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The biggest underground metal festival to hit the Los Angeles scene in months arrived on the weekend of June 22nd at the Regent, featuring headlining acts Nasty Savage (Friday), Razor, Exciter (Saturday) and Morbid Saint (Sunday). Saturday the 23rd was by far the rowdiest and most crowded day of the three. Two legendary canadian metal acts, Razor and Exciter were to take the stage, playing back to back setlists in a sweltering downtown LA theater packed to the brim. It was an unforgetable night of friendly violence, ear piercing metal and a throwback to the 80's as described by the bands themselves.

Razor is a thrash/speed metal band from Guelph, Ontario, Canada formed in 1983. They're musical style consists of high tempo, chainsaw like guitar riffs ovarlayed with high pitched screeching vocals that cut straight through the mix, made famous by original singer Stace "Sheepdog" Mclaren, who left the band in 1989. They are most well known for their albums "Evil Invaders" (1985), "Malicious Intent" (1986), "Custom Killing" (1987), and "Violent Restitution" (1988). Exciter is a speed metal band from Ottowa, Canada formed in 1978 under the name "Hell Razor". They are widely considered to be one of the original speed metal bands and are respected pioneers of thrash metal. They are best known for their debut album "Heavy Metal Maniac" (1983)

As soon as Razor took the stage, every square foot of the venue was covered and with no introduction, the band opened up right out of the gate with "Cross Me Fool" off of "Evil Invaders". The pit had already began before the rhyhtm section had even started playing and arms were flying in the circle of thrashing bodies and crowdsurfers. Unlike "Show Your Scars Fest" just a few months earlier, the venue put up a barrier to deter the stagedivers, to some success. It was unclear whether this was a result of the venue's policy or simply the bands request, but regardless, a few lucky fans managed to make their way on stage and dive, using the rest of the audience as a cushion. The band played a sampling of all of their best songs from a variety of albums, the majority of songs from "Evil Invaders", closing their set with the title track. 

Exciter didnt disappoint their die hard fans, bringing a dose of their brand of speed metal with their original lineup, to the LA scene. Opening up with "Violence and Force" giving the crowd almost no break between pits. They played a fair amount of songs off of their debut album. Featuring "Iron Dogs", "Stand Up And Fight" and "Cry Of The Banshee". Their set had frequent guitar solo breaks in between songs and a lot of Hendrix-esque feedback gone heavy metal, that was almost ambient at times. The entire show was an unforgettable night of metal! Given the fact that both of these bands have been around since the early 80's, the entire show made me realize how fortunate LA is to get so many amazing shows, and that while it is frequently said that Europe has the best metal festivals on earth, I imagine that a heavy portion of metalheads in the rest of the US feel the same way about Los Angeles and what our scene has to offer. 


Neil Metcalf

Writer - Los Angeles

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