REVIEW: LANCER – “Mastery”
I’ve said it before; I’m not a huge fan of power metal. However, I found myself drawn again and again to Lancer’s new album called ‘Mastery’. This young band from Sweden takes the elemental form of metal, which first arrived with the dawn of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and recasts it into blazing compositions. The new album sets tales of history, fantasy, and theology to music that burns with the fires of yore in thunderous rhythms, galloping riffs, and heroic vocals.
‘Mastery’ marks Lancer’s second full-length album and their first after signing with Nuclear Blast. The album gets started with the soaring “Dead Raising Towers”. It is here that you get to witness the soaring vocals of Isak Stenvall. Veteran listeners may hear similarities to Michael Kiske (Helloween), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), and Tony Moore (Riot). While Isakha‘s a powerful voice, I think a bit of the grit similar to Stu Block or Tim Owens would give the tunes even more punch.
Standout tunes on ‘Mastery’ include the fist pumping title track with a punchy galloping beat provided by the fine footwork of drummer Sebastian Pedernera
I would be remiss in failing to spotlight the bass playing of Emil Oberg. It can be easy to overlook the rhythmic reinforcement and color that a fine bass player adds to a band. While you can hear the fleet fretwork of Emil shining through on each tune, he is the highlight of “Freedom Eaters”.
The album wraps up with the epic “Envy Of The Gods” which could easily have been on the latest Iron Maiden album. This is the longest song on the album. It encapsulates all the elements that define the music of Lancer. If there is one weakness on the album, it is the ballad “World Unknown”. It lacks the force of the rest of the songs on this album. However, it is easy to overlook when reviewing the album as a whole.
Lancer should capture a large audience of metal heads who crave new music that builds on the glory days of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. On this, their latest album, the band has created an amalgam of power metal that avoids the pitfalls of weak songwriting and uninspiring music that plagues much of the power metal scene. Lancer brings a fierce and beating heart of metal that throws horns to the sky and screams with life. If you long for pure metal crafted as it was at the birth of Maiden, then you need to check out ‘Mastery’ by Lancer.