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While DragonForce may make me really angry these days, they were actually one of the bands to get me into metal with the opening track of this album "My Spirit Will Go On" (more on this song later). And this album was one I looked forward to getting for a long, long time. And I did eventually, and while my tastes have long since matured from the naive metalhead I was back then, this album still has some fun fuckin' songs on it.
The gimmick with DragonForce is how fast and energetic they are. Seriously, on most of these songs, it's Mach V speed all the way through. Sure, they use computers to speed up their solos and add more riffs, and sure, ZP Theart's voice is remniscent of an 80s hair band singer at times. And yes, their lyrics are horribly cheesy and generic, almost a satire of the Power Metal genre as a whole. But hell, this is addictive. They're so simple and fun, catchy and glorious, that you can't help but love this album. They're practically the Manowar of Power Metal, in a sense.
"My Spirit Will Go On", "Fury of the Storm", and "Fields of Despair" are all uptempo power metal speed crackers with great choruses and memorable riffs. The opening keyboards of the first track still get me fired up today, nearly 2 years after I discovered the band. The token ballad "Dawn Over A New World" is passable, but not stellar. "Above the Winter Moonlight" and "Prepare For War" are both average Power Metal tunes, and I like them enough, although they're not my favorites. "Soldiers of the Wasteland" is the best song DragonForce ever wrote, with a galloping Iron Maiden-ish riff and a more midpaced style to it. Hey, they can do something else after all! "Once in a Lifetime" and "Cry of the Brave" are both stunning Power Metal anthems with great choruses, couldn't get these out of my head for weeks when I first heard em.
This album does wear thin after a while, and it's certainly not a masterpiece in any means. It's cheesy and the singer really does sound like an 80s Glam singer for some parts of the record. This album has flaws, but hell, it's the kind of cheesy that makes you proud to be a metal fan, in the way that Manowar do (don't think DragonForce have much in common with Manowar musically, because there's not really many comparisons there...). Recommended to people who don't have to take their music seriously. Plus, without this album, I might not be the same metal fan I am today, despite how I realize the flaws in it now. Put this in for a big, healthy helping of true metal mozzerella and laugh and headbang along with these goofballs.