Beehler – “Messages To The Dead”

“Messages To The Dead”
(Pure Steel Records)

I’ll say it once again: Dan Beehler is the TRUE voice of Exciter. If you were a “Heavy Metal Maniac” and grew up in the 80s like I did then you’ll know who this guy is. Along with bands like The Rods, Anvil and (early) Metallica, Canada’s Exciter pioneered the US speed and thrash movement into what it is today. Exciter were a power trio in the same destructive vein as classic Motorhead except that Dan cranked it up a notch by drumming AND singing simultaneously!! Their debut “Heavy Metal Maniac” remains a cult classic to this day with its searing raw guitar, relentless double bass drumming, pounding rhythm and Beehler’s Halford like screaming, likening to Judas Priest – albeit at incredible speed! Sadly they could not capitalize on that amazing debut and the band fractured with guitarist John Ricci continuing the band as a 4 piece, with Dan and bassist Allan out in the cold for many years. Until Headbangers Open Air. Then the true sound of original Exciter could be heard once more given that Ricci’s Exciter had evolved into a different vein, and even when they played the early material it still sounded different. “Messages To The Dead” is 11 tracks of original Exciter in all but name and cranked up once again to easily compete with today’s younger death / thrash bands. Everything is there including the raw guitar thanks to 2 new guitarists who just burn on songs like ‘Megalodon’, ‘March Of Death’ and ‘The End Of The World’ – yeah, even the titles are unmistakeably ‘HMM’! I dunno how old Dan is, but he is definitely sending out a loud and clear message with this album – that he is very much ALIVE and still Exciter!!!

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