Swedish band LANCER was formed back in 2009, formed while the members were attending the Music Academy of Ingesund in Arvika. Four years later they released their self-titled debut album, and they have since established themselves as an up and coming band in the Scandinavian metal scene. “Second Storm” is their sophomore effort, and was released in April 2015 through Swedish label Despotz Records.
As usual in this day and age, we’re dealing with a band whose style contains unmistakable pointers to the past. As one can expect for a style of music closing in fast on a two generations long history, as is the case with heavy metal. In this particular case a band rather firmly placed within what’s most commonly referred to as power metal.
From the energetic opener Running From the Tyrant, complete with intense galloping rhythms, dampened, tight guitar riff constructions and powerful lead vocals, it’s crystal clear that this is a band that have listened to early Helloween quite a bit, or possibly one of the many bands that have taken their cues from this classic German powerhouse band. As the more sparsely arranged Iwo Jima enters the fray, and as the album as such unfolds, it becomes even more obvious that the heart and soul of this band and their sound is just as much, if not even more, geared towards some specific pointers laid down by good, old Iron Maiden at some point in time. Galloping bass motifs with a certain liberty to fluctuate and subtly wander a key element there, as are the harmony lead guitars and the powerful lead vocal wails.
Lancer operate within a Helloween and Iron Maiden oriented context then, and they do so fairly well too I might add. The songs are fairly uniform, but well developed in terms of how and where to toss in power riffs or gentler interludes to add variation or maintain tension, and the careful, subtle use of keyboards to smooth out sections or build up certain atmospheres is done with an expert ear to functionality. There’s also room for some additional facets that expands the stylistic palette ever so slightly: The slightly Judas Priest oriented Steelbreaker, a nod towards the old grand masters Candlemass in the opening section of Eyes of the Liar, a Queensryche style epilogue on concluding song Fools Marches On, and perhaps the most prominent case comes with Aton, a song that made me think of the late Ronnie James Dio just as much as Iron Maiden.
This is a good album, with well developed songs that are well performed. A quality production. Perhaps not of the kind that will go down in history as a classic must have CD, but most certainly an album that should find favor among those with a taste for vintage power metal in general, and in particular amongst those who tend to enjoy the melody and harmony oriented bands within this subset of heavy metal.
My rating: 78/100