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Fun, before you listen to an entire album - 60%

PorcupineOfDoom, October 5th, 2014

Okay, let's face the facts about this band: they're pretty much known as a band not to see live. That much is apparent on most (or all) of their albums, full of seemingly random chords that must be impossible to play live. However, what no one can deny is that their stuff is damn catchy. Who's never heard one of their songs and been captivated by the music?

As you might expect, the first time I (and probably anyone else my age) heard Dragonforce was on Guitar Hero. The music fits in perfectly there, and indeed they tended to be he hardest songs in the games on the guitar. Something I did notice about 'Fury of the Storm' though was that the song generally isn't that complex other than the intro and solo (which is admittedly about half of the song). There are a few hooks that are pretty complex, but everything else sounds quite straightforward. Drums are insanely fast, absolutely killing the drummer's arms no doubt. Vocals are... okay, I guess. They're not really my liking, but the only reason I would listen to this band is just because they're fun. I mean, no offense to the band but I wouldn't become a fan or anything.

So anyway, I looked into them a bit more and decided to listen to the full-length that the aforementioned track appears on. First of all, the length of all the songs are long. A bit too long for my liking. Even the shortest songs are over five minutes in length, which I feel maybe crosses over my limits of song length.

Pretty much every song is kind of the same as well. They all sound different, but they also sound the same (it's kind of hard to explain, but they all consist of the same kind of general formula). It's kind of like looking at twins that aren't identical; although they're not exact clones they are very similar. The only song that sounds slightly different is 'Dawn Over a New World', but even that follows a pretty similar formula. This aspect is probably their biggest failing, because if any of the bands that I listen to pumped out albums that every song was predictable on then I simply wouldn't like them as much as I do.

The best thing I can say about this album is that the solos are all epic. Sadly though, the entire album review isn't based on solos no matter how good they are, and even they tire after nearly an hour of listening. In fact, they begin to tire after a few songs. The sheer length kind of puts me off, probably because a solo shouldn't make up half of a song.

Pretty much what I'm saying here is that needs to be a delicate balance of guitars being epic and blazing all over the place and being all the same chugs over and over again. If it leans too far on either side then the band just falls out of the zone that I can listen to them in. Dragonforce is fun, but I think that maybe if they aim to be taken seriously by most of the metal community they need to calm it down a little and rethink their formula for songs (also guys, the song length is really a bit of a problem. They don't need to be that long). However, for entertaining me for a bit I think they do deserve a decent score, so maybe about 60% is fair. It's not that it's bad, it's just that I can't take them too seriously.

Dragonforce at their riffiest - 89%

Jophelerx, May 3rd, 2014

After the overwhelming success of the debut album, Dragonforce decided to go in a different, darker, more aggressive direction, which unfortunately, didn't pay off as I'm sure they hoped. Of course, Sonic Firestorm is still renowned in certain circles, but it seems to be the least well-known and most often overlooked album of their discography. Overshadowed by the monstrous Valley of the Damned and the tremendously popular Inhuman Rampage by which it's surrounded, Sonic Firestorm is like that forgotten middle child who received neither the power of the oldest child nor the coddling of the youngest child (this metaphor is actually pretty accurate if you think of the debut as the oldest and Inhuman Rampage as the youngest child, too). However, while Sonic Firestorm may not have the inspired melodies of the debut nor the infectious catchiness of the follow-up, it's still a solid album that deserves a fair amount of attention.

As far as songwriting is concerned, the album isn't that much more aggressive than Valley of the Damned; "My Spirit Will Go On" and "Soldiers of the Wasteland" are the only songs I can point to as really being significantly moreso, but there are other, more subtle changes. Theart opts for a grittier, slightly more unhinged approach to the vocals, and the guitarwork features more diverse, more savage leads. The placement of the album, as well as the style, makes it feel like Dragonforce's Invictus to me; in the middle of other good albums, the album takes a darker, more cutthroat approach. Unfortunately, the band still seems bogged down by the necessity to put on 3 ballads per album, only one of which is good. In this case, we have "Above the Winter Moonlight" which is abysmal, "Once in a LIfetime" (not strictly a ballad but close enough), which is mediocre, and thankfully, "Dawn Over a New World", which is the best song on the album, the best ballad DragonForce has ever written, and even, I'd go as far as to say, one of the best ballads in metal. Despite the fact that the lyrics aren't terribly deep, the melodies and structure are wonderful and get to me every time. "We can go on forever, with the darkness so far away...and the warriors who live forever, fight on to the end!" has gotten to me every time since I first heard the song back in 2008 - again, not the best lyrics, but the melodies and Theart's passionate delivery are more than enough. I even converted one of my friends (who usually hates ballads) to DragonForce through this song.

Anyway, now that I've thoroughly fellated over "Dawn over a New World," onto the metal songs on the album. The first three songs are all top-notch; "My Spirit Will Go On" features an unusually dark, ominous opening riff for the band, but transitions between periods of mystery and sunshine easily, and has one of the coolest solos I've heard from the band. "Fury of the Storm" and "Field of Despair" could almost be on Valley of the Damned, and while not quite on the level of most of that album, are still quite good. "Soldiers of the Wasteland" is also different, as it's got a more rough-and-tumble feeling and is more of a progressive (lyrically at least) epic, more serious than the band seems to be used to, with a galloping riff that connects the multiple parts. It's not the best epic power metal song I've heard, but it's done well nonetheless, and is a nice departure from the regular formula. "Prepare For War" is decent but not great; it's a little underdeveloped and "lead-lite", but it's still fairly enjoyable. Overall, the album is weaker than either album before or after it, but it still deserve a listen from any fan of europower or Dragonforce in general.

Really good, but.... - 80%

ijy10152, April 28th, 2012

This album is my favorite Dragonforce album. A lot of people hate the whole "really long songs, speed of light guitar work" thing, but personally I just think it's what they do. They have established their style and like them or not have definitely made a huge impact on the metal community. Dragonforce's plan is not to make you take them seriously, but to really enjoy their music and it's clear that they really enjoy it too, they just have so much fun with it and the energy is infectious. The style on this is basically streamlined from their first album and a little darker, while Valley of the Damned is all about glory and victory and dragons this one deals with the darker side of battle, the blood, death and destruction and the long marches home, but it also deals with hope.

The best songs on this album are My Spirit Will Go On, Fury of the Storm, Soldiers of the Wasteland and Above the Winter Moonlight. My Spirit will go on is especially loved by fans and is a live favorite, it's a fairly straightforward metal song with a really catchy chorus and some progressive elements thrown in towards the middle. The vocals on this album aside from the guitars (of course) are really the star of this album and this song especially. They kind of bridge the under produced sound of the first album and the overly layered and electronically filtered sound of the third album creating a really awesome sound and showing what a great vocalist ZP really is. Personally I rank him up there with Kotipelto and Kursch as one of the best metal singers of all time. I've heard people say they don't like his voice, but I really don't get why, he has an amazing voice, he can really nail those high notes and sings down low just as well and every note is crystal clear making for some really good vocal material. Fury of the Storm is another live favorite with another really good chorus and some crazy guitar playing that really shines in this song. Soldiers of the Wasteland is Dragonforce's first epic and first song to go over 7 minutes almost reaching the 10 minute mark. This song has everything an epic requires, sweeping vocals epic lyrics and some really good soloing, plus a slower section in the middle that really builds making the ending that much more exciting and again the epic vocals just make it so much more grand and awesome. Above the Winter Moonlight has my favorite chorus from this album and it really is awesome. The progressive part in the middle is also really good slowing things down a bit and building into a great ending, In fact this song could almost be mistaken for an epic as well. Now I do love every song on here, but it definitely has a bit of sameness throughout the whole thing. While most of the songs are unique, Fields of Despair and Prepare for war sound very similar and a lot of the guitar solos throughout sound kind of similar. Also as far as ballads go, Dawn over a New World is epic just as a power metal ballad should be, but it's just not that great, Starfire is much better.

All in all this is a very solid album and definitely the most solid album Dragonforce has released so far as well as the most catchy (that is until The Power Within).

Excellent. - 100%

PowerDaso, June 12th, 2010

Dragonforce is one of the most criticized names in the whole metal, probably because of their fame achieving by Guitar Hero means or because of a few awful live presentations they did on 2006-2007. Now, 'Sonic Firestorm' was before both of this events, and it was also the beginning of what they would call "extreme power metal", mainly because of the arrival of their (back in the day) new drummer, Dave Mackintosh. Dragonforce changed their style and the whole style of a genre into a new deal with this album, 'Sonic Firestorm'.

The album's main focus is on speed. Guitar riffs are extremelly fast, with a known formula of "power chord, root-riff, power chord" that works perfectly for them in all cases throughout the album. Mostly, in Dragonforce the bass cannot be heard, or at least in their third releae, 'Inhuman Rampage'. This is not the same case. Adrian Lambert does an excellent job backing up, standing out preciselly and accuratelly everywhere. Vadim Pruzhanov also does an amazing job in here. 'Valley of the Damned' lacked one thing, and that is the exact reason for it not to be as good as 'Sonic Firestorm'. That "thing" is keyboard solos. This album has keyboard solos in almost every song, and not whimpy keyboard solos, but really amazing stuff. "Soldiers of the Wasteland" has maybe the best solos I've ever heard by Dragonforce, considering the impressive solos they do, this tells a lot. Well, "Soldiers of the Wasteland" is not considered their best song because it just is, right? Drumming is what makes this album a new Dragonforce. Dave Mackintosh arrives the band and imposes a new sound, giving the "extreme" to the "power metal". Fast double-bass drumming, blastbeats and quick rhythms are the base of this.

I consider this to be the best of all Dragonforce albums because it has the most original sound, mixing the melodies amazing melodies from 'Valley of the Damned' with the extreme speed of the back then unreleased 'Inhuman Rampage', ZP's still then young vocals singing possibly the only Dragonforce lyrics that make sense, and of course, Li and Totman shredding the guitars up until your ears bleed.

If you seek the origin of the sound Dragonforce has eventually accomplished with senseful lyrics, amazing solos, exteme speed and nice sounding, this is specially for you. I believe that if you are a Dragonforce hater and you listen to this, you will stop hating them, this is just way to amazing to possibly hate the band.

Highlights: "My Spirit Will Go On", "Fury of the Storm", "Fields of Despair", "Once in a Lifetime", "Soldiers of The Wasteland", "Above the Winter Moonlight".

Come on, this is excellent. - 95%

Idrownfish, May 22nd, 2010

It can be easily said that Dragonforce created a new style of metal. Their sugary lyrics and melodies along with fast solos and omnipresent double bass allow them to deliver some of the fastest (and happiest) music of all time. This album has nothing actually new to add: Dragonforce simply followed the formula created at Valley of The Damned, abused of their skills, corrected almost everything there was to correct and ended up creating a masterpiece.

Why is it constantly bashed by thousands of metalheads then? First of all, this band lives a mutual love story with the mainstream, something that is, at least, uncommon for heavy metal bands. More traditional headbangers tend to feel that they are above the mainstream. They look down at it, and simply ignore what it has to offer. I am not trying to say that being praised by the mainstream is a proof of quality; I am simply saying that it's not a proof of lack of quality. However, the source of most unconstructive criticism is surely their Inhuman Rampage tour, where basically everything went wrong. We all know what happened there: the guitars were basically invisible, and when they appeared, the timbres sucked. The terrible tour (that happened right at the moment when Dragonforce was starting to get attention) spread rumors that they were just speeding the songs up in the studio for showing off, and could not actually play at such fast speeds. Since showing off is one of the worst crimes you could possibly be accused of in the metalhead community most of the headbangers that believed the rumors were outraged.

Anyway, musically speaking, this album is amazing. The guitars are extremely technical, the drumming is very fast and the vocals are emotional and epic. "Good Lord, that is the point, this is fucking Valley of The Damned 2.0", some might say. But Valley of The Damned 2.0 was what the band was going for: just like Amon Amarth, Dragonforce created a formula, and will stick to it until they feel like it needs repair. There's nothing wrong with their first full-length, so an improved version of it, with a production that is cleaner than a baby's ass (in contrast to Valley of The Damned's muddy production) sounds nice.

This album starts out in the best way possible: with a keyboards introduction that slowly speeds up, until the guitars come and make everyone headbang like crazy. Being extremely fast, most of these songs have potential to turn a crowd into a mass of crazed headbangers when played live. The album doesn't slow down until the forth song: "Dawn Over a New World" is an epic (but somehow cheesy) power ballad that allows you to rest a little before the crazed headbanging comes back. It is also the only song that some people might not like: after four minutes, you can't help but feel like it is way too long, since the chorus is repeated A LOT of times and the melody barely has any variation.

The highlights in this album are Fields of Despair, Once in a Lifetime, My Spirit Will Go On and Soldiers of The Wasteland. Yes, there are many, and yes, they have basically the same tempos, the same energetic and epic vocals and the same crazed solos. Yet each song sounds different from the others here. The band's optimistic side, shown in all of their melodies and in most of their lyrics (Face our fear along the way our freedom will prevail/The crown and the shining light... Lol) helps the atmosphere of this album, which is so intense that it easily makes you imagine the scenes that are described.

By the way, being optimistic doesn't make the lyrics good. Actually, when I began to critically analyze them, I realized that they are actually kind of silly. But just like Amon Amarth's ones, Dragonforce's lyrics manage to be extremely emotional even if they are simple.

The best moments of this album are Once in a Lifetime's chorus, the Pokémon-like guitar introduction in "Above the Winter Moonlight" and My Spirit Will Go On's introduction. Actually, forget it. Although these moments are great, this album is amazing in basically everything. It doesn't have one bad song, one bad solo, one sucky melody (in Dawn Over a New World the melodies are repetitive, NOT sucky) and will make anyone headbang like crazy if given the chance to. Enough said, go get Sonic Firestorm.

Flawed but Enjoyable - 75%

ghostofthesun, November 2nd, 2008

This album gets a lot of unconstructive criticism. A lot. It seems everyone is ready to bash Dragonforce for their aesthetics and lyrics, but then turn around and listen to Blind Guardian or Hammerfall. Some even debate whether this is power metal at all. This is on the same level as complaining that Bathory isn’t true black metal anymore, not that many would. The point is, confining a band to narrow genre restrictions to deny the melodic power of their music is stupid, as is complaining that their aesthetics don’t match yours 100% of the time. Dragonforce invented a new type of power metal on this and the previous album, Valley of the Damned. Before they became “tEh uber v1deo gAm3 pwn3rz,” they were maybe the first ever pop-power-metal band that wasn’t completely unlistenable.

However, this album has many problems. It’s got the pop-power metal formula down perfectly, but from there it’s like the band didn’t know what to do. “My Spirit Will Go On” is a true metal epic, and nobody should deny its pleasures. The next two songs are also successful, “Fury of the Storm” through pure exhilarating speed and “Fields of Despair” due to its fantastic sugary and melodic chorus and good use of keyboards. From there, the album as a whole goes downhill. “Dawn Over a New World” is their attempt at a power ballad, but it falls flat. It can’t grasp any tender emotions because Dragonforce is not capable of that. Dragonforce works when they blitzkrieg the listener, then let up a bit, like in “Soldiers of the Wasteland,” when the speed runs give way to an epic melodic build-up. “Dawn over a New World” is one-dimensional, and the affected vocals are pretty unconvincing. The rest of the album’s songs, individually are good. However, many cut/paste the same solos from ear lier songs, which is why, despite the amazing formula, it is hard to give this album an excellent rating.

Those who criticize them for writing the same song over and over again are not too far off acually. Individually, aside from occasionally overwhelmingly cheesy moments (the triumphant melodies in the intro “Once in a Lifetime”), these songs are all stunning. At least, when I have my iPod on shuffle, I always stop to listen to these songs. “Once in a Lifetime” in particular has a stunning pop-metal chorus and pre-chorus. Even when the’re singing about absolute nonsense (their lyrical range is hilarious), it is still ENTERTAINING. I might mention that one of the solos is barely modified from the “My Spirit Will Go On” template, but the song is still a blast. The problem is, a whole album of the one formula, plus the necessary ballad, makes it sound a bit gimmicky and one-dimensional. Still, all metal and rock fans should just let their guard down and listen to this album without pretensions. Not every album is gonna be a sombre or evil masterpiece like “Theli,” or “Abigail,” or “Nightfall.” So, you shouldn't deny the charm of this album, even if you feel you are "above" liking this kind of music.

For victory we ride! - 88%

Empyreal, February 28th, 2007

While DragonForce may make me really angry these days, they were actually one of the bands to get me into metal with the opening track of this album "My Spirit Will Go On" (more on this song later). And this album was one I looked forward to getting for a long, long time. And I did eventually, and while my tastes have long since matured from the naive metalhead I was back then, this album still has some fun fuckin' songs on it.

The gimmick with DragonForce is how fast and energetic they are. Seriously, on most of these songs, it's Mach V speed all the way through. Sure, they use computers to speed up their solos and add more riffs, and sure, ZP Theart's voice is remniscent of an 80s hair band singer at times. And yes, their lyrics are horribly cheesy and generic, almost a satire of the Power Metal genre as a whole. But hell, this is addictive. They're so simple and fun, catchy and glorious, that you can't help but love this album. They're practically the Manowar of Power Metal, in a sense.

"My Spirit Will Go On", "Fury of the Storm", and "Fields of Despair" are all uptempo power metal speed crackers with great choruses and memorable riffs. The opening keyboards of the first track still get me fired up today, nearly 2 years after I discovered the band. The token ballad "Dawn Over A New World" is passable, but not stellar. "Above the Winter Moonlight" and "Prepare For War" are both average Power Metal tunes, and I like them enough, although they're not my favorites. "Soldiers of the Wasteland" is the best song DragonForce ever wrote, with a galloping Iron Maiden-ish riff and a more midpaced style to it. Hey, they can do something else after all! "Once in a Lifetime" and "Cry of the Brave" are both stunning Power Metal anthems with great choruses, couldn't get these out of my head for weeks when I first heard em.

This album does wear thin after a while, and it's certainly not a masterpiece in any means. It's cheesy and the singer really does sound like an 80s Glam singer for some parts of the record. This album has flaws, but hell, it's the kind of cheesy that makes you proud to be a metal fan, in the way that Manowar do (don't think DragonForce have much in common with Manowar musically, because there's not really many comparisons there...). Recommended to people who don't have to take their music seriously. Plus, without this album, I might not be the same metal fan I am today, despite how I realize the flaws in it now. Put this in for a big, healthy helping of true metal mozzerella and laugh and headbang along with these goofballs.

The storm gets a bit extreme. - 88%

hells_unicorn, July 25th, 2006
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Noise Records

The winds of change have a tendency of rising in sudden gusts every four or five years, and in retrospect, it was kind of surprising that the slow resurgence of power metal that began in the mid-90s didn't see any terribly massive shifts in character until nearly a decade after it began. To be fair, the changes in question had already started to rear its head a bit with the more AOR oriented character of the Masterplan debut, itself a product of a noted change in stylistic direction by Helloween on The Dark Ride, and which would arguably come to influence the change in direction that occurred with Sonata Arctica, Edguy, and perhaps even Power Quest. Dragonforce also found itself changing at around the same time, but instead of regressing back to a more primitive rock approach, would lean back into much of the band's membership's past of merging power metal with more extreme styles in the defunct New Zealand project Demoniac.

In essence, the resulting debut effort Sonic Firestorm is an exercise in moving forward by taking a step back, abandoning the once popular high fantasy subject matter and straight up speed metal influences for something more that's a tad more generalized and stylistically akin to melodic death metal, though without the harsher elements. Indeed, the term that the band coined to describe this album in extreme power metal is a fitting one in that it incorporates a lot of the technical aspects of death and black metal, while avoiding the darker aesthetic that makes said styles a bit less accessible to mainline listeners. This change in direction was partially promulgated by the recruitment of former Bal-Sagoth drummer Dave Mackintosh, who's generally blistering speed and frequent employment of blast beats out-extremes any of his predecessors in this band, but the songwriting has also seen a noteworthy shift in character; still incorporating the triumphant chorus content and blinding speed metal riff work, but becoming increasingly more technical in character and leaning a bit more heavy on atmospherics courtesy of the keyboards thanks to increased participation by Vadim Pruzhanov in the songwriting process.

Perhaps the best way to understand this album is by picturing its predecessor as a sort of grand battle between dragons and pre-civilized humanity, whereas Sonic Firestorm comes across more as a modern variation of said concept similar to the Christian Bale flick "Reign Of Fire". This is best embodied in the colder and more mechanized character of the extended intro of the opener "My Spirit Will Go On" and the blazing fury of notes that kick off "Fury Of The Storm" and "Fields Of Despair", each of them clocking in slightly shorter than the next but hitting the senses with just as many blows. Similarly, the latter half of the album finds a greater degree of consonant Stratovarius meets Sonata Arctica tendencies, particularly on "Above The Winter Moonlight", a song that all but could have been heard on Winterheart's Guild with a slightly shorter duration and less noodling. Then again, as things draw to a close a familiar set of ideas start to rear their heads, namely Totman's happy-go-lucky songwriting character from much of his Valley Of The Damned content shining through on "Once In A Lifetime" and Herman Li penning a shorter and somewhat nimbler sequel to "Disciples Of Babylon" in "Prepare For War".

Transitional albums can be a sketchy thing, and while Sonic Firestorm is definitely a riveting experience, the excessive character that it takes on in relation to this band's last album makes it come off as a tad too synthetic. Generally fans of this band tend to prefer this album given that it is more indicative of where they would end up on their commercial breakthrough effort Inhuman Rampage, but the passage of time has found more nostalgic power metal fans like myself leaning a bit more towards the old ways. This isn't to say that Dragonforce was ever really in the conservative camp of power metal, as the break between where Helloween ends and they begin couldn't be much clearer if it split the entire planet in half, but that sort of turn-of-the-millennium escapism that typified the conceptual craze of the day was definitely a greater factor on Valley Of The Damned. But whether one likes power metal taken to extreme as embodied in the debut, or power metal repackaged as an extreme concept in this album, both are solid chunks of history that deserve continual consideration.

Rewritten on December 2nd, 2016.

A Decent Album. - 89%

nick_forest, June 13th, 2006

DragonForce is a new band to me. But they've made their name long ago. A friend of mine once told me that Sonic Firestorm made him bang his head throughout the whole album, which made me wonder how fast and how melodic DragonForce is. Actually, what they have done in the genius album really impressed me and almost exceeded my expectation.

The first time I enjoyed the album, I was so excited that I couldn't help smiling in that DragonForce is the unique PowerMetal band that outperforme other cheesy ones. After several times' enjoying, the structure of the songs are predictable, though. They just begin with extremely fast guitar riffs, together with the blastbeats of drums. The melody of the choruses are Rhapsody-like and Freedom Call-like. Take "Fury of the Storm" as an example, it turned into a section of powerful riff after the first chorus. However, the most fascinating and excting part is the crowing endless solos. I can't imagine how they did it!! The holy solo is just breathholding and every time I suppose the solo is over, they just continue to longer and more incredible ones, decorated by some guitar skills. Just imagine the amount of the melody they have created, the solo can overcome anyone who loves power metal when they listen to Dragonforce for the first time. Despite the mighty solos, the songs they composed just sound the same except for one called "Dawn over a New World". This is a typical metal ballad with power influence. It begins with beautiful piano, and then comes metal riffs and the song develops in an Edguy-like way with some inspiring lyrics.

For all that DragonForce is unique, dfferent from any other bands, and really have established themselves in their own style, they suck in some ways. Firstly, every song exept the ballad sounds the same. Secondly, as a power metal band with some symphonic and epic influence, they should have created more changes in tempo but the music just develops in a fast and straightforward way. In short, if they had picked up some elements from bands like Angra(Holy Land) or Heavenly(Dust to Dust), their music could have been more interesting.

In a word, "Sonic Firestorm" is a decent and awesome album. It has some shortcomings as well. Considering the incredible and innovative solos, I would like to recommend it to every power metal head, and if you like swift solos, you can't miss it. Check it out!

Fast and good. - 84%

caspian, January 27th, 2006

There's an off-shoot of techno called 'Happycore' or 'Happy Hard-core' as it's also known. Basically, Happycore consists of super fast beats and repetitive yet catchy melodies. It's totally braindead, but load yourself up with E or Crystal Meth or whatever and you'll have a fun time dancing to it until you pass out from exhaustion.

Why did I tell you this? Because Dragonforce are the Happycore-ists of Metal. The power metal scene is fairly crowded, so when Dragonforce came along, they must've thought "Hmm, everything's already been done. Guess we'll just play the same music at twice the tempo. That'll get 'em interested." There's not a lot of subtlety (although some Keyboard parts are well done) but there's crystal clear production, super fast guitars. insane guitar (and keyboard!) solos and a happy mood throughout the whole album.

It's a simple formula that works very well in this album. While everything is super fast, all the instruments are played tightly, and there's a lot of guitar riffs and vocal lines here that'll stick in your head for years. The super happy chorus of Fury of the Storm and Soldiers of the Wasteland are probably the highlights here, but every song's got a memorable vocal line. Singer's got a decent voice too. Still, it sounds a bit like he takes himself too seriously. Oh well.

The guitars deserve a big mention. I don't listen to a huge amount of power metal, so there might be a faster band around somewhere, but I'm yet to hear them. The massive solo in Fury of the Storm has an absolutely mindblowing ending, definetly the fastest guitar work I've ever heard. There's super fast solos in every song, from My Spirit will Go On, to Fields of Despair, To Once in a Lifetime... Yeah, there's some massive lead work going on here. The rythym guitars are pretty awesome too, they won't make as big an impression as the solos do, but they're tight, fast and heavy. Imagine Iron Maiden played at twice the speed and you're halfway there.

The rest of the instruments deliver as well, except for the bass maybe, just because it's mixed real low. The drums are fairly simple, but super fast.. They don't play a big role, but they do their job. The keyboards are actually fairly subtle in some places on this album, but even they do the occaisonal ripping solo, which is a nice touch. They're a bit cheesy once in a while, but oh well, can't have everything.

So basically this is a good, super fast power metal album. It may not be the most original album ever but it's one of the fastest albums ever. Good for lifting weights or headbanging to, just try not to think too much. Well worth buying.

Final Fantasy Metal - 84%

Tale_of_the_Hellship, June 18th, 2005

I've heard so much praising about this album, and how DragonForce is one of the most insane and fastest power metal bands ever, and bla bla bla, so I decided to get the album and see that for myself. Upon first listen, I was amazed. My Spirit Will Go On kicks in with quite a powerful riff and amazing lead guitar playing. Then, you have the typical power metal cliches: double bass drum at full speed, soaring vocals, catchy/cheesy chorus... still, these guys manage to do it kind of differently, as their guitar playing is some of the best I've heard in a long time, showing that there are still guitar virtuosos at a time where guitars are becoming more and more a simple rythm instrument. The vocals are averagely decent, another unoriginal Mikael Kiske rip-off. Not bad, but nothing to write home about.

What's best about Sonic Firestorm, is the general atmosphere. Power metal usually has a happy atmosphere, and this is no exception; but this is a different kind of happy atmosphere. The band always mentioned that their music has a lot of influence taken from old-school RPG's and stuff, and after you listen to their music, you'll understand why. The soaring choruses and vocals, the keyboard-sounding guitar solos (not keyboard, I've seen the band live and they are quite capable of playing the solos), the epic intros to the songs... just makes you want to grab a Megadrive or a NES and play those old RPG's, with the anime-like graphics and stuff. Listen to the intro in "Above The Winter Moonlight": that intro would fit perfectly as a soundtrack to those old NES Final Fantasy games. Their lyrics even add more to that feeling: the typical cheesy power metal themes, but with a good vocabulary unlike most bands of this gender.

The main flaw? Lack of variety. It's very cool to listen to about four songs of headbanging speed metal like riffs and catchy chorus, but afer that you will probably start to get bored. The solos always break the monotony, but it's not enough to save the album. Gladly, there are only eight songs, so you can actually enjoy half of it without getting annoyed.

So, you've got an album packed with great riffs and leads and an amazing atmosphere that mixes epicity with speed-metal headbanging. However, it could have been a lot better, and it doesn't stand out as much as it should; nothing that Stratovarius or Edguy haven't done a million times already (athough probably not half as fast). Still, a good album for anyone who likes fast happy metal!
Best Songs: My Spirit Will Go On, Fury Of The Storm, Above The Winter Moonlight, Soldiers Of The Wasteland

fast, fun, and fagalicious - 80%

Cedric, November 30th, 2004

You might ask, “what the fuck is he reviewing a power metal album for? I’m never reading this guy’s reviews again”… You may be right in asking it, but I hope I do get the chance to explain myself. These guys are a novelty band. This is all they have going for them, besides their usual really catchy songs.

These guys are fucking fast. They are probably the fastest band I have heard, which of course doesn’t mean there isn’t anybody faster, but meh. Their name is cheesy, their lyrics horribly cheesy, and the melodies make Wisconsin look like the tiniest crumb of cheddar. But they are infectious as hell. The lead guitarist, Herman Li, is a very inventive soloist, and as he states in the notes, takes most of his influence from video game music, which is very apparent. The drummer is insanely fast, and I bet his arm will fall off in no time if he keeps abusing his snare like this. The bassist is AUDIBLE (wtf mate?), which is rare in power metal. The choruses work very well with the music, even in 7 minute-plus songs. All the songs are really long actually. People might get annoyed by the repeated melodies, but at the speed it goes, it doesn’t really matter.

I don’t know whether I’m just hypnotized by their insane rhythm or the actual music, but I like this. It’s too much fun! I’m sorry…

Bloody amazing, that's what. - 96%

Kanwvlf, July 23rd, 2004

This band is absolutely breathtaking, and this album is no exception to that. The sheer speed that they can all play is amazing, Herman and Sam playing in perfect co-ordination and creating some breathtaking break-neck riffs, and dual blast solos. ZP's vocals shrieking out over the riffing, telling us of tales of past warriors' feats in battle! Amazing.

Of course, the solos need the most mentioning. They are probably some of the fastest I've heard for a long time, and are perfectly performed live as they are in the studio (after seeing them live a while ago, and not faultering at all), it truly is amazing to see for a band so young in their career. To be performing such musical feats, without going wrong. The drums may be triggered, but it really doesn't take away anything from the song, as they aren't the dominant instrument, and all they do is perform the under-lying speed for the guitars to roar over.

Now, some people say this band can't perform ballads, but I must disagree. I feel that Dawn Over A New World is a very heart-felt song, and ZP's performance is brilliant and very soulful. Of course the guitars won't be blasting away, but I feel they are competant in accompanying ZP in the song.

Honestly, can this band do no wrong? The first album was almost perfect, and was my best album of last year. This is my third best album of this year, due to some other releases. But, yet, this is still an album to definately pick up, even if you're not generally a fan of power metal, as it seems to impress most with it's pure speed and feeling.

Release the dragons! - 89%

StillDeath, April 21st, 2004

I was awaiting this release with curiosity mixed with anticipation. Can they make some minor adjustments after Valley of the Damned and go on a destructive rampage without looking back? There is a clearer production, but as far as anything else it is more of the same. There is also a matter of song structure and what I call complete tracks. I expect a song to come full circle at one point and repeat various parts. Some DragonForce songs are so overwhelming that it feels that nothing is repeated at first listen. After a few listens you pick up how song tempo changes at the right moment and begin to notice the melody not apparent at first. The songs themselves have non-traditional structure and keep you guessing with the chaotic shredding and keyboard parts. The vocals are slightly harsher than debut, while still clean sounding.

The ballad “Dawn over a new world” is much better than the ballad on the debut. There is a familiar feel to it, but it is quite unpredictable at the same time. That is the only song that sounds like it could have been done by another band, because the other tracks have no chance of being confused with vanilla power metal. The melody on it sounds like a Metallica ballad of all things.

The rest, well the rest of the songs have so many changes and riffs that I cannot keep track. Pretty much every song warms up for the first 30 seconds before going hyper and blowing speakers into dust. Then there is the occasional duel between the lead guitar and the drums(!) part, the keyboard intro and middle part, blast beats and mid paced vocals part with guitars in the background, the final chorus section which is faster and also being the only place where backing vocals are used. “Above the winter moonlight” has a very unique sounding intro, and probably my favourite song on here, it is so cool to listen to the vocalist trying to keep up with the drums speed. Looks like someone has been practicing. All songs have a signature melody running through them while remaining chaotic, though as I have mentioned, you are not likely to pick it up on your first listen.

Over the last week I have discovered that once you focus on specific instruments, this album exhibits more diversity than Valley of the Damned, an example of that for the guitar would be Prepare for War at about 4.01. Replay value is high for me due to the joy of discovery of solos and riffs that last for mere seconds, while sounding good enough for a more ordinary band to center the whole song around it.

Yes it is same DragonForce sound we know; yes it is faster than light and perhaps faster than debut if such a thing is possible. Yes you can headbang to the slower parts and then stop at the right moment, or risk decapitation. As far as overall quality it’s just as good as debut, with added bonus of improved production making the sound thicker. The wait is over, feel the fury of the storm!

Breaking and Creating. - 96%

Nazareth, April 13th, 2004

... Boundries, that is. DragonForce, currently, are the top speed demons of metal. Blistering speed is what this international group of musicians are all about, yet while maintaining a beautiful, melodic sound. The sheer speed on this record blows Darkness Descends out of the water, and THAT is an accomplishment. With the all too familiar line up of the vocalist ZP Theart, guitarists Herman "Shred" Li and Sam Totman, bassist Adrian Lamber, drummer David Mackintosh, and keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov, let's begin the review.

Riding high off the success with the smash hit Valley of the Damned, DragonForce has an incredible test ahead of them. They needed to make some better, stronger, faster, yet very graceful. This time through, the production sounds worked through and plotted out, to give off the impression DragonForce has become more mature in their work, and have become more confident in what they want to achieve. If this gem is what they were looking for, then they have found it. A special note to Mackintosh, the former drummer of Bal-Sagoth, keep 'dem blast beats coming! The solos, like always, mop the floor with any other band out there, Shred gives the glossy, polished solos that made DragonForce famous, whereas partyholic Sam gives the strong, backbone solos that can move you. Wow, backbone solos. Only in DragonForce, folks.

Starting off with, "My Spirit Will Go On," I love the intro to it. Very dark, a huge build up of evil things to come, and it undoubtedly left me with a feeling of urgency. Before I know what was happening, the melodic, upbeat song had hit, with all its righteous speed and power. "Above The Winter Moonlight" is a speedy race for something that just keeps getting farther away, and is very inspiring for some reason. Not as inspiring as, "Soldiers of the Wasteland," though. This song gives you such a strong sense of battle, a sense to unleash your primal anger in a way only the fury of DragonForce could bring you; all this in a ten minute epic of enourmous size, too! "Fury of the Storm," well, the name sums it up. Another song that gives me corny images of gargantuan battles, but what here doesn't? "Dawn Over a New World," that's for sure. These guys are the 10 Dans of furious, upbeat, hyper-rush music, but YOU GUYS CANNOT DO BALLADS. OK. GET IT THROUGH YOUR FUCKING HEADS. Uh . . . Oh -- Sorry about that. Anyway, overall, it's the same basic feeling that Valley of the Damned had, just revamped in everything except the solos. I prefer the Valley of the Damned solos more.

So there we have it, boys and girls. The only happy music known to man that can take on the giants of ...well, METAL, and come out victorious. I would have given this a ninety-eight, but they used the same basic layout. Although, I love that layout to death, and will never get sick of it. Samantha Barrett è la ragazza più grande da esistere mai. L'OH e la GRANDINE DRAGOFORZA!!!