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 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 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 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.
Ok, I knew DragonForce were good instrumentalists. I always suspected they had a really good album in them. The first album was top quality fist pumping ultra-speed power metal, the second album was more of the same but over-produced, and (in my opinion)slightly flat sounding. But this....
I have never heard the equal of this album. I mean, there are albums that are musically more experimental, or better on a more serious level. But if you're listening to DragonForce expecting "serious" music, there's something wrong with you. What I mean is, this is far and away the best DragonForce record. Also, it's possibly the most gobsmackingly ridiculous display of absloute feel-good speed-metal fist-pumping dragon-slaying warp-speed fret-melting HEAVY BLOODY METAL I've ever heard.
Let me put this in context. I want dark progressive musical genius, I'll listen to Opeth or Katatonia. Brutality? Nile. Melodic death? In Flames. But if I want the musical equlivialent of bungee jumping off a helicopter into a pit of rabid crocodiles, I'll listen to this, purely for the adrenaline rush. I bet Steve Irwin LOVES this record....
I've never heard a record played with as much vitality, energy, enthusiasm and downright FUN as this. DragonForce know they're silly, and they don't care. Not one bit. They love it. And my god, is it infectious! I saw them play at Camden Barfly a few months before this album got released, and there were people with plastic swords and plastic viking helmets! And they were loving it almost as much as the band were. Anyone complaining about cheesy lyrics is TOTALLY missing the point.
I've fallen totally in love with DragonForce on the strength of this album. It rules. If there's any justice, DragonForce will drag Power Metal out of it's niche, rub it triumphantly in the face of the mainstream, and demonstrate how much fun this type of music should be, and how stupid Trivium look after this album.
This is how it should be done. Buy this! Then check out Sonata Arctica, Hammerfall, Stratovarius and Kamelot.
DRAGONFORCE are probably the most unique band in British Metal. The metal culture in the UK has excluded power metal from its ranks for a long time now and it seemed like a miracle was needed for this to change. Finally it seems like this miracle has arrived....
With a massive cult following in the UK and Japan, its now only a matter of time before these boys explode in European and become ranked with the genre's elite (eg. EDGUY/STRATOVARIUS/HELLOWEEN). New album 'Inhuman Rampage' and a tour opening for the aforementioned EDGUY should go a long way to achieving this goal (note : DRAGONFORCE's huge UK popularity is such that EDGUY are the support act in the UK!)
'Inhuman Rampage' is unleashed across the world on 9th January 2006. It follows the bands successful sophomore release, 2004's 'Sonic Firestorm'.
In much the same style as it's predessor, the new album speeds its way through full-throttle melodic metal that simply out-speeds all other bands you care to imagine. It must be said that this won't be to everyones liking, the speed sometimes is a little hard to take.
In the past I've heard STRATOVARIUS described as IRON MAIDEN on speed.. Well, let me warn you, DRAGONFROCE are more like STRATOVARIUS on speed!!
For me DRAGONFORCE's greatest strength is their virtuoso lead guitarist Herman Li. His work on the album is absolutely scintillating and if you're into your guitarists then this album is a must!
So, while this album fails to set any new standards, it is an interesting listen if somewhat difficult at times to take in (due to the sheer speed).
Download the sample track, album opener 'Through the Fire and Flames' from the band's official website. If you like this, then I'm damn sure you'll love the rest of the album!
Keep up the good work!
on 24 August 2006
Having stumbled across Stratovarius a few weeks ago and enjoyed their work, I somehow found my way to Dragonforce on the Web and purchased "Sonic Firestorm" on spec. I have since acquired "Valley of the Damned" and now "Inhuman Rampage". Based on these three albums, I think I will stop there. Unless the lads decide to develop their sound and ideas, I doubt I will buy a fourth album.
Now, don't get me wrong. I agree with all the reviews that hail Dragonforce as high-calibre musicians, and I have enjoyed each album. They are rip-roaring OTT fun. These guys obviously enjoy themselves. However, despite claims to the contrary, I do find that if you listen to the albums over a period of a few days, they tend to merge into one very similar amalgam. Each is good in its own right, but aside from a few tweaks and experiments with sound and improved production, I don't think they have journeyed particularly far since 2003 (despite the mountains they have climbed, seas they have crossed and plains of the dead they have traversed!)
My favourite of the three albums is "Sonic Firestorm" - my first purchase - and I was (rightly or wrongly, according to your standpoint) disappointed that "Inhuman Rampage" has not really developed much further (although the production and sound balance has improved somewhat since the first album).
Read some of the other reviews for a more detailed evaluation of the technical merits, etc, of the musicians and comparisons with other similar groups (I do like the thought of Dragonforce as being 'Stratovarius on speed') and albums. But if you like cheesy sword and sorcery themes, soaring lyrics, great anthemic tunes and highly-accomplished guitar work set to a rhythm that should be made illegal to play while driving, this album will be a good buy. Better yet, buy "Sonic Firestorm".
So, although I was tempted to give "Inhuman Rampage" a rating of 3 based on hearing the previous two albums, I think it only fair to give 4 because it stands up well enough on its own.
Oh, a message for some of you out there: It ain't serious - turn it up, relax, smile and have fun!
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 2 April 2006
Ignore all this "ooh, it's cliched, it's too serious, it's not as good as xxxx album" nonsense. I'd not heard anything from Dragonforce before, so i take this CD on it's own merits and, to be honest, it's incredible.
Think mid-late 80's. Think early Helloween (when they were good) with Yngwie Malmsteem playing both guitars, some kind of manic robot on drums and a bloke with a dodgy grasp of the English language writing lyrics & doing vocals. Grunge spoilt our fun but bands like the resurgent Maiden & Dragonforce are making the world a better place again.
To be honest, in this day & age it's a recipe for disaster. But this is truly awesome. Forget the cliches, forget nu-metal, emo and god knows whatever fad has come & gone over recent years, this is classic power/speed metal.
The virtuosity of all the musicians on this album cannot be overstated. The twin lead guitars are stunning (major league shredding), the rhythm section is like a runaway train (the drummer makes Animal from the Muppets sound like a muppet from Coldplay). The guitars shred like you've not heard for years, there's a shredding bass solo and even a shredding keyboard solo, if such a thing exists.
It's hard to pick highlights because every track is quite magnificent. And also these are real songs, 7-8 minutes long. The guitar solos are sensational.
Personal faves are "Through The Fire And Flames", "Storming The Burning Fields", Operation Ground And Pound", "Cry For Eternity", "Flame Of Youth" and "Trail Of Broken Hearts".
I'll admit that the track titles and the lyrics are dodgy, but somehow they're right for the music and, after the first listen, you really don't care.
It's 100 miles an hour throughout but is finished by a ballad (even that has got shredding) which allows you to regain control of your senses after the sonic battering you've just received.
I think I've made my point. If you love classic power/speed metal and are sick of the whining new kids on the block, you will love this with a vengeance.
JUST BUY IT!!!!! Guaranteed to be your favourite album of the year.
on 15 July 2007
This album should not work. the guitars are about as fast as could be played. And the titles Inhuman part must refer to the drummer who really shouldn't be able to play so quickly. couple that with vocals that whilst sung fast are understandable (no death grunts here) and you have an album that happens to be one of the greatest metal albums of all time. I've yet to see them live but if they can reproduce this on stage, it will be one hell of a gig.
One piece of advice to the drummer thouigh is that if he is a member of a gym then he is wasting his money because to play like this he has to be one of the fittest men in rock.
If you don't already own a copy of this, as yourself why not. Improve your ollection today and buy this album