Review EXORCIST ‘Nightmare Theatre’ – re-release

High Roller Records continues their re-release series with blasts from the past. Like the earlier re-issues indicated already, the label doesn’t look too much into the well-known stuff. It’s more of the underground bands and records from the ’80s that face a new shine in the ’20s.

This time it is a record that has been confusing when having been released by a band called Exorcist. ‘Nightmare Theatre’ is the only album the band released, which was back in 1986. What created the confusion was mainly due to the fact that it seemed like the band appearing from nowhere. No band photos and band members only listed with pseudonyms was more than a spark for rumors and gave a lot of space for speculations.

It took a while until the dust settled and unveiled a band with legendary Virgin Steele mainman David DeFeis not only mixing the album, but also being an active member of Exorcist. It was at the end of the ‘Noble Savage’ recording session when three more days at the studio have been left, time enough for recording ‘Nightmare Theatre’. Concept, lyrics and vocals is what DeFeis added to the album that reached a cult-status in the metallic underground. Considering the short recording time of ‘Nightmare Theatre’, the record is more than just a quickly done fun project. The guys invested time in work on the songs and rehearsal before entering the studio.

This re-release is fully remastered by DeFeis and features a sixteen songs containing tracklist. What sounds like a lot is a 43 minutes running time at the end. The main reason is that dramaturgical approach the album has. There are interludes and shorter passages that add dramatic elements to the concept the album carries. And there is an additional track too with ‘Spin Your Heads Around Backwards’ hat wasn’t part of the original album. As it looks like, the songs is one of the tracks that have been captured on tape for a potential second longplayer, which never has been finished and published.

Although the black- and death metal scene grew at the time, Exorcist isn’t really linked to this development. The album is mainly inspired by bands like Venom and ‘Black Mass’, the opener, mirrors this very well. Although quite some Virgin Steele members have been part of Exorcist, the music is heavier and has far more edges. Sometimes the DeFeis phrasing is a little reminder of Virgin Steele, but Exorcist is an entire different ballgame. ‘Nightmare Theatre’ is a longplayer that includes savage metal anthems that are dusted now by this re-issue.

As the other High Roller Records re-releases too, also ‘Nightmare Theatre’ comes in various colored vinyl versions, wrapped in a heavy cardboard cover, insert and poster. I guess, one can’t ask for more.

Rating: 8 out of 10.


  1. Black Mass
  2. The Invocation
  3. Burnt Offerings
  4. The Hex
  5. Possessed
  6. Call for the Exorcist
  7. Death by Bewitchment
  8. The Trial
  9. Execution of the Witches
  10. Consuming Flames of Redemption
  11. Megawatt Mayhem
  12. Riding to Hell
  13. Queen of the Dead
  14. Lucifer’s Lament
  15. The Banishment
  16. Spin Your Head Around Backwards

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Speed Metal

Release Date EU: May 28th, 2021

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