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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