"Ultra Beatdown" (Roadrunner; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Power metal with speeding guitars and video game sounds interjected. Yep, don't have to check the CD cover to know this is Dragonforce blasting my brain again. I first heard about them from a friend and, when they release a disc, I usually buy it sound unheard because I know what I'm going to get.

These guys don't try to outdo their previous efforts and instead just plug in and rip out solos that make the rest of us throw our guitars in the trash or drive by the local pawn shop with thoughts of trading the stupid thing for something we might be able to master.

The drums are like machine guns and the guitars are galloping along; they only stop to add some keyboards and then it's back to destroying another guitar. The lyrics are goofy in parts and I'll admit that, unless they slow things down, I'm not going to read their song lyrics (I won't hold my breath).

Unlike previous discs this one does have some different sounding songs. I can hear Steve Vai on a few cuts and, when the guitar isn't being played at a breakneck speed, these guys really do have some great music. There are keyboards that sound so weird I just had to listen to a few tracks twice. If you've never heard Dragonforce before, it's now time to start.

Dragonforce: ZP Theart – Vocals; Herman Li – Guitars, backing vocals, producing, mixing, engineering; Sam Totman – Guitars, backing vocals, producing, mixing; Vadim Pruzhanov – Keyboards, piano, theremin, Kaoss Pad, backing vocals; Dave Mackintosh – Drums, backing vocals; Frédéric Leclercq – Bass, backing vocals, additional rhythm guitars; Clive Nolan – guest backing vocals, additional keyboard.

For more information, check out www.dragonforce.com

"Inhuman Rampage" (Roadrunner; 2006)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Ridiculous in concept and demonstrating flashes of unreal metallic shred execution, Dragonforce's overamplified, warp-speed version of Euro power metal is chased down and caught long enough on the eight-track "Inhuman Rampage" to showcase this UK sensation's blazing chops and deliberate over the top style. 

And while this band hurdles guitar and keyboard solos at the listener at a blistering pace, there's enough melody in between instrument clinics posing as songs (such as "Storming the Burning Fields" and "Through the Fire and Flames") to illicit horned hand salutes across the globe. 

Just be warned: this one is cheesy, but in a high grade, spread-it-on-your-cracker-and-enjoy-the-hell-out-of-it kind of way.

For more information, check out www.dragonforce.com

"Valley of the Damned" (Noise/Sanctuary; 2003)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This U.K. power metal outfit was formed in 1999. Dragonforce could be the first speed metal pop group, with blistering solos and machine gun drums and a vocalist whose clean release warrants a new genre of music. This is a must listen and a must have.

The guitar players cite video game music as their fondness and each solo track seems as though it could have been plucked from a Playstation game. Still, the guitarists never overplay. The solos are so clean and fast you just listen with your mouth wide open. Herman Li and Sam Totman will burn any guitar player who comes near them with their fast and melodic style. This stuff is expertly played.

The singer, ZP Theart, loves to sound like Bruce Dickinson and any given Helloween vocalist but he still has a style all his own. He has a range that peaks just above the XM satellite. His vocals are clean and he sounds like he is having the time of his life (with a voice like his, who wouldn't be?). 

Each track is just blistering with guitar and Gatling gun drums. When I first put this CD in, I thought maybe I'd hit the FF button by mistake. It's that fast!

The band's website offers some clips of them playing so you don't think it's just some kind of parody. They make it look so easy and effortless ... until you pick up a guitar and give it a try yourself. It's borderline inspiring and disheartening. 

"Starfire" is their metal ballad and it is one of the best I have heard in a long time. You will be straining to reach ZP's voice as you sing along to this track.

The best molten tracks here are "Valley Of The Damned," "Black Winter Night," "Starfire," and "Heart Of A Dragon."

Dragonforce: ZP Theart - vocals; Herman Li - guitar; Sam Totman - guitar; David Mackintosh - drums; Vadim Pruzhanov - keyboards; Adrian Lambert - bass.

For more information, check out www.dragonforce.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:00:08 -0400.