Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

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

Privacy Policy

Way cool - 91%

NecroFile, August 24th, 2008

It must suck to be this band. Not only do countless metalheads hate them, but most of their fans got into them because of a freaking video game. I watched videos of the Mayhem festival, and when ZP Theart asked the audience if anyone plays Guitar Hero 3, half the crowd raised their hands. Fucking scary.

DragonForce plays a style of hyperkinetic, superfast power metal with some of the most gratuitous guitar sex seen in a long time. Most of the praise is usually given to guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, but all of the band are great musicians. Drummer Dave Mackintosh is a force of nature who's double-bass assault never lets up. Keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov has a fast, jazzy style and his keyboard shredding often matches the guitars. Bassist Fred LeClerc isn't heard much, but he gets a few rhythm spots here and there and he's solid. And vocalist ZP Theart has an amazing, soaring voice with a distinct South African accent that sets him apart from other power metal vocalits.

"Oh, but they're repetitive and all their songs songs sound the same!" I only half agree. It's true they re-use a lot of the same ideas, and the songs follow the same pattern, but beyond this the wheels fall off the argument. DragonForce songs have incredibly varied dynamics, ranging from the insane blast-beats of "Reasons to Live" to the acoustic section of "Inside the Winter Storm". The guitar playing is very unconventional, with Sam and Herman (particularly the latter) letting loose with the craziest effects this side of a Steve Vai album. Long story short: if you listen to the album just once, it will all sound the same, but repeated listens bring the album's variety to the fore.

Most of the songs are very enjoyable, but for me "The Fire Still Burns" is at the top of the heap. This song just rocks. Fast, epic, catchy, it has all the good stuff. It does take a while to get going, but once you hear that unforgettable chorus you'll understand why this mean mama kept you waiting. "Heroes of our Time" is the lead single, and one can only hope it won't be as ridiculously overplayed as "Through the Fire and the Flames" was. The part after the first verse where ZP Theart sings "Glorious, forever more of us!" over Dave Mackintosh's steady tom-tom rolls is seriously cool.

"Reasons to Live" and "Heartbreak Armageddon" continue the trend of "fast tempo, lots of keyboards, catchy chorus", but "Last Journey Home" sees the band starting to experiment. The song is actually midpaced (OK, if you can call 160bpm midpaced), with lots of sad, emotional parts.

There are a few small changes from previous DragonForce albums. The vocals are more prominent than ever before, with whole songs living and falling by ZP Theart's singing. The soloing has been scaled back (which is a good thing, since 5 minutes of continuous shredding gets old) with most songs having solos that last for 2 or so minutes. The album is perhaps slightly less guitar-oriented, with most of the hooks being keyboard melodies and vocal parts.

There are only two songs I don't like. The first one is "A Flame for Freedom". This band just can't write good ballads, anyone who says otherwise is hearing impaired. The second is "The Warrior Inside", which starts off with some goofy Caribbean sounds and then devolves into a decent but predictable speed metal song. Musically digestible, but it's not one of their best moments.

In closing, while I do think this band receives too much promotion for their own good (hence the backlash from the metal community) this is an awesome album that is totally worth your cash. The only thing I hate is the title, which makes it sound like a goddamned techno album.