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Talent, but that's about it. - 50%

MutatisMutandis, August 20th, 2006

If there's one thing I've noticed throughout my Dragonforce excursions, it's that no matter how much of an impact the album leaves on me at first, I never have the urge to revisit any track in particular, let alone the whole album. I never really understood where these feelings came from, though, as I always felt that valiant explosion of textured melody would warrant tons of extra sessions... With the mid point of 2006 upon me, though, I think I can finally take a stab at what permeates so pungently.

It's fortunate that the same same statement cannot be said for this year's offering, but unfortunately, that doesn't imply anything positive. As soon as the music began pumping into my ears, I immediately knew what I was in for - nostalgia, and bucketloads of it. For the first time, I was not impressed by a Dragonforce album, even at first sampling. To be fair, this album is a little bit better than their sophomore effort, Sonic Firestorm... sadly, that doesn't amount to anything, as the songs are all almost exactly the same in structure and delivery as the aforementioned release." Steve, you're not making any sense, you rank pile of blistering scuzz", you might be proclaiming aloud right about now.
My response: This album is a little catchier and doesn't grate on my nerves as much as Sonic Firestorm. Really, that's the only reason I called it better, so can it, you worthless cunt.

It's not really their lack of progression that bothers me, as if you look back, their are tons of bands that retained their base stylings throughout the years and rarely get bashed for it. Motorhead and Bolt Thrower come to mind, for example.
The one thing that bothers me (and makes these guys gradually become unlistenable) is the fact that every single track is incredibly similar to the last.
A typical Dragonforce song tends to be built somewhat like this:
1.) Fluttery keyboard intro
2.) Solid blasting riff with hints of wankery
3.) Verse
4.) Bridge
5.) Sub-chorus
6.) Exploding, nosebleed-inducingly shrill and melodic super chorus
7.) Refrain steps 3-6, alternate accordingly (ie sprinkle on some more keys)
8.) Sometimes completely forgettable, enormous two to three minute plus block of shredding and keyboard noodling
9.) Repeat sub-chorus
10.) Repeat exploding, nosebleed-inducingly shrill and melodic super chorus
It's very rare that they tread even an inch away from this pattern, and when they do, it usually turns out as lacking. The less generic DF song is usually gratifying at the end, but lacks any 'oomph' midway. It's sad when a more adventuresome song has me yearning for something more obvious.

It confuses me greatly to hear people call these guys prodegies of the genre, groundbreaking, and that they've "thrown down the gauntlet" for the entire Power Metal community to challenge. Dragonforce are doing nothing to that extent. They're doing what the Japanese do to American concepts; they're making it faster, more efficient, and much more polished. These guys are insane musicians. Definately some of the most talented I've come across in terms of shred and power, and they definately aren't humble about it, as they demonstrate in explosions of ridiculous speed and the already stated 2-3 minute blocks of sheer instrumental masturbation.

With that said, I return to the point. They may be incredible at what they do, but their music ends up being like a vintage globe. The beautiful, handcrafted surface represents the technical aspects (ie talent), but the inside is almost completely hollow, and would be nothing without the visual aid. I'm not saying Dragonforce write totally substanceless music, as their opening few numbers are usually really damn good, but really, because this is only the third piece in their discography, and they're already out of fresh ideas, I think it's safe to say we won't be getting to "groundbreaking" anytime soon.

To sum it up, if you've heard these guys last two efforts and loved them, this album won't change your mind in the slightest. It's admittedly decent, but I get bored watching reruns very easily. The standout tracks... nah, figure it out yourself. I'm out.