1997 is the first step in heavymetal's revival.
No, not RAMMSTEIN's Du Hast single, not MÖTLEY CRÜE's industrial reunion and not the revamped Walmart-version of the MISFITS.
Four massive events secured 1997 into heavymetal's history-books:
#1: Bruce Dickinson's perfect opus, the Accident Of Birth CD
#2: VENOM's original merciful-trio on the Cast In Stone reunion CD
#3: JUDAS PRIEST, the return of the Metal Gods with new frontman Ripper on the Jugulator CD
#4: the rebirth of Canada's metal-machine EXCITER !
While thrashmetal was back into the garage, deathmetal was now rotnroll and a tidal-wave of blackmetal bands was sweeping the underground ...the real heavymetal that was set back for the last 6-7 years was finally ready for a triumphant return to form.
Now modernized and once-again adrenalized, real heavymetal was now labeled as: Power-Metal. For reference, please cue you tape-decks to the following European new breed of metallers: PRIMAL FEAR, IRON SAVIOR and HAMMERFALL ...and on the US-side, established acts like ICED EARTH, SYMPHONY X and JAG PANZER where already shaking the ground.
After their initial 1983-to-85 moderate success, EXCITER slowly disintegrated and stopped altogether in 1993. Yet Ottawa's axe-man John Ricci re-activated EXCITER and was now led by new frontman, Sept-Iles born hell-child Jacques Bélanger.
The CD bursts wide-open with the killer title-track, a fast song with rolling bassdrum rhythms and aggressive guitar riffs. Yet the excitement reaches a higher level when the vocals kicks-in: pure raw-power with furious falsettos and King Diamond-like high pitched screams. Bélanger delivers heavymetal and EXCITER are back !
"Aggressor" and "Assassins In Rage" are top speedmetal/powermetal exhibitions, while the massive "Burn At The Stake" is another take-no-prisoner-kill-on-sight track ...they want your blood and they'll have it ! The razor-like guitars attack with fierce on "Sacred War" and the rawness of "Executioner" will immediately please old-fans. The album closes with the impressive, high-octane fueled "Screams From The Gallows" were Bélanger banshee-like screams reeks classic Rob Halford Painkiller-era uniqueness.
The Dark Command is a lethal metal-album filled with violence and force designated for the true heavymetal maniacs. A strong heavymetal/speedmetal album, not a wasted second is found on this glorious return from the gods that created the goods 14 years earlier. Old-school vibe done in the new-school era, the time is now. Revived and fully charged, EXCITER were ready to kick-ass again with pounding-metal. This Ricci/Bélanger collaboration would create 2 full-length CDs and a re-recorded disc of classic EXCITER back-catalog oldies. Sadly another breakup would hit the band in 2005.
The only drawback is the ultra cheesy design used for the artwork and the fact that they were signed to blackmetal-label Osmose Productions, that unfortunately could offer limited support for this type of band.
So in the meantime, dust-of your leather jacket, hop in your denim pants, fine tune your Flying V, let the Marshalls bleed and let the real heavymetal flow ...long live the loud !!!
Interview in 1997
Live in Germany in 1997
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