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It can be easily said that Dragonforce created a new style of metal. Their sugary lyrics and melodies along with fast solos and omnipresent double bass allow them to deliver some of the fastest (and happiest) music of all time. This album has nothing actually new to add: Dragonforce simply followed the formula created at Valley of The Damned, abused of their skills, corrected almost everything there was to correct and ended up creating a masterpiece.
Why is it constantly bashed by thousands of metalheads then? First of all, this band lives a mutual love story with the mainstream, something that is, at least, uncommon for heavy metal bands. More traditional headbangers tend to feel that they are above the mainstream. They look down at it, and simply ignore what it has to offer. I am not trying to say that being praised by the mainstream is a proof of quality; I am simply saying that it's not a proof of lack of quality. However, the source of most unconstructive criticism is surely their Inhuman Rampage tour, where basically everything went wrong. We all know what happened there: the guitars were basically invisible, and when they appeared, the timbres sucked. The terrible tour (that happened right at the moment when Dragonforce was starting to get attention) spread rumors that they were just speeding the songs up in the studio for showing off, and could not actually play at such fast speeds. Since showing off is one of the worst crimes you could possibly be accused of in the metalhead community most of the headbangers that believed the rumors were outraged.
Anyway, musically speaking, this album is amazing. The guitars are extremely technical, the drumming is very fast and the vocals are emotional and epic. "Good Lord, that is the point, this is fucking Valley of The Damned 2.0", some might say. But Valley of The Damned 2.0 was what the band was going for: just like Amon Amarth, Dragonforce created a formula, and will stick to it until they feel like it needs repair. There's nothing wrong with their first full-length, so an improved version of it, with a production that is cleaner than a baby's ass (in contrast to Valley of The Damned's muddy production) sounds nice.
This album starts out in the best way possible: with a keyboards introduction that slowly speeds up, until the guitars come and make everyone headbang like crazy. Being extremely fast, most of these songs have potential to turn a crowd into a mass of crazed headbangers when played live. The album doesn't slow down until the forth song: "Dawn Over a New World" is an epic (but somehow cheesy) power ballad that allows you to rest a little before the crazed headbanging comes back. It is also the only song that some people might not like: after four minutes, you can't help but feel like it is way too long, since the chorus is repeated A LOT of times and the melody barely has any variation.
The highlights in this album are Fields of Despair, Once in a Lifetime, My Spirit Will Go On and Soldiers of The Wasteland. Yes, there are many, and yes, they have basically the same tempos, the same energetic and epic vocals and the same crazed solos. Yet each song sounds different from the others here. The band's optimistic side, shown in all of their melodies and in most of their lyrics (Face our fear along the way our freedom will prevail/The crown and the shining light... Lol) helps the atmosphere of this album, which is so intense that it easily makes you imagine the scenes that are described.
By the way, being optimistic doesn't make the lyrics good. Actually, when I began to critically analyze them, I realized that they are actually kind of silly. But just like Amon Amarth's ones, Dragonforce's lyrics manage to be extremely emotional even if they are simple.
The best moments of this album are Once in a Lifetime's chorus, the Pokémon-like guitar introduction in "Above the Winter Moonlight" and My Spirit Will Go On's introduction. Actually, forget it. Although these moments are great, this album is amazing in basically everything. It doesn't have one bad song, one bad solo, one sucky melody (in Dawn Over a New World the melodies are repetitive, NOT sucky) and will make anyone headbang like crazy if given the chance to. Enough said, go get Sonic Firestorm.