LANCER - Second Storm
April 1, 2015, 5 years ago
The Battle Ostrich returns! One of my favorite new acts, their eponymous debut (on the small Doolittle label) finished #3 in my Best Of 2013 poll. Comparing these Swedes to Helloween & Edguy, they were insistent on playing up the blatant Iron Maiden references and glowing endorsement from like-minded countryman Oscar Dronjak (founding guitarist, HammerFall). On this, their nine song sophomore effort, the nine tracks all the aforementioned are still valid: galloping twin lead traditional metal, delivered with high pitched vocals. A punchy “Running From The Tyrant” kicks things off. Especially the chorus, it would make Tobias Sammett envious. The foundation of a grittier “Iwo Jima” paves its own way until the instrumental section, where a prominent, Steve Harris bass run crops up. Keeper-era Weenies is the focal point of the lightweight, yet upbeat “Masters And Crowns”.
Speedy guitars and a heavier tone, but no less prone to sing-along melodies, “Behind The Walls” might as well be an outtake from either of the initial two HammerFall offerings. Another nod to Harris' Maiden, the 9:57 “Aton” is neatly tucked away, middle of the album (in the vinyl days it would be situated more prominently, either ending Side 1 or to begin Side 2). It starts slower, no better than mid-tempo, before revving up about half way, then dropping to just a bluesy guitar and wood block drumming, before dying in one last blaze of glory (with modulated voice-over). The titular selection is a lively slice of power metal the soaring voice of Isak Stenvall at the forefront. “Eyes Of The Liar” is an interesting mix of Iron Maiden bottom end (bass and drumming) with an infectious Edguy chorus. “Fools Marches On” finale rounds ou the album in fine fashion, upbeat and aggressive, never foregoing harmonies. Only complaint, not long enough, so seek out the expanded edition, featuring a trio of additional songs (new versions of the material from 2012's Purple Sky Ep).