on 8 August 2007
I was never a metaller when I was growing up in the 1980s. All my friends were into Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar and so on, but yet I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. Said friends went far beyond the call of duty to get me to understand why True Metal was a concept worth fighting for. And they failed miserably. I guess I just wasn't ready or receptive enough to the idea. No matter. Even if it has taken me over twenty years to fully appreciate the Majesty Of Rock and the Mystery Of Roll, I get it now thanks to Dragonforce.
To the uninitiated, the Dragonforce experience will seem daunting. Take a nice, well scrubbed classic rock song with a proper tune and a chorus even the most tone deaf of milkmen could whistle. The kind of tune that would charm the panties off your Fleetwood Mac loving mother and make your dad-rock father suspicious that someone has been performing immoral acts with his Dire Straits CDs. Make sure that the lyrics are meaningless AD&D themed twaddle that Thrudd The Barbarian (yet alone Conan) would dismiss as hackneyed. Get the bastard son of Ronnie James Dio to sing them, ensuring that every lyrical clanger is crystal clear to even the most casual of listeners. Add two guitarists and a keyboardist incapable of playing a simple riff without tweedle-deeing all over it at break-neck speed and alarming precision. Then get a drummer who would certainly fail an Olympic drug test to drum as fast as (in)humanly possible over the resulting confusion. And there might be a bassist there too. Perhaps. Play said song for six or seven minutes at 78rpm with a truck driver gear change for the last chorus, repeat to fade.
None of this should work. These ingredients should result in an unlistenable mess, but somehow they don't. Admittedly the first time you hear Inhuman Rampage you may beg to differ, but give it time. By the third or fourth listen, the solos will start to show their nuances and the drumming, while frenetic, starts to appear, well, oddly sensible. Of course Mr Drummer needs to blast beat for six minutes continuously! How else could he play? By the sixth or seventh listen, it's much, much too late. You see, Dragonforce have three not so secret musical weapons in their armoury.
One, they fully understand the evil concept of earworms. If you make a tune catchy enough the poor unfortunate listener will wander around all day with your tune playing on an infernal internal loop. Given what Dragonforce sound like, that's no mean achievement.
Two, everything sounds bland, boring and slow after Dragonforce. I listen to music on my MP3 player on shuffle and believe me, Dragonforce in the middle of my usual mix of indie, alternative and electronica is the aural equivalent of a pneumatic drill in the nads.
Three - Dragonforce evidently love what they do and their enthusiasm draws in and captivates the listener. Every twiddle, every bomp and every keyboardy flourish has been lovingly crafted, cogitated over, considered and executed with evident care for detail. Their music may be fast to the point of parody, the lyrics stupidly banal tripe and I doubt very much they were wearing trousers when performing these solos, but goddam it, these guys are good. You need one Dragonforce album in your life, so you might as well choose this one. That or Sonic Firestorm.
Finally, a word of warning. Dragonforce are something to be sampled in small doses - a bit like fine Belgian dark chocolate. Listen to 'Operation Pound And Ground' or 'Cry For Eternity' in isolation and afterwards you'll feel ready to knock seven shades of poo out of any marauding orcs that may be lurking outside your suburban semi. Listen to the whole album in one sitting and you'll find yourself cowering like a sissy girl while six hairy men laugh at your inability to handle True Metal.
And don't drive listening to this stuff. Just don't.
on 7 April 2006
Dragonforce are an excellent band, and Inhuman Rampage is an excellent album, but there just seems to be a little something lacking as opposed to their previous albums; Valley of the Damned and Sonic Firestorm.
Inhuman Rampage, while although not Dragonforce's best work, is helping to evolve their sound to the very next level. Throughout the entire disk you will hear a lot of different, experimental sounds, with the use of keyboards becoming even more techno-ish.
We begin this journey with the mindblowing "Through the Fire and Flames," which in my opinion, is one of the top three Dragonforce songs period. Of course, this will differ from person to person, but Through the Fire and Flames is a classic opener to a just as classic album.
Next we move on to the almost Death Metal-like Revolution Deathsquad. This is also an excellent track, and it is followed up by just as brilliant songs until we come to the almost electric Operation Ground and Pound. As that song begins to fade, we are hit with the thrashing guitars of Body Breakdown. These tracks all hold that same passion we have seen in previous Dragonforce tracks.
The album, although very similiar, is not at all the same as some people mention. Okay, their overall sound sticks to that same Extreme Power Metal that they label themselves as, but every note the shocking young guitar duo of Herman Li and Sam Totam play adds a different sound to the already heavy backing.
After getting through most of the album without being admitted into the emergency room, we come to one of the greatest finishes to an album that Dragonforce could produce; Trail of Broken Hearts. A complete change from the rest of the album, and a change from the other two albums, this song is just what you need to end the ultimate progressive Dragonforce album.
While this is nowhere near as good in terms of quality as Valley of the Damned or Sonic Firestorm, it is amazing for what it is; the next step in evolving Dragonforce's sound. I can never get tired of sitting in awe at the sheer talents of every member in the band, and I know for sure when the chance arises, I will be seeing them live, and I will be moshing my heart out to these men; the new generation of metal.
on 31 January 2006
Now on a major label, The Boys are back with their third offering to the world of Power Metal, and it's not hard to see why they are experiencing continued success and admiration from their fans.
Every song is an epic in itself, each telling it's own story. Upon pressing play on your CD player you will be transported to a land of fantasy where you will get lost in Dragonforce's world. With Theart's empowering vocals and Li's ungodly shredding you will undoubtedly be awestruck by this album. My favourite tracks are Through the Fire and Flames and Operation ground and Pound, although every track makes you want to sing along and play (bad) air guitar! After buying Inhuman Rampage I suggest you have Sonic Firestorm and The Valley of the Damned close to hand so you can feel the full metal assault as it should be.
What makes Dragonforce extra special is that we can call them our own, they are bringing the power of Europe into the UK - and about time too! It's time for the metal to get back on top - and as long as Dragonforce continue to produce metal anthems such as these - on top is where metal will stay!
on 14 September 2006
I bought the CD immediately after seeing their video on the US headbangers ball . The meet all the pre-requisites for a band that I like, in no particular order:
Long Hair. Check. Hate the bands with shaved heads or corporate haircuts. It's metal. You need long hair. Period.
Great vocals. Check. I can understand them and he has great range. No gargling with broken glass and clorox while growling an unintelligible mess. Most bands now sound like cats trying to clear a hairball for 4 minutes.
Fast guitars. Check.Check. In spades.
Interesting lyrics. Check. Okay, I'm 38 but I still like the sword and sorcery stuff anyway. (I must admit I do own some Manowar CDs, Nightfall in Middle Earth is one of my fave Blind Guardian disks).
Great hooks. Check. Lots of them on this record.
In summary, yes, like any metal group with one singer you are going to start to sound alike after a couple albums. This is my first one from them, so I am not bored yet. I've listed to it about half a dozen times now over the last few days and I still like it. My 11 year old son also likes it, can't say if that is a good or bad thing.
Dragonforce is coming to Detroit in 10 days, I plan to be in the front row!
on 12 January 2006
This is Dragonforce's third album to date, and easily the greatest. Their first creation, Valley Of The Damned combined a lot of power, speed, and even a little prog metal with plenty of flowing melodies creating Dragonforce’s signature sound. The metal community of the United Kingdom breathed a sigh of relief as Dragonforce (almost solely) revived Britain’s power metal scene with this staggering debut.
Next came Sonic Firestorm, a somewhat similar formula to Valley of the Damned. But this time the group managed to launch the tempo of each relentless song up into the insane heights which make Dragonforce unique. It combines melodic, lightning fast guitar work with intensely energetic rhythms provided mainly by Dave’s unstoppable double-bass skills.
And now, they've done it again. Inhuman Rampage has annihilated all expectations, crossing all the boundaries and bench-marks set by legends such as Rhapsody and Helloween. I would even go as far to say this album has revolutionized- perhaps even redefined power metal. It would be impossible to pin-point the climax to this album due to the relentlessness of each and every song, but the one which really stood out to me was Body Breakdown. Memorable choruses and furious riffs from beginning to end, Dragonforce are really showing their potential. It's been a long time since metal has seen a guitar duo as spectacular as Sam Totman and Herman Li. Yes, they're fast as fuck, but this isn't shredding for the sake of it. They really know their way around a fret board and don't hesitate to show it off. Don't believe me? The 19 alternate solos on the first two tracks alone say it all. Vadim, the groups keyboardist has been given a chance to show off too, and does not disappoint. ZP Theart, vocalist and source of the groups lyrical power maintains his notorious energy and uplifting spirit throughout. Overall, each member is an incredible musician and deserves immense recognition for this creation.
You really must buy this album to understand quite how energetic, fast and original Dragonforce have become. With Inhuman Rampage they have practically created their own genre of metal! But this isn't just one for the Metalheads. I think many people will enjoy their unique, experimental sound. Hearing is believing!!
on 3 February 2006
Oh holy mother of pearl is this good.
I've always been a fan of power metal like this. Long screaming vocals and guitars just rub me the right way. I'm also a fan of individuals such a Yngwie Malmsteen and Michaelangelo for their sheer technical brilliance with the instrument, as well as the heavy as hell riffs of the ilk of Pantera, Metallica, Trivium, Killswitch Engage etc.
I had never thought to listen to Dragonforce, though I had heard of them, and i stumbled accross Through Fire and Flames on TV and it blew my socks off. Once the song had ended i looked down and I saw an actual puddle of dribble! Disgusting as that is, it demonstrates how much it blew me away. Herman Li and Sam Totman just work so well together, and either would easily rival the likes of Malmsteen and Michaelangelo in a guitar contest.
In one word: WOW. Just go and bloody buy it...
on 20 January 2006
Ok before I heard this album I had listened to a bit of Dragonforce before, very talented stuff but nohting special in my opinion. This album has changed my view completely - well not totally, I still think they're talented, but WOW this is something special!
THROUGH THE FIRE AND FLAMES: This is the first single and it kicks off straight into blinding guitarwork. You'd think you would find only a couple of parts like this throughout the CD, but no, it's almost constant! Vocals are a lil cheesy, but it's power metal and I LOVE IT! Can just see this live with a mass crowd crooning along...magical! The drumming also creates a very kl galloping beat, which along with the guitars gives an upbeat feel to the song, something which I admire power metal for compared to the mostly depressing rest of the genre. You want videogame sounds in the middle of solos? You got it! 10/10
REVOLUTION DEATHSQUAD: The superquick tempo from the previous song is sustained on this song, with credit for this going to the consistent pace of the drumming. More videogame sounds too! Lyrics are incredibly epic - that is Lord of the Rings stylee and in the vein of other bands such as 3 Inches of Blood - something which is actually a great change from the norm. I just can't get over HOW good these solos really are, they are delivered at a breakneck speed and they actually work! Singing that high must hurt certain areas........ 8/10
STORMING THE BURNING FIELDS: Lighting the match at the beginning of the song is incredibly fitting, because this tune hits you in the face like a bomb exploding! Pure noise and speed! Drumming is intense, really well done. My favourite chorus so far, but tbh they are all brilliant and will be so much fun to sing along to at gigs! Strange sounds fill this song, many odd things must have been done to these guitars to produce such aural strangeness. AND, if you think it couldn't get any cheesier, there is a "oh-oh-oh" singalong with clapping beat to boot! Perfect. 8/10
OPERATION GROUND AND POUND: Opening guitar riff sounds kind of oriental, which is really cool! Keyboards definitely make this more prominent, a nice new direction not taken by the band in anything I've heard by them before. Drumming is fantastic as usual. It all gets serious for a while half way through, where crunching guitars start pounding the ears (like the title suggests!), but these soon give way to the typical Dragonforce sound. Nice keychange towards the end too, a very well structured song overall. 9/10
BODY BREAKDOWN: Drumming here is much slower at first, leading to a kind of floating feeling, which disappears suddenly into an onslaught of double-bass kicks. Verse includes this keyboard sound which makes it sound like a dream (almost like Rainbow Road from Mario Kart on N64!). Pretty similar formula to their other tracks, but there is something different here too, an odd bridge part which comes out of nowhere! Insane tapping solo per usual is included. Bass joins in a solo with some juicy slapping, really adds to the talented axemen's work! I just love the cheesiness! 9/10
CRY FOR ETERNITY: Intro is very epic, fast solo over military-style guitars is very nice. The intros on this album are lovely for each song, then they all kick into an insanely fast beat after a short period. The chorus reminds me a lot of Babylon by Edguy, who these guys sound VERY similar to and also are touring with next month. Bass solo AND staccato guitar solo in one song? It just gets better and better! This is personally my favourite guitar solo on the album as it incorporates an obscene amount of finger-tapping, never a bad thing imo! 10/10
FLAME OF YOUTH: The solo vocal parts on this are so much fun to hear, I can imagine them live getting an incredible ovation from the crowd. Most "emotional" chorus on the album imo, but is it really THAT emotional? No, this album isn't about emotions; it's about fun, epic feeling and tonnes of guitars. Solo here has a sort of Egyptian feel for a while, but then it just goes off into what I now called Dragonland, a place where the guitar rules all and the other instruments must try their best to follow it! Whatever occurs onstage or in the studio, it sounds amazing! 8/10
TRIAL OF BROKEN HEARTS: A ballad...and a cheesy one at that! Keyboards emphasising strings, harpsichord sound and double-kicks; this is pure chedder. The vocalist is really talented, a fact that normally is drowned by the guitars taking songs over, but this tune allows the listener to really see his skill. A calm way to end the otherwise hectic album. Still have to include a solo tho... 9/10
Overall this album has pretty much everything: breakneck drumming, bass solos, guitar solos of every shape and size, ballads, headbanging tunes, dancing tunes, moshing tunes and cheesy vocals. A brilliant power-metal offering that has won themself a big fan in me and I'm sure will win anyone who listens to the album fully.
on 20 April 2007
My mate said i was crazy to buy the re-release of the album but by far was not. As a devoted fan for thee mighty dragonforce it was an album not gona be missed in my cd/dvd collection!
With extras such as behind teh scenes and music videos allows you to expereince the greatneseses of their talents and their extretmly entertaining antics that goes on on tour! Ad well as the original racks you get a bonus track whihc is almighty impressive "Lost Souls In Endless Times.
This track alogn with my personal faves "through the fire adn teh flames and "operation ground and pound" the album is well worth purchasing!! if you arent fully into dragonforce you wont find yourself not laughing at the rockunmentary and is definatly worth buying. I still laugh at soem of teh antics that they get up to!
Ive recommended this cd re-release as a five star rating beause its outstanding. If you havent seen dragonfore live yet then buy a ticket and go see them its extremely worrh it! and will not be disappointed!!!
on 17 May 2006
This album is one of the most inovative albums of our times. There is absolutley no compromise for god given musical ability and this album proves it. From the first lick of Through the Fire and the Flames to the end of Trail of Broken Hearts this album is pure metal genius
Dragonforce are a band that are just starting to make it on the metal scene having already devised a strong fan base with their previous albums.
Herman Li is perhaps the most interesting talent to emerge on guitar in many years and his craft can only mature, as proved in the musical interlude of the first track.
I for one am excited about Dragonforce and I'm sure this is just the beginning for this band. Pure talent, pure sound, pure metal!
on 12 January 2006
Inhuman Rampage.. well. Where to start with it. Firstly, it's not as good as Sonic Firestorm. It's not as good as Valley of the Damned either, but don't let that put you off. It IS good. It takes a while to get into however. The first two albums are instantly listenable, while Inhuman Rampage is a lot more extreme, in terms of speed and of keyboards. Yes, keyboards.
DragonForce are known for the twin leads of Herman Li and Sam Totman, both excellent guitarists in themselves, but (whilst being a hit with the ladies - trust me on this) people seem to leave out keyboardist/pianist Vadim Pruzhanov. He has really come into his own on this album, having written many of the songs and helping to produce the album.
As far as the music goes, there's not a whole world of difference between this album and the previous two. Yes, it's faster, yes there are more keyboards. The general premise of the songs - the themes are the same, the sound is pretty much the same, but as they say, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. DragonForce are EXTREMELY talented at what they do, and I haven't even mentioned Dave or ZP. Both are on top form on this album. Dave Mackintosh is an astoundingly good drummer, and ZP.. well, DragonForce wouldn't be DragonForce if it wasn't for ZP Theart's glass-shatteringly high vocals.
In all, an album well worth getting. If you liked the first two, chances are you'll love this.