Top critical review
on 23 September 2015
With the obvious talent and potential to become one of the greatest power metal bands of all time, the thing that makes DragonForce stand out the most is also the thing that annoys me about them. They’re too fast.
‘Valley of the Damned’ has a very promising start, with the title track producing some very nice riffs, accompanied by some incredibly catchy vocals, however, this is as good as it gets, as halfway through the song the band, in particular, guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li, decide to disregard any logical tune and just shred away. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the formula for all of their songs.
With bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X being top influences of mine, it’s clear that shredding isn’t a problem for me. What bothers me when DragonForce start wailing away, is that it’s so fast and flashy that there is no distinguishable melody. Every solo, and I mean EVERY solo, sounds exactly the same, and by that I mean a flurry of notes where the main focus is flashy acrobatics over actual substance. As a result, it's hard to really care once they get started.
It’s a shame, because this band has a lot of potential, and in the very few cases when they do slow down their music is awesome. Songs like ‘Valley of the Damned’ and ‘Disciples of Babylon’ have some really kickass moments and memoable vocal melodies, but then descend into the standard DragonForce routine of ruining a perfectly good song with stupidly fast solos that lack any sense of musicality.
As a fan of shred guitar playing, it saddens me to say this, but in the case with this band, ‘speed kills’.