26 August 2008
by Salvadore Fernandez
Some albums are described as autumnal and songs are frequently labelled as the soundtrack to various peoples’ summers but British power metallers DragonForce’s latest release, Ultra Beatdown really only fits into Silly Season.
By no means is that a bad thing. If all music was hideously serious and talking about love, loss and desperation without any irony whatsoever or was ridiculously happy and bouncy, we would actually go mental.
DragonForce provide a strange and distinctive middle ground with Ultra Beatdown. It’s a middle ground that is fuelled by virtuoso performances by main protagonist Herman Li but peppered with enough variety and wonderment to keep even the most ADD-addled metaller mentally occupied for an hour.
Incredibly, the super-speed, video game-inspired riffs have been intensified since their 2006 breakthrough album, Inhuman Rampage and the general silliness really does come crashing down in waves.
‘Inside The Winter Storm’ is an 8-bit shredfest from the very start and is completely relentless. Be prepared to concentrate very hard on these riffs. Also note that these riffs are nigh on useless without a full mane of hair. You can’t headbang with a crew cut.
Watch the video to ‘Heroes Of Our Time’ by DragonForce
‘A Flame For Freedom’ is a comforting ballad in amongst the musical melange. While you normally don’t know which was to turn in the labrynthine power metal madness, this track will have you pumping your fist into the air with a sole tear running down your cheek.
You won’t know why but you’ll be screaming for glory. It’s the power of… power metal.
ZP Theart’s cheesy vocals and bizarre lyrics are stronger than ever and the songs are the catchiest they’ve ever written. This is easily the best album of their career thus far. Add the fact that they’re doing pretty well in the US now after some mammoth tours and the future is looking ultra bright for DragonForce.
It’s a clear fact that this is not a cool band. It’s not cool to wear their tshirt. It’s not cool to even admit that you like them. That’s what makes them so appealing. If you’re a DragonForce fan once, you’re a DragonForce fan forever and the quality of this album only serves to consolidate this.
Ultra Beatdown by DragonForce is out now on Roadrunner Records