Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lancer - Second Storm (2015)

The Swedish power metal band Lancer made quite a big impression on me with their self titled debut album that was released around 2 years ago, mostly because they successfully mixed the power in power metal and the melodies in NWoBHM so well that it turned into a new and refreshing sound. But for their second full length
effort, conveniently named "Second Storm", they leave the NWoBHM in the shadows to put all of their earnings on power. A interesting decision that may not be a innovative one, but could help the band in getting more fans quickly to discover what they bring to the metal world.

I do not think that it might have been the wrong decision to change their direction, especially since the change is not that huge, but it definitely makes Lancer more unoriginal. They often sound like a Stratovarius cover band, especially since the vocalist Isak Stenvall sounds a lot like Timo Kotipelto. This really makes "Second Storm" a uneasy experience, cause even if you like the music, you still got a thought in the back at your head that says this could as well have been stolen from Stratovarius.

So it may not come as a surprise for you that I recommend fans of Stratovarius to listen to this album, not because the music has many similarities with what the Finns do, but also because the quality of the craft is quite good. The songs "Fools Marches On", Running From The Tyrant", and "Behind The Walls" gives you the power and speed that you would expect from a power metal band, while "Children of The Storm" and "Masters And Crowns" gives the album more musicality and depth. The set list does have a good amount of diversity, and the red thread goes visibly through all of the songs, which connects them together, making this a more solid piece. I also recommend the epic chorus in "Eyes of The Liar" and the solo work in "Steelbreaker".

But just like in the debut album, "Second Storm" tend to become a little boring after a couple of listens, making its life length disappointingly short. Lot of the songs in this album definitely holds a great standard, but I cannot see myself listening to them for too long, too often. The band also have to work on being more even in the song writing process. The old school "Iwo Jima" is just plain boring and "Aton" does have some neat ideas, but ended up as a close to 10 minute long AOR song that I have trouble with listening to in its entirety. It is way too long for its own good.

So Lancer does not quite reach up to the standards that their self title debut did, but "Second Storm" is still a quite good power metal album by a band that does have a future in this business. The overall song quality is enjoyable and the band knows what they are doing, but to reach the next level in their career, they have to fine tweak some key components, including getting their musical image a lot clearer. Otherwise, they do have several things that makes a great band. A good bunch of musicians, a nice logo, and a cool and menacing ostrich that fonts every album cover. So keep on working guys, and make your coming third storm your biggest yet.

Songs worthy of recognition: Children of The Storm, Masters And Crowns, Fools Marches On

Rating: 7,5/10 Steelbreakers

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