Kill After Kill
Review by Felix on May 10, 2022.
Admittedly, I ignored this album for a long time. While being of the opinion that Exciter would not return with a solid full-length after two miserable outputs, I was afraid to get disappointed for the third time. I strongly doubted that I would have the strength to endure another horrible full-length of my old heroes. But from the first note the three-piece operated much more aggressively. A deep satisfaction would have covered me if I had not realized the miserable production of the album simultaneously. The guitars sounded record-breaking powerless. It goes without saying that this was almost the death sentence for the entire album. Additionally, the whole instrumental section was mixed into the background and Beehler´s voice dominated the sound. He was again the lead singer after Rob Malnati had left the band. Both sides benefitted from this development, although Beehler´s squeaking was worse than ever. That was forgivable in the light of their regained heaviness. Nevertheless, you had to get used to this unsettling production. It therefore came as no surprise that this framework conditions did not promote an unspoiled listening enjoyment.
Of course, the songwriting formula was inspired by their successful early works. Everything else would had been a surprise after the return of guitarist John Ricci, one of the co-founders of the Canadian speed metal institution. The songs showed a high average speed and the angry riffs were the basis for the belligerent atmosphere of the record. Well, the genius of their first albums was completely out of reach, but the solid compositions did also not contain serious deficiencies. Naturally, you could not expect exceptional technical frippery. This had never been the trademark of Exciter. But the band rocked skilfully in the grey area between thrash and speed metal. Songs such as "Rain of Terror", "No Life no Future" and "The Second Coming" could be considered as little jewels. This applied at least for those who were well-intentioned towards the band.
Unfortunately, the individual pieces did not create a coherent overall picture. The reason for this was, inter alia, that the last song was shown as a live recording, but the enthusiastic reaction of the audience was definitely not authentic. And you might call it narrow-mindedness, but I do not understand, why the band did not offer this (new) song in a regular studio version. Furthermore, the band wanted to deliver an enthusiastic performance, but some doubts remained due to their temporary stylistic change.
"The maniac is back" was written in big letters on the back of the booklet. But that was only half the story. The reputation of a band can be ruined in no time, but it takes a long time to restore it. Therefore, the authenticity of this record remained doubtful, too. It seemed rather like the repentant band was in search of its identity. In the retrospective it is no wonder that Exciter needed five years to release a successor. It appeared that the guys were confused by the twists and turns of their own discography and nobody seemed to be able to decide how to go on. Furthermore, Beehler had left the band. Therefore, the Canadians still stood at the crossroads, even though "Kill after Kill" showed an upward trend.
Rating: 6.2 out of 10461