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Yeah, right... - 5%

doomknocker, February 26th, 2011

Every once in a while, one comes across a band so overblown by way of constant, fellating praise. This is made confounding when you've never heard the group in question, and upon procurance of their latest offering, where they aren't, in any particular fashion, doing anything to justify the endless glad-handing, you can't help but feel absolutely dumb-founded, if not betrayed, by this lack of the godliness placed upon the shoulders of the group.

Like, say, this here Dragonforce band...

For the life of me, I can't figure out why these goons are considered geniuses in their field. I suppose I could chalk it up to their chief fanbase clientele being too easily impressed, but that wouldn't be fair (though still bursting with truthiness). I guess if I could define Dragonforce's sound, it would be the musical equivilent of jiggling a set of keys before a delighted infant; all that movement, all those fancy sounds...it's all so delightful on the surface, but deep down, its enacters come off as patronizing. Anyone remember the shred movement in the late 80s? The kids today might not, but us old codgers are reminded of all those pointless guitar noodlings acting as a smoke screen to prevent the listeners from truly seeing them as talentless hacks that didn't have the compositional chops necessary to back up their multi-jointed metacarpels when listening to what Dragonforce have to offer. All their reportoire is is sugar-rushing shred, replete with all the glaring limitations and bothersome tactics that comes off as new and fresh to the ears of a young, unsuspecting public. That's exactly the deciding sin with Dragonforce; what they're doing is nothing new at all, nor would I consider it "talented" by any stretch. Rather, "Ultra Beatdown" is little more than an eight track excursion into vainglorious jerkoff sessions that exude egotism and snarky grins in the form of wasteful, go-nowhere guitar/keyboard solos that near four-digit tempos. And I hated every second of it. The whole band sounds tight in performance, but to me it's quite apparent that studio gimmickry may have had more than one helping hand in cultivating such a "perfect" production approach. Obviously, the biggest factor in the album's overall sound are those wacky-dacky solos and leads, but once you look past them you won't find any meat on the bones regarding the singing, riffs and arrangements. Like any good shred band, all the rhythm section does is augment the lead players' spotlight sessions, not putting a single lick of originality or awesomeness into the morass of blandness present on this disc. And as for those solos...dear God. I've never heard (or, as well, seen) such dexterity so completely out of control. The problem with this sort of thing is that playing that fast and wildly kills every bit of feeling and natural ability that would be present, which, of course, is totally the case here. Every time the guitars or synth is so molested and abused, I cringe, feeling the musicality being systematically choked into oblivion. This is showcased the brightest on bothersome tracks like "The Fire Still Burns", "Heartbreak Armageddon", and “Inside the Winter Storm", which shove so many sixty-fourth notes down your throat it becomes incredibly painful to listen to all the way through.

In the end, "Ultra Beatdown" proved to this listener the uselessness of Dragonforce. Bands that bug the hell out of me due to consistent pandering and worship and not being able to live up to the hype come and go, but these guys I would lump on the top of the shit pile. Please please PLEASE go away, you twits!