There's a time for everything.
Upon listening to the second re-release of Excel's debut disc 'Split Image' (originally released 1987 and re-released in 2000) it is clear, to me at least, how not all crossover thrash ages gracefully and falls into the category 'timeless'.
Thinking back, the band's sophomore effort, 'The Joke's On You' (1989) made a really good impression back in the day, and the disc sits somewhere in my vinyl collection here next to the desk where I'm writing these lines. That said, I can only remember the excellent cover of The Police's Message in a Bottle from said album and although I've thought over the past couple of weeks that I ought to get it out of the archive and let it have a spin, I just haven't gotten around to actually doing it. The Venice, California based quartet managed to release three studio albums, two live albums and three splits before disbanding in 1995. The band returned in 2012 for live gigs and now this release. The point of yet another reissue being...? I'm not sure. Perhaps warming up for more tours or a new album?
Anyhoo, as I hinted at above, the Excel material doesn't stand the test of time in the way that the debut of their Venice colleagues Suicidal Tendencies has. The ST debut has a different kind of nerve that still hits you with its clever lyrics and fine punk come thrash riffing. 'Split Image' doesn't quite make the grade in the same way and more than anything comes across as middle ground and slightly dated, although so clearly related to what was going on with ST, Gang Green, D.R.I. and S.O.D.
With its eight bonus tracks taken from the two demos 'Personal Onslaught' (1985) and 'Refuse to Quit' (1986) the reissue is most likely a most for diehard fans of the band OR for those young folk who want to get their hands on everything crossover. At least this is the genuine stuff and in that sense as authentic as it gets. I would, however, recommend that you go and check out Suicidal Tendencies' first three or four albums before this one, though - if you haven't already done so.