Violence & Force is the second studio album by the Canadian speed metal band Exciter, released through Megaforce Records in February 1984. The album was produced by The Rods drummer Carl Canedy, who had already produced Anthrax's debut album Fistful of Metal.
The album was reissued in 1999 by SPV/Steamhammer with the same track listing and again in 2004 by Megaforce, without the song "Evil Sinner".
Since its release "Violence & Force" always stood in the shadow of its legendary predecessor "Heavy Metal Maniac". Of course, we need to be aware of the early timing of the debut's release. In 1983, speed metal was still in its infancy. Inter alia due to this fact the debut left a huge impact. But irrespective of this favourable basis, "Heavy Metal Maniac" was legendary indeed. Nevertheless, from my point of view "Violence & Force" is not any less fascinating than the debut. To make this explicit I like to start with the description of the three highlights.
Driven by a mighty riff, the title track explodes rapidly after the noisy intro. It is crowned by a catchy chorus and Dan Beehler's shrill shrieks, but I must not neglect the double-bass based bridge, too. No doubt that Exciter still showed great energy and enthusiasm. Perhaps this may seem like a cliché, but they were young and reckless and did not look right and left in order to see what the others were doing. It quickly became clear that the compositions pointed in the same direction as those on the debut. I interpreted this as a sign of honesty and self-confidence - and I liked it. "Saxons of the Fire", opened by a razor-sharp riff, ran in the same vein as the title track. This applied equally to the energy released and the compositional quality. "Swords of Darkness" hit the mark, too. It sounded a bit less furious, yet it convinced with great melodies.
Exciter focused alternately on heaviness and speed. They handled both in an excellent way. This applied even considering the fact, that the majority of the tunes were strong, but not outstanding. Just take "Pounding Metal" for example, its name is simultaneously the perfect description for this piece. Or listen to "Scream in the Night", everything fits. To mention another example, enjoy the leads of "Destructor", the first tune on the B-Side. It starts with a drum solo performance so that it reminded me of "Heavy Metal Maniac" because its B-Side, in particular "Under Attack", began with Beehler´s drumming, too. Coincidence or calculation? I am stumped for an answer. But I know for a fact that I still like the whole album, every song as well as the clean and vigorous production.
And what about the cover? From a present-day perspective one may choose to call it "racially motivated" or "glorifying violence". But even if it were, there is no evidence of this crap in their lyrics. Therefore I just celebrate the 30th birthday of an album I still can recommend with a safe conscience.
If Exciter's debut album, Heavy Metal Maniac, showed this Canadian band's promise, the follow-up Violence & Force delivered on that promise in a big fucking way. It's an improvement in every aspect, from the sound (Heavy Metal Maniac was essentially a demo, to be fair) to the performances to the songwriting. They even got a color photo for the front (Heavy Metal Maniac's cover was black and white). Exciter is generally considered thrash or speed metal but that is only one aspect of their music. Yes, "Violence & Force" and "Destructor" are lightning-fast thrash anthems that will leave you breathless, but Exciter could also slow things down and crush you with a leaden groove like the one on "Delivering to the Master" or rock things up Anvil-style on "Pounding Metal." Dan Beehler's vocals are something of an acquired taste and on Violence & Force his throat-rending screams are in full force but the backing vocals of guitarist Jon Ricci and bassist Allan Johnson are the perfect complement. There are no weak tracks on Violence & Force, but if you want to get an idea of what you are in for, spin the amazing "Saxons of the Fire." This song perfectly encapsulates early '80s speed metal with a great riff, cool subject matter, squealing solo and insane vocals.
Violence & Force is a near-perfect record that no fan of thrash should be without.
Dan Beehler: vocals, drums
John Ricci: guitar, backing vocals
Allan Johnson: bass, backing vocals
Written and arranged by Exciter
Produced by Carl "The Sacred One" Canedy*
Engineered by Chris "Dr. Metal" Bubacz, assisted by Alex "The Boy Pharoah" Perialas
Recorded at Pyramid Sound Recording Studios, New York, USA November, 1983
Mastered by Jack Skinner at Sterling Sound, New York, USA
Executive producer: Jon Zazula
Artwork by Andy Brown
Photography by Joomey Photography
This is the white label version. There is also a black label version