Released: 2009, Emanes Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
French heavy metal act Excalibur started out under the M�thane moniker in 1982, but was a less heavier act musically back at that time. After changing their name to Excalibur, along with some line-up additions, things really started to take shape for the band. The first 2-song demo was recorded in 1984 and soon some shows followed.
However, it was the band's next 6-song demo, titled FILS VENGEUR, that really put them on the map of French heavy metal, giving them, for example, an opportunity to open up for one of the most known French heavy metal bands, H-Bomb, in Carvin back in those days in '85 when H-Bomb was doing their "Attaque French Tour". During the very same year, they were even offered a recording contract by the famous Belgian label Mausoleum Records, but unfortunately nothing came out of it eventually - and line-up problems started occurring once again.
Excalibur split up in late '87, leaving them without a recording history album-wise.
10 years later, Excalibur's demos, some rehearsal sessions and live material were all compiled for this one CD by French EmanesMetal Records, carrying the title of the band's 2nd demo, FILS VENGEUR. It's actually kinda easy to pinpoint, and say that the band's music is straight heavy and speed metal, the main emphasis being on the words 'heavy metal' though. They come from the very same genre where you can place bands like Iron Angel, Griffin (US), Killers, early Priest (a la KILLING MACHINE/BRITISH STEEL), Destructor and so many other '80s heavy metal troops for that matter. I am trying to enjoy Excalibur's release the best I possibly can, but unfortunately I am afraid to say that the sound quality does not do so much justice to their songs at all. Naturally we have to keep in our minds that this material is just a collection of their demo and live material from the past days, so one should know what to expect.
I really like the band's vocalist using the nickname 'Black', as he has a pretty traditional heavy metal singer's voice of the '80s times, being able to produce some high pitched screams here and there from time to time. He sings all his songs in his native language French even if some of their song titles are in English. Just do not let them to fool you, ha! :oP
The '84 demo stuff (the tracks 1-6) is obviously the most enjoyable on this collection, showing Excalibur's muscles for some catchy and hook-filled song structures, blessed with a bit better sound quality compared to the rest of the songs on the record. Also the last 4 tracks on this collection of early Excalibur stuff, caught my attention by being the heaviest and more diverse songs out of all songs featured for the CD. Although these particular 4 songs in question are only rehearsal songs, they sound all very good, having even some Maiden-like guitars in them and stuff.
FILS VENGEUR is a decent collection of Excalibur's past material, and since the band was reformed in 2008, I want to see them recording some of these songs in a real studio, giving them a justified studio sound treatment that they all rightfully should deserve.