Nima : Lancer is a Swedish band that started about the same time as fellow compatriots Steelwing, Katana, Air Raid and Screamer. Although the band had released two demos in 2010 and 2012, the aforementioned countrymen already had their first long players to their name, while Lancer’s self-titled debut was released in 2013. But although the quintet had less name recognition at that time, the band was received with open arms. With their solid compositions, instrumental and vocal skills, youthful enthusiasm and audible passion and feel for old-fashioned heavy metal, Lancer definitely made a strong impression.
As with all bands – especially in this genre – it was up to Lancer to really prove itself on the second album. Last month the second album, ‘Second Storm’, was a fact. And let me say right away that the gentlemen have progressed and have outdone themselves on all fronts. Once the opener ‘Running From The Tyrant’ starts blasting out of the speakers, you immediately find yourself in a whirlwind of NWOBHM and melodic power metal that Swedes can play like no other. Because of those power metal influences the band distinguishes itself from many colleagues in the genre. The basis is ever old-school NWOBHM, but at the same time the band sounds more contemporary than most colleagues, without sounding modern. Can you still follow it?
Compared to the debut ‘Second Storm’ is more up-tempo in general. Listen to songs like the aforementioned opener, ‘Masters And Crowns’, ‘Behind The Walls’, the magnificent ‘Steelbreaker’ and the fantastic closing track ‘Fools Marches On’, and you know what I mean. However, the albums contains the necessary variety in order to prevent the songs from collapsing. And so there is no shortage on mid-tempo headbangers, bombast (the Hammerfall- and Nocturnal Rites-like ‘Aten’) and melodies. All nine tracks on ‘Second Storm’ are strong compositions that during the – fairly long – playing time of over 50 minutes not only keep you focused from start to finish, but also make a lasting impression. And when you just crave for more afterwards, then you know that you’re dealing with a strong record here.
On instrumental, vocal and songwriting matters the men leave no room for discussion, and also sound-technically (Leon Music Studios with producer Gustav Ydenius, known for his works with Steelwing, Mustasch and Enforcer) the album is in excellent condition. And finally the beautiful cover artwork by Dimitar Nikolov (Steelwing and Katana) completes the picture. ‘Second Storm’ is without doubt one of the strongest albums of the New Wave Of Swedish Heavy Metal, and places Lancer at the top of the genre.