Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

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.