To start with the conclusion, this is a real speed metal classic, enriched with the best elements of power metal (more) and thrash metal (less). But I guess the poor ones, who never listened to this jewel so far, want to be provided with more information. So I think I start again.
No doubt at all, the album shows Exciter celebrating their style of metal at its best. The melodic intro and the fast title track can be seen as a good entrance into this record, but surely they are not the best tunes on it. The outstanding part kicks off with the absolutely brilliant "I Am the Beast". Based on a simple yet highly efficient riff you could use for the definition of "neckbreaking", the song starts with high speed, ends with high speed and offers absolutely nothing else intermediately. The following "Victims of Sacrifice" contrasts with mid-tempo, powerful harmonies, original riffing and a gloomy atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is the second killer, inter alia due to the fact that Dan Beehler's sonorous voice has never sounded better. "Beyond the Gates of Doom" completes the triarchy, fast, furious and equipped with lyrics that fit perfectly ("beyond these gates you´ll obey or you burn, either way you never return" ...to bad and lame music, I would like to add). By the way, you must pay attention to the elongated scream of Beehler at the end of the track. It provides a unique listening experience.
Unfortunately, after this triple strike I always had to make a short break for starting the B-Side. Good, old vinyl-era! So it took a long time, until I realized that "Sudden Impact", a compact speed song with apocalyptic lyrics, reaches the same quality level as its three predecessors. The fourth masterpiece on this album... and the last one at once. The final two songs are surely no fillers, but they could have been ennobled with a little bit more power. If I would be forced to favor one of them, I would choose "Born to Die". It is more catchy, more fluid and surprises with a speed part at the end. But generally speaking, the entire album offered some unexpected moments and a relatively high degree of diversity.
I may not forget to mention the contemporary sound that gave space for all musicians to prove their skills. Separate to this, Exciter convinced because of their strong teamwork while performing like a well oiled engine. It seems that they really loved what they did back in 1985 - and my enthusiasm for their approach during the first years is still unbroken as well. Beehler, Ricci and Johnson formed a magical three-piece and complemented each other perfectly. With regard to this fascinating overall impression, it did not matter that the cover artwork was a little bit embarrassing. Anyway, it visualized the power of the album in a suitable manner.
To end with the conclusion... oh, you have read it yet.
Exciter ranks with the likes of Anvil and Razor in the pantheon of metal from the Great White North, helping to define Canadian thrash metal or what was more commonly called "speed" metal back in the ‘80s. Their first three albums, Heavy Metal Manic, Violence and Force and Long Live the Loud are classics that should be viewed in the same light as releases like Executioner’s Song and Metal on Metal.
Album number three, Long Live the Loud, found the band polishing some of the more glaringly rough edges from Heavy Metal Manic and Violence and Force. Not that the music changed all that much. Guitarist John Ricci and bassist Allan Johnson still thrashed their instruments at top speed while drummer/singer Dan Beehler went for an even more throat-rending scream than on previous albums. What changed was the tone of the album. Where the first two had more "real world" themes of violence, especially in the cover art, Long Live the Loud turned in a more "epic" direction. They changed their artwork from a man’s leather and spike bedecked arm brandishing a knife to a sword-wielding barbarian/scantily-clad female motif. Even if it looked different, Long Live the Loud is still that same evil, insanely fast thrash metal Exciter was known for and songs like "Long Live the Loud", "Victims of Sacrifice" and "Beyond the Gates of Doom" are absolute killers that blast from the speakers and strike you full in the face. This is the music you played at three in the morning as loud as possible when you had neighbors you hated.
Long Live the Loud would be the last album with the lineup that began Exciter’s recording career as guitarist Ricci would leave prior to 1986’s Unveiling the Wicked (as of this writing the original members are back together, hopefully with an album in the works). Even though the band’s recorded output would vary over the years, they left us with three classics of Canadian speed metal. Don’t let the Manowar artwork fool you; Long Live the Loud needs to be owned by every thrash fan.
John Ricci: guitar, backing vocals
Alan Johnson: bass, backing vocals
Dan Beehler: lead vocals, drums
Written by Allan Johnson (track B4), and Dan Beehler (tracks: A1 to A5, B1 to B3)
Produced by Guy Bidmead for Hooligan Productions
Engineered by Guy Bidmead, assisted by Laura Bouisseau
Recorded at Britannia Row Studios
Front Cover artwork by Alan Craddock
Photography by Lorraine Burns