Lancer - Mastery

Lancer Mastery cover
Nuclear Blast Records
I find it funny how a lot of media that didn’t give two shits about Lancer’s previous attempt can’t now heap enough praise to them – upon the release of their third album via the behemoth that Nuclear Blast has become.
In all honesty, the band has managed to up their sound production, without betraying its Helloween inspired roots and they’ve managed to sound like Edguy did a few years ago, probably before their pivotal “Mandrake” album. While they’ve managed to, in a way, take a step toward with that, the little time between albums and saturation in the genre, makes them sound decidedly second rate, with a rushed album, with songs that hardly register beyond the fact they sound like decent, if not uninspired attempts to copy the sound and style of Helloween around the Keepers era. Especially their singer, Isak Stenvall, sounds so much like a cold Kiske clone that instead of impressing, he probably makes you cringe and his oft-use of weaker falsettos make him sound a little like King Diamond, but in a way that doesn’t complement songs like the title track. He overdoes the tenor thing, whereas a guy like Kiske really sings using his entire range, which makes a world of difference in the deliveries sounding believable and not one dimensional.
It’s bizarre to be saying this, but in making a “better” more professional album, the band has traded it’s spontaneity, which actually makes this album sound quite soulless, tiring and too long, even if it doesn’t clock more than an hour. Oscar Wild once said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and it might be true to an extent, but only if you manage to come up with the goods and in the case of Lancer, only the chorus of the title song did something to catch my attention and maybe portions of the “Dead Rising Towers” that had me trying to figure out which Helloween songs, they were trying to imitate... elsewhere, a very mediocre by the numbers and “silly” album, but without the charm that made the silliness in Helloween actually work.
Unless they can ride the “storm” of being in such a big company, they’re in immediate danger of crashing and burning too fast.