Screamer – Highway Of Heroes (The Sign Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj
You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out this will be as retro as it gets just by looking at the front cover. Screaming (pun intended) for the eighties right from the start. And that’s where you can figure out what this is all about without reading this through, but that is not what I’m paid for… Well, I’m not actually getting paid and it’s not that easy to get rid of me, so here I go.
Screamer are a 10 year old band from Sweden, presenting their fourth full length release. What I said above is absolutely true. Screamer’s music is an honest tribute to the bygone era some of us like to call golden, at least when it comes to Metal. Seriously, they are not even attempting to reinvent the wheel. So, why am I mentioning it is an honest tribute? Simple fact is that most of the nowadays bands who try to sound like that usually miss the point completely. The point being that apart of just borrowing the recognizable elements of the classics you need to have the songs that will stick to the ears of the listener. To put it simply, you need hits, like most of the albums back then had. “Highway of Heroes” does have a couple of those.
Dealing with traditional Heavy Metal all the way, Screamer borrows from most (if not all) the expected influences. My mind mostly wanders around Lizzy Borden when hearing those hard hitting riffs. Then there are the melodic guitars reminiscent of the greats from the NWOBHM. On the other hand, just listen to the opening to “Shadow Hunter” and tell me it doesn’t remind you of Nicko McBrain. Bass lines are also, at times, as playful as those of his bandmate. Guitar solos are a clear monument to the Judas Priest duo. And this is just a part of it. I’m sure each and every one of you will find a whole lot of other similarities. But, for a band riding on the well-trodden path, Screamer can sure make a memorable track. My personal favorite is “Towers of Babylon” with a catchy chorus I’m singing along to for quite some time. Now, for the vocals I could do with a better clear singing. It seems a bit flat to me, like Mr. Andreas Wikström hasn’t given it all he’s got. Unlike the high-pitched screams that are just brilliant and well placed to lift up the mood. Lyrical themes are, again, standard to the genre, so there are no surprises there either.
“Highway of Heroes” is really getting hard to write about without throwing countless names to the table. And that might just be the point of this album. It is not meant to be described or debated. It was made by the real Metal fans, for the real Metal fans to enjoy. So, honesty comes first. And then the clear attitude towards the music you love so much. Keep that in mind, and you will surely like this release very much. Lose it for a second, and you will find a bunch of stuff to bitch about online. True Metalheads have another record for their insatiable appetites.