Violence & Force is the second studio album by the Canadian speed metal band Exciter, released in 1984.
“”Oblivion”” – 0:34
“”Violence & Force”” – 4:04
“”Scream In The Night”” – 4:13
“”Pounding Metal”” – 4:33
“”Evil Sinner”” – 4:58
“”Destructor”” – 4:19
“”Swords Of Darkness”” – 3:58
“”Delivering To The Master”” – 6:06
“”Saxons Of The Fire”” – 3:27
“”War Is Hell”” – 6:18
Dan Beehler – vocals, drums
John Ricci – guitar
Alan Johnson – bass
This disc is plainly the embodiment of METAL! EXCITER from Canada fix their second album where their milestone “”Heavy Metal Maniac”” ended. Power until the end! More speed, more screaming and more Metal! This album contains only steely hits, from the opener and titletrack up to the closing “”War Is Hell””. An absolutely outstanding record!
Surely, EXCITER hadn’t been filigree technicans, the songs had been gusty and relatively simple. Dan Beehler, the drummer is a drum beast! How this man thrashes his drums and at the same time screams like the devil, that really crazy. There has not to be said much about the songs, it Metal, it wild and most younger fans will surely ignore EXCITER. Who doesn’t have this record, has actually nothing to discuss about real, straight and now comes that odious word “”true”” Metal.
Songs like “”Delivering To The Master”” or “”Saxons Of The Fire”” are also unique for EXCITER! No other following record had that spirit, that holy aura. None, also not the highly praised “”The Dark Command””. A legendary album of a legend!
Exciter performance is so over-the-top and contains SO MUCH energy. Laugh all you want, but you’ll sift through 1,000 bands or more before you find another with the raw, manic energy these guys had in their glory days!
Old School Thrash at its very best!!!!,
This is the best Exciter album of all time. To make my review short and to the point, this makes you want to bang your head through the wall!!!!!! Nuff said!!
Exciter is a Canadian speed metal band from Ottawa, Ontario. They are widely considered to be one of the first speed metal bands and a seminal influence of the thrash metal genre. Exciter have sold nearly 300,000 units in the USA and a total sales close to 500,000 units worldwide. Despite many changes in personnel, the band has managed to keep a small but dedicated following for over 30 years.
Knife as we know it – 87%
Is it a zombie trying to break down the door? A severe burn victim? Well, at least the switchblade, wristband and blood seem consistent with Exciter’s debut Heavy Metal Maniac, even if any chance for a persistent mascot was about to be cast to the wind with the followup album. Violence & Force was my first brush with the Canadian speed metal savages, and it remains a personal favorites in their catalog, though it does suffer from at least one relatively frequent flaw that held it back from a broader notoriety, and continues to prevents it from completely scaling the walls towards the realm of masterpiece. That said, this is still a cult classic, worth the time of anyone who enjoys traditional, dirty North American metal, and like Exciter’s first album, it never seems to depreciate with time.
The one obstacle that I’ve always had to hurdle with the sophomore is Dan Beehler’s vocal performance, which at times comes off incredibly strained, cutting out in volume and serving as a detriment to the energetic assertion of the music. Now, Beehler’s never exactly been a prima donna, and has always taken an honest, workmanlike approach to his bleating and screaming, but there are points throughout Violence & Force where he almost feels as if he’s losing his voice. The shrill shrieks in the title track seem even more sustained and mighty than those of Heavy Metal Maniac, almost at Lizzy Borden or Savage Grace levels, and I quite like the grit of his throat as he howls through the verses, but often the lines seem a little too schizoid (“Scream in the Night”) without any one pitch taking control, and some of the notes he hits (or doesn’t hit) in tracks like “Destructor” or “Saxons of the Fire” seem rather painful. Hardly a deal breaker, after all he’s still got quite a lot of character to his timbre that matches the grime of the street ready music, but even to one such as I who often values a corrosive imperfection in a speed, heavy or thrash metal front man, feels dodgy.
Otherwise, Violence & Force sounds great. The guitars have an airy, abusive nature to them which lays out the punk-influenced smack-down of the titular “Violence & Force” and “Swords of Darkness”, caveman grooves of “Pounding Metal” (which ironically sounds similar to countrymen Anvil in their formative years) and mid-paced hard rocking abandon of “War is Hell”, which almost feels like an unsung spiritual precursor to the Beastie Boys’ “You Gotta Fight for a Right to Party” sans the rapping. The drums are mixed better here, more full bodied than they were on the debut, and Alan Johnson’s bass lines are groovy and entertaining without deriding the far louder, metallic bludgeoning tone of the guitar. The solos too seem stronger, or rather, just as frivolous, but more determined to rip out against the pummeling undercurrent and manifest a sense of excitement as opposed to just filling up space. Like Heavy Metal Maniac before it, this never feels like innovative or technically impressive, just a heavier edge on a lot of the sounds one heard coming from England in the early 80s.
It’s also a really well paced album with some variation. Surprising for a band which is so often branded with that tag of ‘speed metal’ that itself implies a sort of one speed or no speed characteristic. You’ve got your faster paced blitzes ala “Violence & Force”, “Destructor” and “Saxons of the Fire” and then a slew of strong, memorable pieces like “Pounding Metal” which just lay into you with such primitive and unforgettable, molten hard rock riffing patterns that seem like an industrial grade KISS. There’s also the sparkling trail of haunting acoustics that lead into the bluesy, Sabbath crush of “Delivering to the Master”. It might be sacrosanct to think of anything Exciter has done as even hinging on ‘ambitious’, but I liked the plotting of the longer tunes here (“Delivering…” or the closer “War Is Hell”) moreso than the previous album’s ugly stepchild “Black Witch”. In the end, Violence & Force marked a positive shift over to New York’s Megaforce Records, expanded the Canadians’ audience in both the States and Europe, and remains another timeless window into an epoch of innocent rebellion.
Back in Speed – 88%
After made their presence known with the intense debut, the Canadian masters of speed metal came back the following year, 1984, for the follow up. They never shined in originality in those years but we must also admire them for their sincerity and pureness. Sometimes the classic formula can be seen a bit heavy and static but on the other hand, you cannot go wrong with them if you are searching for old style music. This follow up, Violence & Force, features the same characteristics of their debut, so beware the speed metal assault and get ready to mosh against the wall because Exciter take no prisoners.
The sound is a bit clearer than the one on the debut but it’s still heavy, corrosive and total speed, as the genre command. The volumes are high and there are no bullshits in mixing and production. What you listen is what they played, with no tricks or jokes. This album features some of the greatest songs by this band and the title track is one of them. “Oblivion” prepares us for its explosion under the sign of fast bass drums parts and blasting riffs. The classic speed metal semi-up tempo parts by the mythical Dan Beehler are really great and his vocals are always vicious, high pitched and bad ass enough. The refrain is well stuck in the structure and features also choirs by the other members. As always, no bullshits concerning technique, politeness and negotiation; Exciter are bad guys and they wanna prove it to everybody.
“Scream in The Night” has a massive, truly dark and obsessive mid-paced beginning, to turn into up tempo. The guitars distortion is quite brutal and with a strange echo that was present in the biggest part of the speed metal bands in the 80s, like also in the first Znöwhite. The melodies are always important and they don’t care if they are mostly dark and apocalyptic. The guitars solos are essential and they take their structure directly from the past with some Motörhead influences. The main riff on “Pounding Metal” is a little jewel and it’s incredibly similar to the one by Judas Priest in the recent song “Revolution”. The tempo here is less obsessive, but “Evil Sinner” is here to display its charge of rage and darkness once again. The screams by Dan Beehler are just amazing in that high tonality.
“Destructor” is a truly brutal track. The speed increases a lot in the guitars are now more pissed off. The riffs are compact, fast and brutal. The refrain, like in the other tracks, is always well fixed in the structure and easily recognizable. After another fast track like “Swords of Darkness”, the gloomy arpeggios on “Delivering To The Master” make the darkness falls among my room. A sort of Black Sabbath influence can be found here, in the mid-paced march of this track. “Saxon of Fire” is a smashing track in pure speed metal style. The melodies this time are more epic and battling, while the riffage is more complex and with lots of riffs and tempo changes by the guitar. The last “War Is Hell” is again mid-paced in its dark progression. The vocals are dramatic and the instruments follow the same characteristics.
On the notes of this song, Exciter salutes us once again and they do it after another very good album. Maybe some mid-paced parts are a bit weak and just a bit boring because the band never shined in technique and excellent songwriting, but on the other hand, the fast tunes are really heavy and the catchiness is always a truly important element in their music. Some songs like the title track, “Pounding Metal” and “Evil Sinner” are real classics and they deserve to be remembered. Long live speed metal, long live Exciter!
Heavy Metal Maniac Part 2 – 88%
Exciter is often overlooked when it comes to metal. They were not all that popular, though they have always made great quality songs throughout their career. In 1983, they released a classic speed metal album in the form of Heavy Metal Maniac which had to have been a major influence in the developement of thrash. One year later, Exciter releases this album, known as Violence and Force.
For the most part, this album follows the same formula as their last album. It opens up with a guitar solo intro followed by the obligatory speed metal hit (Violence & Force) then follows that song up with a slower mid-paced tune (Pounding Metal), then adds several more speed metal songs.
However, that’s the main problem with album. It’s almost a watered-down carbon copy of their last release. That, however, does not mean that this album is anywhere near suck territory. For the most part, this is straight up quality speed metal.
The songs on here are divided within two groups. The first being speed metal monsters, and the second being slower mid-paced traditional heavy metal tunes. The faster songs are defiently better which is obvious considering that aftre all, this is a speed metal band.
Out of the first group we have thte title track, Scream in the Night, Destructor, Saxons of the Fire, and Swords of Darkness. For the most part, all of these songs sound similar as in they are all catchy speed metal tunes. However, the title track and Saxons of the Fire stand out the most. The title track, especially, is the best song on the album, as it’s fun, catchy, and visicious. The chorus is pretty fucking cool.
Then, in the second group we have, tradiitonal; metal songs in the form of Pounding Metal, Delivering to the Master, and War is Hell. The first song is pretty mediocre and boring. The chorus is too boring and repetative, which brings the quality down tremendisly. Delivering to the Master like Black Witch on their last album, has a more epic feel. It’s a decent track, tohugh I’m not too into Exciter’s longer songs. However, War is Hell is my favorite out of the three tracks. It has a pretty catchy riff that carries the song through. It sounds pretty much like 80s metal except with a more pissed off singer. This is probably my favorite non-speed metal Exciter song.
For the most part, this is quality speed metal, fun, catchy, and most of all, ballsy. There isn’t much change on this album from their last album, but it’s still pretty fucking good. If you like speed metal, you’ll love this album. t’s worth getting, but get Heavy Metal Maniac first.
Marched off the proving ground swinging – 87%
“…leave behind the weak, we must take the strong in hand, together are the wicked, violent forces in command…”
With the Canadian trio’s second full-lengther we see them hop over to the more capable Megaforce Records, then an up n’ coming label more befitting Exciter’s venomous style of music as well as having a wider circulation with Important Distributors. Mike Varney, then columnist for Guitar Player Magazine (“Guitar Spotlight” column), and his Shrapnel label was in the midst of building a reputation more for quality US Metal/guitarist-oriented shindigs. The move was a smart one, and it’s quite doubtful Mike was interested in breeding John Ricci, a solid shredder respectively, to be the next Malmsteen, Friedman, or MacAlpine. But do the fans really care about who jumped what label’s ship and all that? Where distribution’s concerned you should’ve been, ‘cos this stuff was a pain in the ass enough to find as it was.
Maybe I drool more over Violence & Force than the debut ‘cos my first encounter with Exciter was lucky enough to be a trio of atomic levelers – the guitar onrush “Oblivion”, the title cut and “Destructor”. I feel this sophomore release is more uninhibited, chastising, and draws a more direct influence from thrash. Yeah, I said in the Heavy Metal Maniac review they’re probably an influence on thrash, but I believe at this stage thrash and Exciter worked off one another in a series of discoveries that helped one another grow. Metallica and Exciter now shared Megaforce, the label that would also unleash Anthrax’s debut speedster in early ’84, so in my eyes much was wrought between the trivium of style, band and label.
Exciter’s ode to “Eruption”/Van Halen is a fission-inspired, anarchic guitar flood that immediately begins melting side one, a great set-up to one of the trio’s most tormented songs, “Violence & Force”. Beehler’s screams rip the fabric of highly galvanized power, relentless through the chorus and right to the bludgeoning end. With another warcry, “Scream in the Night” unfurls like a tattered flag of aggression, then the very structured and mid-paced “Pounding Metal” stalks the grounds with a broken-riffed chorus that’s maybe a little overlong at the end, but is compensated by a whirling solo and a more hostile mid-rhythm. All you lucky dogs out there who picked up the 2004 Megaforce reissue don’t get to hear heavy blaster “Evil Sinner”, a track vehement enough to be ranked up there with the title cut, but is an inkling less bearish. It also features some of Beehler’s most throat-reddening wails and a passage of chaos that ends the lp with a raised cup.
Pounding open side two’s doors is other top song, “Destructor”, a noisy brute with solos made of bedlam and a ground-cracking chorus. Toning down the pandemonium a bit is “Swords of Darkness”, yet remains frantic, particularly toward the end, and savors a grueling doom passage to accentuate Ricci’s solo. Lightly echoed acoustics is a preamble to the slow overture that is “Delivering to the Master” in the vein of the debut’s “Iron Dogs”, but etched with more catchiness and force, especially when three-fourths of the song is history and what Exciter do best kicks in. This mightiness bridges “Saxons of the Fire”, yet another top-notch tune with great momentous riffs and a stalwart chorus.
When compact discs can hold as much as seventy+ minutes of music, to drop off any portion of a release that rings in at about forty is an enigma to me that borders on criminal, but if I had to choose one to be the lonesome loser of the lp, I’d have to go with the rather uninspired “War is Hell”, a mediocre song that harks back to their ’80 World War III demo with an uneventful mid-pace and a rhythm that remains constant all the way to the end and doesn’t even bothering enlivening for the chorus. Not only would “Evil Sinner” scissor kick “War is Hell” into oblivion, it would sew up Violence & Force with a lawless dazzle and simultaneously divulge the future passion of Feel the Knife.
Violence & Force was a proving ground for the Canadians. Heavy Metal Maniac was far from passé, and instead of being swallowed by the sparking thrash scene, their follow-up balled its fists and waded in with uppercuts and rabbit punches. Definitely one to cut your teeth on when it comes to Exciter.
Speed Kills – The Very Best In Speed Metal LP 1985. Music For Nations compilation. Check samples. Exodus, Destruction, Metallica, Slayer, Possessed, Exciter, Venom, Voivod, Megadeth, Celtic Frost, etc.