Lancer – Second Storm
Release Date: April 10, 2015
The driving force of Swedish heavy metal appears to be growing exponentially stronger with every year. Sneaking up the ranks alongside acts such as Hammerfall and Sabaton, five-piece power metal band Lancer hit the scene with a bang just a couple short years ago. A phenomenal sophomore release, the aptly named Second Storm continues the journey. Living up to the band’s brilliant eponymous debut album, Lancer offers a perfect blend of speed metal guitar, driving drumming and bass lines, and a strong vocalist that seems to have hopped through a stargate from a planet ruled by 80’s heavy metal (and a battle-ready, laser-eyed ostrich).
From the very beginning, it is easy to hear how much the band has grown from their first release. Second Storm begins with “Running from the Tyrant” setting the tempo of the album with a nice galloping riff. The chorus is incredibly catchy, complete with fantastic layered vocal work that is strong but not overdone, and there’s a ripping guitar solo to top it all off.“
“Masters and Crowns” is yet another straightforward metal tune, heavy on driving guitar, as the vocal presence is pretty overshadowed by the instrumental work. Immediately following is a personal favorite, “Behind the Walls”, as one of the heaviest tracks on the album. It would be no surprise to mention the fantastic, melodic guitar solos, but this song also features some varying vocal styles and tribal-like drumming that really bring it the depth and diversity that the album craves at the perfect time.
As a nearly ten-minute long epic, “Aton” strikes at the heart of the record with phenomenal storytelling all while driving home beautifully written heavy metal instrumental breaks. Another noteworthy track, “Steelbreaker” takes the eighties Judas Priest-esque approach and gives it a new millennium spin thanks to great production and mixing: The perfectly harmonized guitar solo does not go unnoticed.
The atmospheric touches in “Eyes of the Liar” are a great way to lead the album to its closing track, but that soaring chorus leaves the listener begging for more. And of course, Lancer truly delivers on the closing track, “Fools Marching On”, which kicks the tempo back up to a nice galloping drive that Iron Maiden would be proud of. After an in-your-face guitar solo, the song breaks down into a heavy instrumental break and following a brief (but awesome) bass feature, this surprising sophomore release comes to its end.
Second Storm is full of endlessly amazing speed metal instrumental work from all members of the band. The phenomenal vocals of Isak Stenvall are just the cherry on top of this awesome heavy metal sundae. As someone who completely fell in love with their debut album, I am quite happy to hear the band take a slightly heavier approach, all while still keeping the silliness that has been with the band since the very beginning. Basically, if Gamma Ray and Michael Kiske-era Helloween got together, took steroids and had a baby, they would name it Lancer. I don’t know how the laser-eyed battle ostrich got into the mix, but frankly I don’t care. Cheers to you and your ostrich, Lancer!
Isak Stenvall – Vocals
Per-Owe “Ewo” Solvelius – Guitars
Fredrik Kelemen – Guitars
Emil Öberg – Bass
Sebastian Pedernera – Drums