Album: Second Storm
Label: Despotz Records
Disclaimer: This is mostly a review of the music on the album and not an analysis of the awesome-as-fuck Mecha-Ostrich on the cover.
Second Storm is the, (surprise!), second album by Swedish Power Metal band Lancer. Without promising too much, they’re a pretty consistent group, at least if you take in account that both of their full-length records are pretty solid Speed/Power assaults without reinventing the steel (…haha).
Hailing from Sweden, you may expect something in the vein of HammerFall and actually that’s not even too far fetched although it kind of is. It sounds weird to phrase it this way but Lancer seem like a modern take on classic and powerful Speed Metal with a great and retro-sounding everything. The production sounds retro, the singer sounds retro, the guitars sound retro. It’s not innovative by any means but you probably know what you can expect with song titles like Children of the Storm or Steelbreaker. Yes, lots and lots of relentlessly catchy choruses expect you which won’t leave your head until you turn on the next song on Second Storm.
An important factor for (modern) Power Metal bands is the cheese factor. You probably know where this is heading but Lancer is a band which doesn’t take themselves seriously. It may be redundant to even mention this fact (see Laser-Ostrich on the 2013 s/t debut); but with all the old school vibes on both of their records Lancer actually manage to secure a relatively balanced cheese/riff proportion.
It’s a blessed curse with many of these retro-styled bands who go and try to revive the past. You can’t be too innovative if you try that, it’s simply not possible. The trick is to sound kickass and fun. There actually are quite a few bands who manage to sound that way without being generic and boring, Steelwing being one example. Now I won’t tell you that I’ve never heard some melodies on Second Storm, certain choruses and riffs never fail to resemble obvious idols like Helloween, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The band makes the best of choosing the path they did. Second Storm is not an overly innovative album. However it’s an interesting and modern take on classic and fast-paced Power Metal with fun and catchy choruses without losing the link to the band’s influences. The album is recommended for anyone who doesn’t hate fun and likes old school and retro vibes in their music because that pretty much describes the quintessence of this record.
And now look at that album cover again and tell me Second Storm doesn’t look like a fun ride.