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Ear candy metal. - 70%

Empyreal, December 24th, 2010

This album is a lot like candy, in a lot of ways. You know how you can just sit there and eat candy all afternoon when you’re not paying attention, and then you feel guilty about it afterwards because you’re bloated as hell? It’s a real big tradeoff, and one that many people won’t be willing to undertake. But Dragonforce are basically the metal equivalent of eating candy – too much and you feel fat and lazy, but damn is it good in small doses. This is Twilight Dementia, the, uh, “live album.”

I put that last bit in quotes because this doesn’t even sound live, with the whole thing pro-tooled to oblivion and the crowd almost muted out entirely. It’s practically a Best Of compilation, for fuck’s sake. Marketing it as a live album is almost false advertising altogether. I have to laugh even thinking about the creative process that went into making this. What happened? I think this is how they think they always sound live, more than anything; like the microphone was inside Herman Li’s over-ego-infatuated head instead of outside at the show.

But aside from that, this really is a great sounding record, with lush guitars, melodious keys and soaring vocals. It’s not as overproduced as their last two studio albums by miles, and ZP’s voice is usually left alone, leaving a much rawer emotive quality than the studio albums usually have, vocal inconsistencies and all, and I like that. These songs are played well and are still fast, fun and furious. Is it plastic and gimmicky? Yes. But the hooks are ironclad and will stick with you for days, and the songs truly are really enjoyable from time to time. My favorites are probably “The Last Journey Home,” “Reasons to Live” and the inimitable classic “My Spirit Will Go On,” which is pretty much their best track ever. This is cheap and shallow and what have you, but I like it and will probably play some tracks off it every now and again. The people who hate this band will hate this, but it’s pretty much what everyone expected.