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Flashy Bollocks - 35%

Vlachos, March 25th, 2007

This band is just too talented for its own good. DragonForce aren’t unlikable despite their talent, but because of it. Ideally, good music consists of the input of ideas and songwriting to form the basis of an album, and the talent of musicians and tunefulness thereof to reflect the songwriting. Even sub par musicians can get away with being mediocre as long as the heart and soul of their music, the lyrics and writing, are sufficient.

I’m sure you agree with that bullshit, anyway. Nobody in their right mind would claim that Band X is their favourite had they not even released any EPs, albums or even demos, based solely on the band members’ own merits.

Enter DragonForce. They play fast; they have lots of flashy solos in their songs; they play fast… wait, have I already mentioned that? Well, that’s as far as it goes with DragonForce. These are the only attributes which could be construed as pros by a DF fan, unless your idea of a good band is one in which some faggot rhymes fire and desire in every song. Speaking of which, the vocalist could very well be the guy that sung the Pokemon theme song.

And that’s all this band is, really. They’re fast and flashy, with very little substance. One of the common complaints about this album and band in general is that every song, one after the other, sounds the same. In one respect, I disagree with this sentiment; the songs differentiate quite a bit on this album, admittedly while keeping the flow of lyrical and musical themes throughout. And besides, other bands such as Motörhead sound virtually the same in every other song; it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand (this pertains to their lack of differentiation in song writing) the ideals behind all the flashy bullshit are practically identical. If you’ve heard one DragonForce song, you’ve heard them all. Not because every song is fast, flashy and has a lot of blistering solos, but because they’ve all culminated from the fact that all the band writes about is about pixies and elves, or whatever they’re singing about. As far as the actual music goes, it’s full of a mish mash of half baked ideas and themes that don’t really go anywhere.

Listen to Through the Fire and Flames. It’s not a bad song. It really isn’t (despite the opening twenty seconds, which sounds like a cross between a game of Dungeons & Dragons and Yu Gi Oh. No, really, it sounds like that. That’s a lot of gay in just twenty seconds). The riffs are cacophonous and are enjoyable if you don’t mind the overwhelming levels of floweriness. If you feel much more fondly about this than I do, you could argue that DF have taken songs like ‘Caught Somewhere in Time’ and have taken them to their extreme, musically. But it all comes back to the fact that unless all you care about is ‘musical masturbation’, DragonForce haven’t done anything to expand the Power Metal genre. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the first track from this album is bad, but after the second or third track you’ll realize that beneath all the solos, riffs and tasteless overuse of keyboards and vocal effects, nothing has changed since. Besides, it could only go down from there since Through the Fire and Flames is the best, if not one of the better tracks on Inhuman Rampage.

This is a recommendation to avoid unless you like flowery Power Metal and don’t mind listening to flashy guitar wankery without any substance. In fact, that’s why it gets any points at all: because what it aims to do something in particular, and does it pretty well. But if you’re like me, do you really give a shit about that?