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DRAGONFORCE – The Power Within

| 10 September 2012 | Reply

Electric Generation Recordings
(Through 3Wise – Australia, Roadrunner – North America, Essential Music – UK, JVC Victor – Japan)
By Shane Pinnegar

Dragonforce see the world through Valhalla tinted glasses – Dragons war with men, epic battles are fought (usually amid flames – oh, so many flames), emotions and environments are anthropomorphised (liberty is given wings, storms have a beating heart, etc), and love is painted on the heavens with grandeur and longing (usually amid fear and more epic battles… and flames, oh so many flames…).

Actually, it’s starting to sound a lot like Manowar – but musically the two bands have little in common – Dragonforce’s triple lead guitar virtuoso’s spray epic solos through every song like they are trying to hose down the multitude of lyrical fires; new vocalist Marc Hudson has a clean and epic voice which adequately replace those of the departed Z P Theart, bringing to mind the melodic styles of Joey Belladona or even Joe Lynn Turner, thankfully working here in this far heavier environment. The manic, frenzied soloing is tempered by keyboard flourishes which add to the melodic attraction of the tunes without reducing the power and might of the music. Well, perhaps the two bands aren’t quite so different after all…?

Yes I jest – but to this reviewer the sense of fun about Dragonforce – especially in the live environment – is what makes the overly dramatic lyrics work amid the fantastic frenzy of the ultra metal music.

If there’s anything to criticise here, it’s the similarity of some of the material – Holding On and Fallen World are wonderful and catchy, but nothing the band haven’t done before over their previous four albums.

Cry Thunder and Wings Of Liberty spice things up though, they flex some muscles here to great effect, especially the former, which also appears on the deluxe version of the album as a bonus live version – though one which is virtually indistinguishable from the studio track!

Seasons is a powerful ballad which also appears in a wonderful acoustic version, and Heart of The Storm is everything you know and love (or hate) about the band – quintessential Dragonforce – also appearing in an alternative version here.

Closing out the album proper are Die By The Sword (no relation) and another crushingly heavy heavens-bothering epic in Last Man Standing, both of which will thrill existing fans, entice new ones, and will no doubt sound magnificent live. Another bonus track is a short acoustic instrumental called Avant La Tempete which alongside the acoustic version of Seasons indicates that Dragonforce should seriously consider doing an “Unplugged” album ASAP!

Category: CD Reviews

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