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 straight forward 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 story telling 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, and 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 it’s closing track, but that soaring chorus leaves the listener begging for more. And of course, Lancer truly delivers in 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 after a brief (but awesome) bass feature, this surprising sophomore release comes to it’s 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 that 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 lazer-eyed battle ostrich got into the mix, but frankly I don’t care. Cheers to you and your ostrich, Lancer!