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Dragonforce - Inhuman Rampage - 45%

orionmetalhead, September 3rd, 2008

Unlike "Valley of the Damned" which boasted excellent songwriting and a pure power metal foundation, "Inhuman Rampage" has rendered Dragonforce's excellent debut sheer luck. The problem with "Inhuman Rampage" is the myriad and unnecessary studio effects, and gimmicky tricks. Almost every song has a section that makes little if any sense in the grand scheme of the song. For instance, opening track and, thanks to Guitar Hero, every wide eyed guitar-hero fan's favorite song, could have been on par with a song such as Disciples of Babylon yet amidst all the excellent material exists a ton of needless crap. Both the beginning and end of the song are awful - beginning due to what is clearly studio created drum-placement and the end is longer than the closing to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Revolution Deathsquad, the following song, starts out with what sounds like a spaceship flying overhead and sprinkling fairy dust upon the world. Between each fragment and riff there is a multitude of guitar squeals and frills. Totally neglecting the fact that at two points ZP sounds like Cher, his vocals sound forced and even though he does do a second rate version of Tobias Sammet (Edguy) he doesn't seem to portray an ounce of fun such as he did on the debut album. The elongated solo section almost totally destroys the second half of the song but instead of relying entirely on wankery, they instead opt for the most un-metal of song destroyers - the Cher voice - again. The riff three minutes and change into the song (shortly after the first Cherism) flows awkwardly and showcases nothing but that Li and Totman can write a groove riff.

Storming The Burning Fields and Body Breakdown are totally forgettable. Probably because they are composed of the same terrible Ideas. Body Breakdown does sport some really questionable verse composition with random keyboard effects and singing that would make George Michael stand at attention. I am still concerned whether the guitar noodles that exist in these songs are pure unadulterated "studio dares." I can imagine Totman and Li sitting together in the studio - possibly in each other's laps - and Herman daring Totman to make a noise that sounds like an alien spaceship decorated by the Queer Eye guy flying into space. Also, I don't think that bassist Frédéric Leclercq is giving enough space to play. I would claim he is wasting his obvious talent being hidden behind the obvious guitar duo's need for spotlight.

Mentioning the other songs is really not too necessary. Operation Ground and Pound is long... too long. Although it would have the album's best intro if there were no keyboards, it becomes more of the same when the song starts - long drawn out solos and noodling. And what the hell is that slow, low chug riff with the keyboard solo? Cry For Eternity is also too long. Also, repetitive. A lot of the same melodies and harmonies, just not a lot of stand out moments for me. I continue to feel, throughout this album that the most memorable moments are the moments that are really not even part of the song. The Pac Man noise, the slap bass section... etc. Thats not a good thing. The Flame of Youth is simply the topping on the cake. It sounds like every other song, every other section, constant whammy-pinch harmonic experimentation, more alien saucer espionage. The placement of Trail of Broken Hearts is terrible. It should be in the middle to break up the tracks.

The album is very tiring to the ears. There is little variance in tempos, to much gimmicky effect noises and guitar lead work that in beneficial in no way. I'm left feeling that Dragonforce are now at a point in their career where they want to be known not as a good band but the band that is better than Dream Theater. I rarely say this, but Dream Theater is better. Dragonforce wont ever be better if they keep writing songs with little individuality and too much blatant masturbation.