For this week I have picked an old classic and favorite of mine, Exciter's "World War III" from their 1980 demo. There are a few reasons for me picking this track: for one Exciter is coming to Toronto to play a show at the end of April (of course I will be attending) second, I recently got their latest album Death Machine and it's a very solid record, pure thrash of the best kind. I'm particularly impressed with the pipes on Kenny Winter, their current vocalist. Actually I remember being blown away by him live when I saw them back in '07.
But the main reason why I wanted to play World War III is because it was one of the first speed metal songs I ever heard. It was on one of my mother's cassette tapes that I first heard it. She had a mix of heavy metal songs on that tape, but I didn't know who the artists were at the time. Later I recognized songs by Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest. But it wasn't until that August of 2007 that I realized who played this awesome song I liked so much. I had gone to see Exciter with my friends from Into Eternity, Tim Roth and Stu Block. Tim is a big fan of Exciter's and so we went to check out their show. I was totally amazed by them, they sounded great, had lots of energy, and were very entertaining to watch. When they burst into WWIII it hit me like an angelic choir "these are the guys that play that rocking song!" I thought to myself; and now I'm playing it for you.
This song was sent to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records back in 1980 and was used in the compilation CD "US Metal Volume II in 1982". Exciter later released it as a bonus track on the 2005 reissue of Heavy Metal Maniac. The song has an ominous and dark intro, the evil mood generated by John Ricci's guitar put through some nice delay. All of a sudden and without warning the whole band kicks in full force with a chugging barrage of "E flats". Alan Johnson keeps that pedal tone on the bass throughout the next section while the guitar goes into the main riff. We can hear a bit of a Steve Harris influence in the bass fill at 0:43. The verses of this song are short and groovy with a nice syncopated line. On the second chorus we can hear a Geezer Butler lick at 1:33. The instrumental break is a fun one to play, beginning with that almost "surf rock" downward slide; although I did have a small issue with my volume knob during that part: the knob on that Gibson Thunderbird is so close to the G string that I hit it accidentally and rolled it down a little. You can see me turning it back up at 2:15. My favorite part of the song is the end, where each band member gets two bars to play a small solo, and while Ricci's seem a little frantic and "off the cuff," Johnson's and Beehler's are a little more polished. It sounds to me like the bass solos were overdubbed, because the sound of the bass is different there: its louder and more gritty, plus it sounds like the end of the solos overlap the bass from the main riff. The ending is very reminiscent of early Iron Maiden.
Next time I think i will be doing a tune by another Canadian band that I mentioned earlier in this blog...