reach for the neck brace right away, and John Ricci’s guitar solo is totally scorching. Ricci’s guitar style has been described as “lightning turned into sound,” and that’s never been truer than here. What an anthem this is!
I Am The Beast
Things only get faster and meaner with this dark thrashing attack.  The main riff here sounds like a snarling animal, which is totally appropriate. Beehler pushes his high-pitched screams to another level. The main riff is repeated a lot, which might turn some off, but I found that approach hypnotic here, similar to the way Saxon’s “Wheels of Steel” gets burned into your head. Only this is way faster than anything Saxon ever did - simple, totally effective speed metal.
Victims of Sacrifice
This opens with an extremely dark and ominous feel with almost Gothic tones from Ricci’s guitar. The pace is doomy for about a minute, until it speeds up into a headbanging but deliberately paced riff. The chorus break is super memorable, and there’s an awesome screaming lead.  “I’ll raise the dead/Whose blood you’ll drink/You know it’s too late now/Later than you think.”
Beyond the Gates of Doom
For my money, this is the best Exciter cut ever. In fact, it’s a defining song of 80s thrash metal. After an eerie intro, this slams into an annihilating fast blast of neck-wrecking thrash. This song is an absolute riff factory without mercy. During the solo section, the number changes riffs into a pile-driving hook that puts chills up the spine. Dan Beehler’s screaming is off the chain here, especially the final almost endless wail he unleashes at the end.
Sudden Impact
After the previous song, almost anything would be a comedown, but this is great, straightforward speed metal in pure Exciter mode. More than anything else here, this reminds me of Judas Priest's tunes, but kicked up another notch.
Born To Die
Things really change here as this is not a fast or thrashy track, but it’s still heavy as hell, with an awesome catchy mid-paced riff that will get your fist in the air. The lyrics revolve around the Devil’s Child, Damien Thorne, and Beehler’s screams are extra screechy here as he relates the demonic tale. There’s another killer Ricci solo, and then at the very end, the pace really quickens with a short burst of thrash accompanied by more ripping leads.
Wake Up Screaming
This is the longest Exciter track ever and a real epic by their standards. The opening chords have a real creepy, Gothic feel accompanied by church bells. That gives way to a dark, slow and pounding riff not a million miles away from Dio-era Sabbath. The bass and drum work is much more prominent here, and the track feels much different to anything else on the album. It definitely shows a different side to the band, one not as dependent on speed. In the last third of the song, it does speed up, but not really to thrash levels, with a cool riff that is eminently headbangable. A brief acoustic flourish brings one of the all-time best 80s metal albums to an epic close.


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