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Dragonforce bathes in repetition once again - 3%

Trilogique, July 7th, 2009

I'll start this review off by saying I have a low tolerance for power metal in general. So as a foot note this may come across as extremely biased, but I did my best to review the album (and power metal) objectively. I've heard some good power metal, but it's few and far between. Dragonforce is no exception. They're another run-of-the-mill fairy tale loving power metal band with no appreciation or inspiration for diversity.

2008 saw the dawn of a new Dragonforce album... and the dawn of more reasons to hate this band. DF has been subject to a lot of baseless hype from mallcore kids (aka their pseudo-fans) and amateur guitar players alike. From 'SOOPER TECH SOLOZ' to 'UBER LIGHTNING FAST SHREDZ', Dragonforce has deserved praise beyond what they deserve. The ignoramus hype surrounding Herman Li and their drummer is baffling. And it's this hype that really pushes me to the verge of suicide. Let's clear one thing up: Herman Li is not a god nor is he a superb guitarist. He's average at best. If he and Sam would stop playing at speeds they can't master, I would respect them a bit more, but they play to show off (even though they speed up a lot of the guitars in Pro Tools) and try way too hard to be technical. You're not. You're abysmal live and your praise is beyond what you deserve. Thankfully, the IQ level of Metal Archives is above the 13-year-olds who get hard to Herman Li's sloppy playing 'skills' so I'm sure everyone understands he's not that great.

Now that that's out of the way, let's get on to the music. The album kicks off with "Heroes of Our Time" which has a chorus VERY similar to "Fury of the Storm." Not a good start already, boys. The song goes on and the headache gets worse. Pointless wankery around every turn, unnecessary double bass abuse and abrasive keyboards. And then, the song is over. Repeat this 8 times and you have Ultra Beatdown. 7 minute songs saturated in flamboyant, pointless wankery. Actually, now that I think about it, there was a ballad somewhere amongst this auditory hell. Unfortunately for DF, it sucked more than their other music. Honestly, Dragonforce wouldn't be so bad if they cut some of the songs in half and actually took the initiative to experiment rather than playing it safe.

The production is the same as Inhuman Rampage. Filtered, opera-esque vocals (and by filtered I mean fake as hell), low-in-the-mix rhythm guitar and inaudible bass. Yawn. In retrospect, the production of the rhythm guitar is bothersome. When one of the guitarists is masturbating his guitar pointlessly, you can barely hear the rhythm guitar. Since one of them is constantly jacking off the fretboard, you rarely hear it. Another problem I have is the heroic sound of the sweeps/pinch harmonics. I know it's intentional, but it bothers the fuck out of me. It's beyond fruity.

So! Not-so-epic songs full of sloppy fretboard abuse, incessant fast drumming, fake vocals and inaudible bass. Yep, that's Ultra Beatdown in a nutshell. The only reason this is getting a 3% is because of a solo I heard amidst the repetitive bullshit. It was good until they mutilated it with another entropic solo. It probably would have earned at least a 10 had it stayed coherent. Maybe I'm not understanding something about power metal. Is every song SUPPOSED to sound the fucking same or is this just Dragonforce? If it's the first, then I declare myself a proud enemy of everything power metal stands for. If it's the latter, I firmly declare myself a proud enemy of Dragonforce.

If by some odd curiosity you decide to give this album a spin, listen to "Heroes of Our Time" on YouTube. You'll have heard the entire DF discography in 7 minutes.

Don't buy this album unless you enjoy an hour long migraine. Or you can actually stomach the vomit this band makes.