Screamer - Highway of Heroes

Screamer Highway of Heroes cover
Highway of Heroes
The Sign Records
These Swedes are celebrating a decade of existence this year, by releasing their fifth outing. Sounding like a less refined version of Enforcer and Ambush, they have a penchant for writing that straightforward, samey, simplistic metal that’s easy to enjoy, but hard to appreciate for more than the cheap thrill it is. The main issue other than the somewhat flat songs, is Andreas Wikström, the singer, who is not terrible, but is a far cry from being great. He’s limited in range and given material that would really shine with someone better. The band draws its inspirations from pretty much every classic band you could think, Priest, Accept, etc. you name it…
Opener “Ride On” attempts to be the missing link between Accept and Priest, while actually not reaching the brilliance of either act.
“Shadow Hunter” could have fared better, but the withdrawn & nasal vocals that somehow lack in power keep it from really “happening” despite a nice rocking and rolling solo trying to advance things.
Like its predecessor, “Rider of Death” also has vibrant traces of NWOBHM, but here the vocals really become a detracting element, unless you’re the type of tone deaf epic metaller that will listen to anything “retro”.
“Sacrifice” is more of the same galloping, with more weak, on the brink, super nasal vocals that often break into even weaker falsettos.
“Halo” is probably the better song of the album, with manlier vocals and an unstoppable riffy approach, which makes it quite appealing. If the album had more of this, it would have been better for it.
The title track has more questionable vocals, but at least some nice guitar themes seem to help it along.
“Out of the Dark” doesn’t change much, but at least is on the enjoyable side of things at least as far as having a sing-along worthy chorus is concerned. But the vocals sound like an overtly happy weak King Diamond… which is not as good as it might seem in writing.
“Towers of Babylon” is also energetic and probably its Tygeresque sound fits the vocals a little better.
Lastly, “Caught in Lights” has a cool, if not simple riff, but feels like a mixed bag elsewhere, particularly.
If Screamer had come up with the goods 30 years ago, it might have been okay, although they would still have been also runs, not protagonists of the genre; right now all I can say is, if they’re having fun doing this… that’s fine, but it might be only something that will appeal to a very niche portion of fans.