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Inhumane rubbish - 30%

naverhtrad, March 15th, 2011

Okay, in principle I’m of two minds or more about Dragonforce. I genuinely appreciate power metal coming from Britain; perhaps because they are relatively scarce, I generally find power metal acts from the UK are often more adventurous than those from the continent (see my reviews for Pythia and Liquid Sky). I’m not going to be a typical detractor and say that everything about them sucks; they’ve obviously got some highly talented musicians on board. Obviously Li Kangmin can handle a guitar. But the major problem with Dragonforce is that they take all of this talent and they use it for pure evil. And I’m not talking the good kind of evil; I’m talking evil evil, like pop punk.

First of all and most obviously, they play the same song over and over. They ride the same predictable progressions at pretty much the same tempo with little variation; they play so fast that the melody is nearly indistinguishable; and they do this for seven or eight minutes at a stretch. (There’s a reason why I have a growing appreciation for thrash, by the way; for the most part, they keep their songs short and punchy!) It is all very technically impressive, very well-produced and well-polished, but after about two or three minutes I glance at the ‘time remaining’ metre on my CD player and think, ‘what the fuck, people? You’re not even halfway done even though you’re just going to be doing the same thing over and over?’ Secondly, I realise they’re deliberately attempting to sound like the soundtrack to an 8-bit Nintendo game from the late 1980’s, but that is NOT a good thing! The music does not allow itself any opportunity to slow down and breathe – with very few exceptions (such as the opening and closing sections of ‘Operation Ground and Pound’). But really, once you’ve listened to ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ you’ve pretty much listened to probably 90% of what Dragonforce is capable of on Inhuman Rampage.

Thirdly, as a choral vocalist myself, I have to hate on the vocals just a little bit. Alright, maybe more than just a little bit – they are more than deserving of a Lewis Black-style nervous breakdown rant. ZP – come on, man! It’s bad enough that you’re going all-in on the annoying Alvin and the Chipmunks gimmick complete with the tremolo wailing, but then – seriously – you have to go and use fucking pitch correction? Dick move, dude. Auto-Tune is for bands with shit singers like Linkin Park (don’t get me started on ‘New Divide’!) and the kind of bad R&B that plays non-stop on pop-rock radio nowadays. If you can sing, maybe you should try SINGING for a change, damn it! Vocals like this make baby Jesus cry and the almighty Ronnie James Dio spin around in his grave.

Actually, all of the music on this album is over-dubbed, over-synthesised, over-produced; everything that Dragonforce does, seems to be done merely for technical effect, at the expense of anything resembling authentic emotion. And, philosophically speaking, the very last things a metal band should sacrifice are emotion and authenticity. I take it as an accomplishment that I could summon the patience to listen to this album twice through for this review; however, it is not an accomplishment I would recommend any readers of my review to repeat.

6 / 20