To be brutally honest, no-one really expected much of a departure from Inhuman Rampage, which is good... because they're not "really" getting one. Ultra Beatdown clings heavily to the tried and tested formula that brought DragonForce their popularity in the first place. Thank heavens.
To the untrained ear, choosing whether to pick up Ultra Beatdown or Inhuman Rampage makes little if any difference. Though similar as it is, any long-term fan of the band will still be able to tell the albums apart. Not all of Herman and Sam's fantastical guitar effects are recycled (though beware, some are) and ZP shows off new vocal skills on many of the albums tracks. Songs such as 'Heroes Of Our Time' inject new verse/chorus layouts into the mix and 'Heartbreak Armageddon' features an insane keyboard solo that (for once) isn't being totally overpowered by Sam and Herman's wizardry.
'The Last Journey Home' is probably the one track that sets this album apart from the others. It starts off sounding like a new 'Trail Of Broken Hearts' then totally messes with your mind, turning into what can only be described as a bizarre space-age romp through time and the friction of reality. I realize that as a review, the previous paragraph is far too vague to be of any real help, but this song needs to be heard to be believed.
Conclusion: DragonForce sound exactly as they should. Ear-piercing wails, earth-shattering drums and mind-blowing four-minute-plus solos. We wouldn't want them any other way. I don't believe that being similar to past efforts should be a reason to lower the score, if the last album was amazing and this is more of the same, it deserves just as much praise. 5 stars.