Released: 2011, High Roller
It's about time! Dan Beehler (ex-Exciter) has been kicking around for ages and has finally released his first, post Exciter, debut solo album. It's been a long 20 years in the making and I feel it was worth the wait! As our regular readership know I like to create themes in my reviews so in that spirit I am also reviewing the new Exciter album DEATH MACHINE as well this month. They make a nice pair of albums so feel free to check out that review as well.
Of course people will want to compare Beehler's new work to his old band but I'll resist the temptation and discuss MESSAGES TO THE DEAD on its own merits. The opener, ‘Jet Black’ just screams classic! Raging drums, mighty screams, it is a classic thrash opener by any standard. I’ve always thought the drummer/singer combo is weird but there are some of those guys that can do it, like King Fowley (Deceased) and of course Dan Beehler.
On the song ‘Destitute Abuser’, Beehler has a growl that sounds a bit like Peavy of Rage! His vocal range has increased being higher and lower often changing it up in the same song. The guys he has with him for the ride are very competent, bassist Brian Stephenson played with Annihilator for a bit. ‘Kill The Witch’ apparently is a remake of an older song that has been kicking around. The riffs rage, the songs are mostly on the fast side and the guitar tone has lots of meat on its bones.
The production is great, the ominous cover with blood red skies over looking a graveyard looks awesome and the albums rips along for 38 minutes of pure thrash. Released late in 2011 on the small but respected HighRoller label , this one went a bit under the radar for many 2011 Year End lists which is a shame because I feel if more people had heard it, it would have made the cut. Like I said on my opening paragraph, it's been a longtime and I would hazard a guess that many Metal fans, especially younger ones, may have forgotten Beehler, and the ones who do remember his brief but bright legacy, might have missed this release. Don't let MESSAGES TO THE DEAD pass you by.