DragonForce - The Power Within

DragonForce - The Power Within

(CD/LP, Roadrunner, 2012)

The new DRAGONFORCE album had been in my to-do-list longer than usual since I had always a difficulty dealing with this faster-than-light riff work. It’s true that “Valley Of The Damned” was an impressive debut but from that point the band got caught in a constant competition to write ridiculously complicated and fast guitar melodies that gave me multiple migraines in every audition. The reason for always keeping an eye on them was their highly energetic live performances where the band was more than capable to support all these complicated song structures and stay connected with the audience. So, four years after the mediocre “Ultra Beatdown” DRAGONFORCE are back having enlisted a new singer.

Let’s get one thing straight though; this is a Power Metal album so don’t expect diversity (that would almost be equal to blasphemy for all the die-hard fans) among the songs that following the traditions are groovy, catchy and epic with many sing-along chorus lines. Marc Hudson meets all the DRAGONFORCE vocal requirements with a high-pitch voice and strong lungs to keep up with the fast tempos. But Marc does not have the characteristic timbre of ZP Heart and hence some of DRAGONFORCE’s trademark sound is lost. I am not saying that Marc is an inferior singer but it seems that ZP Heart’s pronunciation was enough to brand the band’s sound. On the other hand, the new vocals are more melodic and if you combine with the slightly slower tempos you will understand why I consider “The Power Within” as a way to reintroduce the band to the Metal scene. The songs are not all about speed and riff complexity but give the listener the chance to actually listen and not get lost between the insane fret-work by the guitar duo. I think DRAGONFORCE had become something like guitar showcase where the ultimate goal was to push as many notes in a single bar as humanly possible.

Those days seem to belong to the past since DRAGONFORCE give a chance to enjoy their RUNNING WILD guitar influences in “Heart Of The Storm” and “Die By The Sword” (pay attention to the rhythm guitars), the epic with a MANOWAR-way groove “Cry Thunder” and the all-around HAMMERFALL European Power Metal songwriting with many hooks, sing-along melodies and fist-pumping rhythms. I talked about changes here but the trademark guitar work is still present with the fast-slides and insane tremolo action and all those sounds that one has to look in an instructional video to understand how they are produced.

So, if you are a DRAGONFORCE fan and still have not laid hands on this one do so and you won’t be disappointed. The new singer is very good and the musicianship has matured to the point that music is under the spotlight and not just the guitar work. If you don’t know them I’d suggest to check their debut in order to get inside the DRAGONFORCE universe and see if you can handle all the guitar action and the sometimes predictable Power Metal.

7/10 


Links:

www.Dragonforce.Com/
www.MySpace.com/Dragonforce
www.FaceBook.Com/Dragonforce
www.Twitter.Com/DragonforceTwit


Tracklist:

01. Holding On
02. Fallen World
03. Cry Thunder
04. Give Me The Night
05. Wings Of Liberty
06. Seasons
07. Heart Of The Storm
08. Die By The Sword
09. Last Man Stands
10. Seasons (acoustic version)


Lineup:

Herman Li - Guitars
Sam Totman - Guitars
Vadim Pruzhanov - Keyboards
Dave Mackintosh - Drums
Frédéric Leclercq - Bass
Marc Hudson - Vocals