on 4 October 2006
The music on this cd is absolutely brilliant. From the opening bars I was instantly hooked and remained so to the final closing note.
I have been listening to rock music for over 40 years, (yes, I'm old), and Dragonforce are the best band I've heard in the last 20 years.
Taking into consideration the fact that the general level of rock musicianship today is of a very high standard, the musicianship on this cd is truly outstanding. The vocals are excellent, powerful, melodic and perfectly suited to the style of music. The Drumming is truly awesome, (how on earth does he keep up this pace???), the keyboard playing is excellent and the guitars just have to be heard to be believed.
Herman and Sam are the best twin guitar duo since Brian & Scott of Thin Lizzy, only 100 times faster, technically more proficient and far superior.
There are many speed metal bands around, the difference here is that Dragonforce are very melodic, and for those of us who appreceiate some melody in our music instead of drop-D death riffs and monotonous screaming vocals, the music here is a most welcome and very refreshing change to the boring speed metal currently around.
Dragonforce are a very melodic speed metal band. if you've not heard them yet then my advice is to buy or borrow a cd of theirs and hear them for yourself. I'll be surprised if you're not impressed, (if not blown away) by what you hear.
The best way I can describe them is to take Iron Maiden, Rainbow and Thin Lizzy, mix them together and speed the whole thing up (a lot).
Believe me, this band are going to be huge.
I'm a guitarist of many years (36) and have heard the very best of just about every known style, yet I was left in awe of the truly breathtaking guitar playing when I first heard this superb band.
If you like fast, melodic, kick-ass rock with awesome guitars and great musicianship, then treat yourself to this cd NOW!
Taking into account that most speed metal bands currently around are from the USA, a note to all you Americans out there:-
Dragonforce are a BRITISH band, and this is how we do it across the pond!!!
Thanks Herman & Co for putting us back on top.
on 23 June 2005
Start with a huge amount of melodic, fast solos played at the same high level of Slash and Iron Maiden. Add in distorted guitar strumming reminiscent of early Misfits from the Danzig age. Chuck in some fantastic key board playing, a bassist similar to Jerry Only, a double kicker and singing that even you're parents would deem 'acceptable', sprinkle on a heap spoonful of cheese and stick it in a recording studio at a moderate English temperature for three months. What have you got? Iron Misfits? Not quite, but something just as good, if not a lot better. As you can probably tell by the strange recipe metaphor above, describing what Dragon Force actually consists of is not easy, in fact its very difficult. I'm not a fan of power metal in general, but this takes the genre to a whole new level, a level which is occupied only by Dragon Force.
For those who have heard the first Dragon's album, 'Valley Of The Damned', I'm glad to say that Sonic Firestorm is an improvement, having ironed out the few mistakes of the bands debut. The singing (however cheesy) is much clearer and the incredibly fast solos (and I really do mean fast, you have to hear it to believe it) have been refined to a perfect art. The songs, each of which is an epic tale of fantasy are all just about different enough to give the album a slightly less merged feel as opposed to the first album, where the songs do sound a little too similar.
To put it simply, I've not been this excited and hyped about a band since hearing AFI's 'The Art Of Drowning' (the first AFI record I ever had the pleasure of listening to) and it seems that Dragon Force have hit on something very special and very appealing early on in their career, which, if they continue, has the potential to span the same length and build up as big a fan base as the metal God's Iron Maiden.
If you're a fan of guitar music in general, I suggest you find your seat on the Dragon's band wagon because with them supporting Iron Maiden on some of the dates on Maiden's world tour, it won't be long until thousands of potential fans are exposed to the sound of the Dragons and when that happens, I predict the band wagon becoming very, very crowded.
on 18 April 2006
Before metal was mainsteam those of us who liked it were laughed at endlessly for the images of escapism, and extravagant extreme lyrics.
Dragonforce are as cliched as you can get in this respect, and do it well. Big-haired and fast-guitared, they strut through tracks at top speed, recounting tales of battles death and the like.
They know they're not entirely serious, and the guitar work is incredible - this level of skill is hard to match elsewhere.
Plenty of Maiden-esque head shaking tunes and crowd pleasers have made them a successful live act, and they deserve it. Skill, great meoldies and a belief in their extravagant image has made them what they are. Enjoy.
on 25 May 2004
i first heard this band after a friend (knowing i love stratovarius, maiden etc..) told me to check these guys out. i downloaded 'My spirit will go on' the first track of this album and i was blown away. They are like stratovarius on speed. i Loved the fast tempo and the really catchy melodies of the guitars and vocals. I bought the album the same day but i didnt think the rest of the tracks were quite up to the same standard as my spirit will go on. about half are excellent but they are all very samey, and some1 not already into power metal may be 'cheesed' out by the end!
The strangest thing about this band is that they are english, a strange thing to say but when u hear then you will understand.
This album is an essential purchase for a power metal fan, any1 else might find all the tracks too samey or too cheesy.
on 18 April 2005
The first thing that struk me when hearing this cd was that these guys do not understand the meaning of playing slow! the guitars and drums just don't let up, and their riffs are basically solos for other bands. while some may not like the cheesyness of Dragonforce, and this is almost pure distilled cheese, i love it, and other power metal fans will agree. if you got their debut album Valley of the Damned, or are new to dragonforce, it doesn't matter. BUY THIS CD!!! I loved it and am sure you will agree.
on 13 December 2005
Okay to start I'll note that I have heard Dragonforce's new album "Inhuman Rampage", which is released worldwide on the 9th of january. The reason for this statement is that I don't think anyone should rush ahead and buy it when released, because it may not be fit for new listeners of Dragonforce. The aforementioned album is very experimental and may dissapoint some people, albeit some of the tracks are unbelievable, but in most cases o'er the top. If you have heard the second track entitled "Revolution Deathsquad" you'll know what I mean(there is a stupid disc scratching part). The song entitled "Trail of Broken Hearts" is amazing and I cannot stop playing it, good work guys, finally a decent slow song!
Right, to the review, when I bought "Sonic Firestorm", which was the day after my friend demanded his copy back, after him lending me it for several months, I was very pleased. It's an amazing piece of music put together with the prudence and originality that any dedicated artist should give. Although it sounds very different from "Valley of the Damned"(their previous album) the lyrics and guitar riffs are just that bit more compelling, with the likes of "Prepare for War". The only thing that disapointed me with this album is that the track "The Dawn Over a New World" sounded too much like Bon Jovi. Sorry guys!
Just now I was looking through the previous reviews on this title and was disgusted, not one person gave a real reason why or how they liked Dragonforce. Someone even compared Iron Maiden's guitarwork to Herman's, how could you!? And I have to say this no matter what the consequences might be, a certain pariah, not point any fingers(STEVEN GIBB), said that the two albums "Sonic Firestorm" and "Valley of the Damned" sounded the same. Well, I'm sorry, but they just don't. once perused carefully clarity shall ensue, I mean they were recorded in two different studios!I can think of a couple reasons for this irrelevent complaint, one of which I shan't say(because of it's rudeness). The first is that Mr. Gibb may not have any friends and has to "make up nasty lies" to make him feel better, get a hobbie. An other is that he may just be too attached to Dragonforce and doesn't want to see them succeed and be on the telly every day, how arrogant. Albeit I have to agree with the last one, these are just conspiracies that I have and I don't intend to offend. although if I have, I don't care.
I really think this piece of music is worth a listen, even if you have read previous reviews like Mr. Gibb's. I award this album five stars, as it deserves it fully.
This band of merry men are extreme power metalists and know what they're doing. If you want a thrill, something impressive to play while friends are in the car or just something to sing to while you're in the shower(not that I do that of course), I highly recommend this compact disc, entitled "Sonic Firestorm".
Oh yeah, I like Dragonforce because of the twinspeed of Herman li and Sam Totman in their solos.
I would also like to recommend the following power metal bands:
on 8 January 2006
This was one of the first power metal albums I ever had, and one of the bands that sold me on the genre. Say what you like about Dragonforce, but you can't deny the genius of this little album right here. At the time, Dragonforce took a well established and classic sound and played it about 500rpm faster then anyone then anyone else. Simple, but effective. But it's not all about speed or the astonishing level of technical prowess (and believe me, this is some of the best guitar playing you're likely to hear this century). The band fill out their sound with some very memorable melodies, be they guitar or keyboard, and Mr. Theart's Journey-style vocal lines get stuck inside the listeners head for years and just beg to be sung along to. It's these infectious melodies combined with the breakneck speed and superhuman musicianship that really make Sonic Firestorm worth getting into, despite the rather simple and repetative song structures that make up a good 90% of the album.
The thorn amongst these roses is the lack of diversity - all songs (save the token ballad) blast along at a million miles an hour with each bridge, chorus, solo and breakdown comimg in at a very predictable time - and thats why i can't give the band a top 5 star rating. Shame, as maybe one or two mid gallopers or a slower rocker might have done this album wonders. But at the end of the day the quality of the music is enough to get these lads through.
I wasn't too impressed with the albums that came after this - they kinda sacrificed all at the alter of technicallity - but Sonic Firestorm is one classy and speedy beast of a power metal album and, in my humble opinion, the best Dragonforce has given us so far and always has a place in my metal collection.
Dragonforce’s second album, coming barely a year after their debut, shows the band pumping out another strong bunch of songs with the same ferocity and speed. There isn’t a lot of growth here as musicians or writers, but instead it is another example of super-fast power metal played with great virtuosity and spirit.
‘My Spirit Will Go On’ opens the album in seering fashion, burning in a stormy build-up, ominous sounds and thunderous drums. If anything, the opening moments have shown that the band have learned a few tricks since the last album and have a more concentrated effort at aiming for a certain atmosphere. Naturally, this mostly crumbles once the verses and vocals begin and the focus on speed takes over. As expected here, and on every other song on the album, the lyrics touch upon grandiose ideas of war, good and evil through the veil of fantasy. The verses are fine, the chorus is stronger, and the solo section is one of my favourites from the band, leaping around like a videogame, looping over itself, rumbling and bringing in the opening moments of the song to build pace and atmosphere.
‘Fury Of The Storm’ is an average album track for me, ironic as it is fairly popular amongst fans and was one of the singles from the album. There’s nothing wrong here for fans, it just doesn’t have any great hooks or memorable moments for me, although the melodies and solos are fine as expected.
‘Fields Of Despair’ throws in a bit of piano fun to give a nice additional depth to proceedings. I am partial to the chorus here, another one where they hit the right evocative notes to let you vividly imagine a bunch of mad men charging through the fields with axes swung high.
‘Dawn Over A New World’ is th first ballad on the album, and as expected it is a cheese-fest. With a preaching piano opening, and candles in the air guitars, arms-swaying melodies, the 80s macho man in me would proclaim this as one for the ladies. The normal person in me recognises it as a rather silly, but naturally well written and played song. It isn’t their best ballad, but there are enough catchy moments to warrant many a listen if you don’t mind a bit of cheddar.
‘Above The Winter Moonlight’ is another decent, if unispired album track. Highlights include some vocal antics in ther verse section by ZP, and another good chorus. It’s all a little samey, but there is a bit of a harsher edge to this one.
‘Soldiers Of The Wastelands’ opens with some disasterous, hilarious synth noises, all part of the enjoyment of the band, but this makes way for the usual blisteringly fast playing and duelling melodies and guitars. Some manic piano throughout, strong choruses, and an amusing key change towards the end ensure this one is good fun.
‘Prepare For War’ remains (I think) the band’s longest solo, and has their longest solo section to date. Luckily there is enough depth and capering throughout the song that it’s near 10 minute length is not a chore. A fairly long instrumental, breathless opening merges the synth stuff with the rest of the band before the vocals truly start. Verses, bridge, chorus, are each catchy, lyrics are as expected, and the playing is of course superb. Shortly after the 4 minute mark the song slows and enters a different phase, with raindrop like sounds and chords building towards a ferocious few minutes of rapid fire soloing brilliance.
‘Once In A Lifetime’ is a nice little track, possibly the one with the most variation on sound and most ideas, having some acoustic moments, a fantastic introduction, F-Zero style solos, and some brilliant melodies and vocals, particularly in the final couple of minutes.
‘Cry For The Brave’ is an exuberant ending, fast, melodic, and with interesting bridges and strong choruses. More particularly strong solos abound, ensuring a fun and furious finish.
As with the first album, this is clichéd metal fun, with tongue heavily in cheek, but with a reverence and love for the genre and craft. You could almost take the lyrics away and you wouldn’t lose any impact, but the songs would certainly be less fun. As a general rule, I love me some strong lyrics and usually balk at bands who can’t string together a few insightful lines. Metal, at least in it’s opening decades was not known as a genre with smart lyrics, instead focusing on the darker side of the human condition or cheesy dragon filled fantasies, but Dragonforce are clearly aware of this, and embrace it fully. Musically, the songs are strong, if lacking the depth of the Maidens and Priests they will forever be compared with. To grow as a metal band you need to be able to continue to please the fans who loved you for your original sound, but also continue to grow and offer something different with each release. There isn’t really anything different here, some flaws have been ironed out so it feels more like the debut album + 1 rather than a true next step. For a band like Dragonforce, that is likely fine at this point in their career, as they continue to search for an audience. With later albums they would indeed change their sound, and even their lyrics to touch upon new areas, but here we get a nice collection of melodic, eye-bleedingly fast metal which should please even the most jaded metal fan.
on 29 March 2004
I've been waiting for this album ever since I heard the bands debut album Valley of the Damned ( which is a must have for all Speed/Power Metal fans) and I was not disappointed.The band have grown since their last effort and the songs show this. Unlike Valley I don't feel like there are any clear best songs on the album because they are all of high standard. One thing that is very noticable on this album is that the band are using more keyboard/piano in their songs and of course the guitars are at lightening speed along with the drums and bass. My favourite tracks off the album are probably :- Above the Winter Moonlight, Once In A Lifetime, Dawn Over A New World and Japan bonus track Cry Of the Brave.
on 1 February 2005
Speed, Melodic, Powerful in every department. One of the best Albums I have recently purchased in 2004. But then after 1st album Valley of the Damned I didn't expect anything else. They've delivered again.