Roundtable Review: Lancer – Second Storm
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: April 10th, 2015
Length: 51 minutes
Genre: Power/Speed metal
Studio Albums: Purple Sky EP 2012, Lancer 2013
Location: Arvika, Sweden
Recommended for fans of: Iron Maiden, Avantasia, Helloween, Edguy
WarpRider – The cover reminds me of some of those old classic Judas Priest albums. The music, not far off in comparison, is pure speed metal backed by power metal choruses. Second Storm is rhythmic and upbeat; perfect for the long drive; good luck following the speed limit though. Good stuff! 3.5
RiffRaff – There’s a battle ostrich on the cover. Do I really need to say anymore to convince you to check it out? There’s some catchy and cheesy speed/power metal on here too; worth your time if those genres are you thing. But more importantly, a fucking battle ostrich! 3.0
Irmelinis – Here’s a group you need to pay attention to. Anyone who grew up with easy going metal with thunderous volume like Helloween and Iron Maiden in the 80’s, or in the early 00’s with Avantasia and Rhapsody In Fire is going to enjoy this. Lancer started as a cover band playing songs from other well known power metal acts such as Stratovarious, Masterplan, and Gamma Ray before finally deciding to do their own thing in 2009. The band’s musical progress can clearly be heard when listening through their discography, and this time the much improved Lancer chose to follow a heavier path, including more interesting and diverse songwriting. With a driving rhythm section, charming bass lines and speedy guitars they do a good job of keeping up the momentum throughout the nine tracks on “Second Storm”, which is partly what makes it such an engaging listen. If there’s anything negative to say about it, it’s this: A couple of times the melodies get dangerously close to being too similar to other well known songs in the genre. Fortunately, it’s only a minor flaw as the majority of the album feels fresh.
The eye-catching battle ostrich (brilliant idea!) serves as a symbol for the playful attitude of the band, but the content of the album is far from a joke. The songs are about everything from human rights to haunted houses and ghosts, the Iwo Jima war, and even the aforementioned battle ostrich got its own deadly tune (“Steelbreaker”). Last but not least, the singer is fantastic! 4.0
ChristopherMammal – I haven’t been listening to nearly as much power metal as I did until a few years ago. As I grow much older and much younger I’ve been possessed by the newer, harder and harsher styles of metal and ’core. Lancer, however, has been such a pleasure that I plan to set a few days aside to work through the tons heavy and power metal in my library. For that influence alone, “Second Storm” earns a high rating from me. I’m seldom nostalgic, but this album takes me back to about the mid-80s and the hours I would lie on the carpet with the hi-fi speakers two feet away from my ears. It brings back good memories of the metal and hard rock of that era pounding through me, the floor, the walls, and into the long-suffering neighbours’ houses.
Concentrating more on the album on its own merits, trying to exclude the memories it evokes, I’m still just as inclined to give it a high rating. Everything hangs together so comfortably – the excellent clean tenor vocals, the mid-range riffs, the unflagging rhythm and the sweet solo passages where the guitar steps out on its own except for soft cymbals in the background. In spite of good variation in the compositions, power metal is inherently repetitive, especially when it’s as full of speed metal as “Second Storm”. That’s not a failing, not by any means. It’s what makes good heavy and power metal so embracing and compelling. Lancer know how to grab and hold my attention. 4.0
A Metal State of Mind Score – 3.6 out of 5
Our ratings are done on a scale of 1-5 with a 1 being an abysmal album, a 2.5 being a halfway point (an O.K. album), and a 5 being outstanding.