New Renaissance Records 1988
Dismissed outright as a Queensryche clone (although by some accounts Screamer appeared in the early 80's supposedly before Geofe Tate and company) Target Earth was released in very limited quantities. Supposedly most of these copies went to the press and radio and being that it was 1988 when Screamer finally released their debut you could see the writing on the wall about where this was going. 1988 was a time of thrash metal and the beginning of grunge. A progressive metal band who had more than a passing resemblance to Queensryche wasn't going to get anywhere. Another case of one and done Target Earth would have been just another dust bin record. But amazingly Screamer's album became one of the most bootlegged metal releases. Something must have been happening to draw metalhead's interest. Fast forward to 2006 and New Renaissance decided to see what all the buzz was about and reissue the album. Unfortunately they didn't tinker with the production any. It's not horrible by any means but it feels thin at points. That is my first and last complaint. While Bill Carter does bear a resemblance to Geofe Tate I wouldn't call it a complete note for note copy. There are moments when he reminds you of John Arch of Fates Warning fame. Bill simply has a voice build for more classical themed metal. Musically though I would say this is heavier than what Queensryche was going for at the time. With nods of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden the band take what Queensryche was doing on their debut EP and The Warning and try to make it their own. Guitarists Michael Schantek and Ronny Valeo are straight out of heavy metal 101. There are some great solos scattered throughout the eight tracks. I love the mixture of progressive chords with chugging riffs. Musically this also reminds me of Fates Warning but with the flare of early Dokken. The more I've spun this album the more it's grown on me. It's one of those type of releases. Unfortunately actually CD copies of this are quite pricey. But it is available on Amazon and Itunes for download. Target Earth is honestly not going to shake the foundations of heavy metal. But it's a good listen. Supposedly the band is active once again from what I understand. Maybe there is still hope for a remastered edition of this disc. In the meantime though I can live with the production flaws. I've heard much worse. I just close my eyes and imagine this is some demo from 1984 that someone found in the back of a record store collecting dust.