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Gahh. - 15%

The_Ghoul, September 4th, 2008

This is an absolute fucking shame and a waste of talent. Dragonforce showed such potential with Valley of the Damned, and although that debut was repetitive and derivative, you can't blame a debut for being repetitive and derivative, since a band needs to start somewhere. But 4 albums down the line, nothing new has come to the table. It's essential that musicians grow in their abilities constantly. It's essential that artists constantly push the envelope. To stagnate is to regress, and every time you settle with doing the same thing over and over, you get worse because you get stuck in your own little microcosm.

Which is what makes Ultra Beatdown such a shame. For all it's worth, Inhuman Rampage and Ultra Beatdown are indistinguishable. Whereas Sonic Firestorm and Valley of the Damned were distinguishable (slightly) and had a bit of personality, Dragonforce's last 2 efforts have shown no growth and no change at all. While it's refreshing to hear a band stick to their guns, this goes beyond that. This is the musical equivelent of Taco Bell, i.e. it's the same old crap, just rearranged and with a new phony name. As usual, the songtitles and lyrics are interchangable, the chorii are interchangable, the guitar licks are interchangable, and the songs themselves are interchangable. Never before have I heard such homogenous pap before. There is no equal to Dragonforce's self-robbery.

Again, that's why this is so disappointing. Sam Totman and Herman Li are, despite everything your average curmudgeon can lob at them, talented. They are very talented. Vadim is a talented keyboardist, if not derivative and uninspired, and even the bassist, Fred Leclercq, is a talented guitarist/bassist and they have definately not used him well enough here (I've heard his work with Maladaptive and Heavenly. He is truly formidable.) Even the guitarists, who hog the spotlight, haven't used their talent for anything productive here. All this talent is wasted egregiously.I find no redeeming value here, this is just wanking. Even the almighty prick Malmsteen's newest album, Unleash the Fury, has more musical content, value, and significance than this. And you all know how I feel about that album. At least Yngwie knows how to write coherent songs, even if they're predictable, they're not incoherent, sloppy, 200 mph wankfests.

On a positive side, they quit trying to make soulless, sappy, and god awful ballads. However, what's the point of not doing what you're terrible at if you can't do what you're good at with respectable results? Literally, every song here sounds the same, and the single, Heroes of Our Time, sounds like every other Dragonforce opener. It's one thing to do this schtick for a couple albums, but after a while the need to do a minimal amount of experimentation is apparent.

I figure that by now you know what Dragonforce sounds like. So when I do this review, I'm trying to differentiate this from other albums, since the similarities far outnumber the differences. Well, I'm here to inform you that there is NOTHING to separate this from Inhuman Rampage, and, if only for the reason that this is even less original and more derivative, from Sonic Firestorm and Valley of the Damned.

Like fellow DF'ers, Dark Funeral also fill up their albums with uber fast nonsense. But the difference between Dragonforce and Dark Funeral is that Dark Funeral do it successfully and make songs that, while they might be silly faux-satanic fodder, stick in your head and are coherent, well written songs. Dragonforce fail at the most simple of songwriting tasks.

And as another reviewer pointed out, what's with all the extraneous techno-ish nonsense? It's one thing to make your music techno-y (and I certainly have no objection to it) but when a great portion of the music is just noises, not even electronic music, but random beeps and bloops? What's with all the extra crap? It's another defining piece of evidence that Dragonforce are a tired gimmick. It's all gimmick, no real substance. This is not the best (or even close to it) that power metal has to offer. For that, you would have to look into Iron Savior, Grave Digger, Heavenly, or Gamma Ray (and not their new album - yuck!) Each of them are infinitely more interesting than Dragonforce.

I give this a 15 because despite all the slick production efforts and time the musicians spent practicing, this is completely unlistenable. What a waste of time.