Released: 2009, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Target was a Belgian thrash metal act who released two albums for Mekong Delta mainman Ralph Hubert's Aaarrg label in the late 80s. He also produced their 4-track demo in 1987. Guitarist Lex Vogelaar later formed the better known Orphanage. The band was originally formed in April 1986 by guitarist Franky van Aerde and drummer Christ Braems. A few line-up changes followed until Ralph Hubert signed the band in early spring 1987. The lead guitarist soon got married and left the band. In July/August 1987 they recorded their debut album MISSION EXECUTED in the Phoenix Studio in Bochum, West Germany with a new Dutch guitarist named Lex Vogelaar who had joined the band only a few weeks before recording. In the winter of 1987/1988 there were a lot of problems for the band resulting from the change of management. Vocalist Guy lost his interest in making music and Target soon split up after the release of their 2nd album with Steve Gray on vocals.
All that above, as an interesting biography from this Belgian progressive thrash act called Target... And I have never heard of them before - just don´t have any idea at all why? I own most of the Mekong Delta, Living Death and Holy Moses albums from Aaarrg Records, but for some strange reason, this Belgian band Target never crossed my path back in the day.
Gladly this is where Stormspell Records stepped in, making me fortunate to let this label to educate me a little about some obscure metal gems that is pretty hard to come by these days.
Listening to this very luxurious-looking re-release from both of Target´s 2 albums on this double CD collection, with their 5-song 1986 demo included as a bonus on it, I gotta say I haven´t enjoyed such a totally obscure band this much and this immense that I have been managed to miss for so many years. Target sounds – to put it straight right away, just incredible. It´s hard to nail down any close comparisons to them musically, but they definitely fall down into the same category as the following masters of technical and progressive thrash as Watchtower, Mekong Delta, Coroner - and even later era Deathrow pops up occasionally in my mind.
Their progressive and highly technical thrash was thoroughly very challenging, and it demands from a listener quite a lot to get fully adjusted to everything he/or she realizes what´s actually going on within their stuff. The aforementioned lines apply especially to the band´s 2nd album, MASTER PROJECT GENESIS, which in my opinion is a better, more progressive and more advanced sounding album than their debut, which itself ain´t bad either by any means. It´s just a little bit of a more straightforward effort from them, when obviously Target was still trying to shape their technical speed/thrash sound into one mould - and succeeding in it quite well even. The guy's vocal approach on the band´s debut album is more aggressive, kind of more traditional type of thrash vocals than Steve´s on Target´s 2nd (and unfortunately last) album. Steve´s vocalism on MASTER PROJECT GENESIS was way trickier and more varied, demanding from him quite a lot more actually, this also including those occasional, high-pitched screams (his screams do remind me of Larry Potrelli of Blessed Death).
Both albums are really good for what they are and what they represent (and even their 1986 demo that comes as bonus) - and you would certainly be a true fool to miss these releases for the 2nd time. Now you have gotten a chance to get them all in the very same package (coming also with a 16-page booklet with all the lyrics, tons of archive pictures and exclusive in-depth interviews with founding guitarist Franky Van Aerde), but then again keep in mind this is also a limited release and it certainly won´t last forever.
Hmmmm... it´s still a total mystery to me why I missed this fine Belgian progressive thrash band back in those days when their albums got released. Oh well, I have to stop scratching my head any more. I have already got way too many sticks into my fingers already by doing so.