Lancer – “Mastery”


Lancer are back with their third full length album Mastery, filled with everything one would want from a European power metal band.

In what explains the technical ability of the musicians in Lancer, they met at the Music Academy of Ingesund in Arvika, Sweden.  In 2012 the band released the Purple Sky ep which led to a deal with the label Doolittle Group AB, owned by Narnia vocalist Christian Liljegren.  In 2013, the band worked with producers Tommy Johansson (Sabaton) and Ronny Milianowicz (Hammerfall) and released their first full length  album.  The self-titled work was met with critical acclaim and the band’s reputation began to grow to the point they were named by one publication as a new hope for European power metal.  The band’s second album, Second Storm, was released in 2015 on Despotz Records and also was accepted warmly by music critics.  Similar to Second Storm, the band chose to go back into the studio with producer Gustav Ydenius (Sister Sin, Enforcer, Mustasch) for Mastery and in this case signed a deal with Nuclear Blast Records, who reached out to the band.

Lancer waste no time setting the tone for the album, launching straight into the power metal following an opening scream of “Dead Raising Towers” by Isak Stenvall.  Galloping bass lines, driving rhythms, epic vocals, and an obvious preference for guitars driving the song make it easy to pick out Lancer. Often times, power metal songs have a feel as if they are mostly just setting the stage for a screaming guitar solo, and while “Dead Raising Towers” is a bit predictable , the  performances are excellent.  As one would want and expect from power metal, the production is clean and the guitars and vocals come through clearly in the mix.

“Future Millenia” picks up right were “Dead Towers Rising” left off and for the most part the album flows in a similar vein as there are not any real surprises or changes in direction.  Straight ahead power metal with a strong emphasis on guitar to carry the songs is what one can expect.  In some ways, strong vocal performances are also expected in the genre and Isak Stenvall can certainly fulfill that expectation.  What surprised me was the ultra-high register in his voice at times and how strong the backing group vocals are in the songs.

“Mastery” opens up with one of my favorite riffs on the album and a good intro section where both guitars can be heard contributing at different points with various fills and leads.

The two longest tracks on the album change course a bit compared to the rest of the album and both start out much slower and quieter.  “Victims of the Nile” showcase more of Isak’s range on vocals as the song begins almost like a darker power ballad.  Close to three minutes into the song, the riffs begin and the band goes back into full swing in terms of tempo and driving rhythms which carry on for a while until the band eventually steps back to let Isak close out the song in a nearly acapella fashion.  “Envy of the Gods” starts out slower and quieter with clean guitar backing Isak’s vocals but the slow pace and clean guitars do not last nearly as long as they did in “Victims of the Nile” and when the song gets moving the pace is very fast. Double bass drum work highlights the second half of the song as the guitars combine for some complicated exchanges.  Similar to “Victims of the Nile” there is a near acapella section but this time the drums provide the minimalist backing.  In the end though, this song goes out with a very fast roar, riffs and double bass flying along at high speed.

Bass guitar makes its presence felt in the high speed opening of “Freedom Eaters” and continues to be heard clearly throughout the song, which also has a great, fast guitar riff to go with, and the same could be said for the bonus track “The Wolf and the Kracken” ,  while “Widowmaker”  makes use of a fast riff from the beginning and throughout the song.  The only real miss for me is the slower, quieter, near power ballad song “World Unknown”, which closer to the end of the album seems a bit out of place to me, but does showcase Isak’s vocals (again).

For a relatively new band, Lancer seem to have hit their stride.  Even if one considers the power metal genre a bit unoriginal, Lancer have avoided many of the clichés expected and combined great musicianship, vocals and production to release a very solid album.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

01. Dead Raising Towers
02. Future Millennia
03. Mastery
04. Victims Of The Nile
05. Iscariot
06. Follow Azrael
07. Freedom Eaters
08. World Unknown
09. Widowmaker
10. Envy Of The Gods
11. The Wolf And The Kraken (bonus track)Band Members
Isak Stenvall – Vocals
Per-Owe “Ewo” Solvelius – Guitars
Fredrik Kelemen – Guitars
Emil Öberg – Bass
Sebastian Pedernera – Drums

“Reaching Higher” (Demo 2010)
“Purple Sky” (EP 2012)
“Lancer” (2013) [review]
“”Mastery” (2017)

Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records, Jan. 2017

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video for ‘Mastery’

Video for ‘Future Millenia’


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts