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A definite step in the right direction - 93%

toddles822, September 21st, 2008

Many fans or critics of DragonForce, including myself, have a stance that says that their first album, "Valley of the Damned", is far superior to either of their next two albums, saying there is a much stronger sense of melody and slight variation than either of their later albums. Though the members are awesome technical players and show off some serious skill, they really haven't been put to good use, as they're simply "OMG LOOK I CAN PLAY FAST" and no sense of variation and shred fest solos throughout, and they tend to sound as though DragonForce simply recorded the same song nine times. So, rightfully so, when I went out and purchased this album my expectations for the album were not great, but there was a sense of optimism rushing though my head, hoping, just hoping, that Sam can come up with at east SLIGHTLY original compositions.

After I pushed the play button for the first time, the first single and track, "Heroes of our Time", hit me like I thought it would, an uplifting and fast riff to start off. Though I found it enjoyable I wished that the rest of the album wouldn't sound like this like "Inhuman Rampage", save one track. My wish came true.

For example, "Reasons to Live" starts off as a blistering offering from the drums and guitar, but three minutes in features something that is only present in a very scant few of their songs... a breakdown, and an instrumental not completely dominated by shredfests. A section in this song also shows clear "Images and Words"-era-Dream Theater influences. "Heartbreak Armageddon", follows a similar formula but with a much different, calmer sound. "The Last Journey Home" is, simply put, a beautiful song, "A Flame for Freedom" is a predominately slow song, and "The Warrior Inside" is an incredible song that fits very well as a closer.

The old elements of DragonForce are clearly still present, with cheesy lyrics, ridiculously fast solos, epic-length songs, video game noises, etc. All they really needed to do was to keep the constant solos and noises in moderation and focus more on creating original, different and varying compositions that the band overall are capable of doing. This album satisfies these criteria and make for a great and enjoyable album for almost all DragonForce listeners. If they can continue to follow these guidelines, add more variety, and most of all, continue to have fun creating music, then their fifth album, sixth, and any albums beyond that may be considered some of the best albums of all time. They have the capability, now all they have to do it continue to harness it. Their future looks bright.