Heavy Metal Maniac

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After contributing the song "World War III" to Shrapnel Records' U.S. Metal, Vol. 2 compilation, Exciter promptly signed with Shrapnel and recorded their full-length debut, Heavy Metal Maniac, in 1983. Though their debt to Judas Priest was clear for all to see (starting with their name, of course), the album packed a hard-edged ferocity and love for speed that pushed it well beyond the bounds of "classic" heavy metal and into the realms of the then-nascent speed metal movement. Its rough production values and nearly out-of-control distortion added a crucial punk attitude and provided the "push over the cliff," as it were, that characterized most of thrash's original stars (Metallica, Exodus, Slayer). That being said, time has proven that Heavy Metal Maniac is a much more one-dimensional affair than, say, Kill 'Em All, but this wasn't nearly as obvious in the heady days of thrash metal's infancy, and songs like "Cry of the Banshee," "Stand Up and Fight," and the excellent title track are all mini-classics in their own right. [The 2005 CD reissue of Heavy Metal Maniac on Megaforce Records includes five bonus tracks, including a pair of radio interviews with bandmembers.]

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