Review Summary: Electrifying.
It’s time for the metal world to get acquainted with Lancer. Citing the legendary Iron Maiden
as their primary influence, these young Swedes burst onto the scene looking to breathe some life into the been-dying-so-long-it’s-got-to-be-dead genre of power metal. And with its melodic and surprisingly inventive instrumentation, expertly-performed and implemented vocals, and downright infectious choruses, Lancer’s Second Storm may have done just that.
Easily the record’s greatest strength is its deft avoidance of the genre’s most common pitfalls. For example, the vocals courtesy of Isak Stenvall are extremely well done, but never overpower the instrumentation. In fact, throughout the album’s 9 tracks, the twin guitar onslaught of Peter Ellström and Fredrik Kelemen almost always remains front and center, and rightfully so. The two boast a Maiden-esque level of melody seldom found in power metal, while Emil Öberg delivers one of the finest bass performances the generally bass-lacking genre has to offer.
What truly sets Lancer apart from their peers is their ability to implement progressive elements into their music. The 10-minute epic Aton
is the undeniable highlight of the album, and contains a jazz breakdown
that wouldn't seem out of place in Haken
’s “The Mountain.” While no other track matches the sheer magnitude of Aton
, there is simply not a dull moment in Second Storm’s 51-minute runtime. Children of the Storm
boasts the most infectious chorus on the album, and the opening riff of Steelbreaker
is reminiscent (once again) of Iron Maiden’s “Be Quick or Be Dead.” Other highlights (of which there are many) include the sweeping war anthem Iwo Jima
and the epic Eyes of the Liar
, which delivers another fantastic chorus and a juicy, bass-laden main riff.
Unsurprisingly, Second Storm’s only low points are the instances in which there is little progression or innovation to be found. Masters and the Crowns
has a predictable, somewhat stale power metal chorus, although some of the album’s finest melodic instrumentation comes along to save the day. A few moments here and there come across as somewhat unremarkable, such as the rather run-of-the-mill structure of Behind the Walls
. However, these flaws are scarce and easily forgivable, and do no major damage to the record as a whole.
Lancer’s Second Storm is a spectacular, electrifying release, and one that the genre of power metal as a whole so desperately needed. Boasting excellent vocals, audible and juicy bass, sensational guitar work, and progressive elements, Lancer have firmly established themselves as one of the most promising acts not only in power metal, but in metal as a whole.
Children of the Storm
Eyes of the Liar