Screamer - Target : Earth (New Renaissance Records) 1988
1. "Visionary" (7:00)
I picked up this CD on the advice of some of the members of the Heart of Metal discussion board. Somehow I missed these guys in the 80's. It's always cool to discover old gems that were missed from that classic time in heavy metal history. "Target: Earth" is indeed such a gem. The album fills a Queensryche shaped hole that falls somewhere between their debut EP and "The Warning". Vocalist Bill Carter is a dead ringer for Geoff Tate at times, reminding me of classic tracks like "Queen of the Ryche" and Blinded". At other times I am reminded of those piercing falsetto howls of John Arch. However, Screamer are not a carbon copy of Queensryche. Rather, I think Screamer have taken a direction many fans wish Queensryche had taken after the EP. As such, they are in company with such great bands as Crimson Glory, Lethal and early Fates Warning. The album is full of chugging riffs, melodic chord progressions, screamin' guitar solos and awesome vocal harmonies. There are no thrash influences, nor do they sway into anything odd or experimental. There are also no ballads present, which quite honestly, I didn't expect. It would have seemed perfectly natural for Screamer to have included a dark ballad in the mix. In other words, they play dark, traditional, melodic heavy metal.
This album had been out of print and out of circulation for years. In 2007 New Renaissance Records saw fit to re-release "Target: Earth" on CD in a limited, numbered edition, run. Mine is copy #681. Unfortunately the label didn't see fit to have this album remastered, so the mastering is well below average. The original production was lacking slightly to begin with, since the band obviously didn't have a large budget to record with. Still, some of what is lacking most certainly could have been accounted for with proper mastering. To overcome this problem I suggest cranking the volume up as loud as possible.