DRAGONFORCE

Power Metal • United Kingdom
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DragonForce is a power metal band that was formed in 1999, from the remnants of black metal band Demoniac under the name of DragonHeart. However, the band soon changed its name to DragonForce before releasing any commercial albums due to possible commercial issues with Brazilian band DragonHeart. Their career began with publishing of songs on the first incarnation of MP3.com, claiming the top of the site's heavy metal charts. The hit song Valley Of The Damned reached over 500,000 downloads in the first few months.

Despite this, two of the original members, Steve Williams and Steve Scott left the band to form power metal outfit Power Quest.

The band has enjoyed increasing popularity over the years, publishing four albums and touring extensively while supporting artists such as Helloween, W.A.S.P. and Iron Maiden. Their 2005 tour in support of the Sonic Firestorm album included support from Angra and Mendeed during their
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Reaching Into InfinityReaching Into Infinity
Metal Blade 2017
$6.35
$6.37 (used)
Sonic FirestormSonic Firestorm
CD+DVD · Deluxe Edition · Reissued · Extra tracks
Fontana Spinefarm 2010
$12.80
$3.70 (used)
Inhuman RampageInhuman Rampage
Roadrunner Records 2006
$12.23
$12.21 (used)
Valley of the Damned (Bonus Dvd)Valley of the Damned (Bonus Dvd)
Extra tracks · Reissued
Fontana Spinefarm 2010
$10.07
$10.54 (used)
Ultra BeatdownUltra Beatdown
Roadrunner Records 2008
$6.45
$2.03 (used)
Maximum OverloadMaximum Overload
Metal Blade 2014
$9.01
$5.37 (used)
The Power WithinThe Power Within
Roadrunner Records 2012
$12.78
$4.84 (used)
Killer Elite [2 CD]Killer Elite [2 CD]
Spinefarm 2016
$3.37
$3.37 (used)
Re-Powered WithinRe-Powered Within
Ear Music 2018
$10.69
$17.06 (used)
In The Line of Fire...Larger Than Life [Blu-ray]In The Line of Fire...Larger Than Life [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray
Metal Blade 2015
$12.75
$12.74 (used)
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DRAGONFORCE Discography

DRAGONFORCE albums / top albums

DRAGONFORCE Valley of the Damned album cover 3.56 | 27 ratings
Valley of the Damned
Power Metal 2003
DRAGONFORCE Sonic Firestorm album cover 3.31 | 25 ratings
Sonic Firestorm
Power Metal 2004
DRAGONFORCE Inhuman Rampage album cover 3.47 | 30 ratings
Inhuman Rampage
Power Metal 2006
DRAGONFORCE Ultra Beatdown album cover 2.85 | 23 ratings
Ultra Beatdown
Power Metal 2008
DRAGONFORCE The Power Within album cover 3.88 | 15 ratings
The Power Within
Power Metal 2012
DRAGONFORCE Maximum Overload album cover 4.08 | 11 ratings
Maximum Overload
Power Metal 2014
DRAGONFORCE Reaching Into Infinity album cover 4.38 | 4 ratings
Reaching Into Infinity
Power Metal 2017

DRAGONFORCE EPs & splits

DRAGONFORCE live albums

DRAGONFORCE Twilight Dementia album cover 1.23 | 6 ratings
Twilight Dementia
Power Metal 2010

DRAGONFORCE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

DRAGONFORCE re-issues & compilations

DRAGONFORCE Valley of the Damned / Sonic Firestorm album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Valley of the Damned / Sonic Firestorm
Power Metal 2010

DRAGONFORCE singles (7)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fury of the Storm
Power Metal 2005
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0.00 | 0 ratings
Through the Fire and the Flames
Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Operation Ground and Pound
Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heroes of Our Time
Power Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Last Journey Home
Power Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Strike of the Ninja
Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cry Thunder
Power Metal 2012

DRAGONFORCE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

DRAGONFORCE Reviews

DRAGONFORCE Reaching Into Infinity

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
DippoMagoo
There are many ways for bands to evolve their sound over a long career. Some bands change their sound up a lot from album to album, always keeping their fans guessing, while others follow along a predictable path for a while, then suddenly decide to move in a completely different direction after a few albums. Still, others prefer to stick to an established sound while adding minor tweaks from album to album, which is where British power metal band Dragonforce currently stands. After their first four albums were all fairly similar and each had their share of highlights and low points, “The Power Within” and “Maximum Overload” both showed them streamlining their sound a bit and adding in some new elements, while still keeping all their trademarks and their overall sound in full force (no pun intended.) Now with their seventh full-length release, Reaching Into Infinity, it feels like the band is looking to push their sound even further than before, providing listeners with quite a few surprises, while still delivering many tracks filled with their unique brand of super speedy, hard hitting power metal with extremely epic choruses and guitar solos.

Longtime fans of the band should know what to expect from them at this point, as their brand of over the top, super fast power metal is still as much intact as ever, and the blistering duo guitar leads from Herman Li and Sam Totman are still very much the main focus, while Vadim Pruzhanov’s keyboards are impressive sounding as well and still play a big role at points, often sounding rather cheesy and giving the music a retro, sometimes slight pop feel as usual. The faster tracks on this release very much follow in line with the band’s past two releases, as they’re still as over the top and fun as ever, but they aren’t stretched out quite as much as most songs on the first four albums, and there are some heavier riffs at times, sometimes giving the music a slight thrash feel. Obviously, though, the huge choruses, epic melodies, and impressive extended solo sections are still present and as impressive as ever, and for the most part, the speedy songs on this album continue to feel like classic Dragonforce, except streamlined just a little bit. However, there are a few tracks where the band experiments more than ever before, and while I’ll go into full detail later in the review, there are at least three songs here that may surprise listeners, bringing in unexpected elements and sometimes going in directions fans probably wouldn’t expect from the band, so it’s definitely an even more varied and interesting release than Maximum Overload was in the songwriting department.

In the vocals department, Marc Hudson remains as strong a vocalist as he was on the previous two albums, and if anything he sounds even more in his element on this release than ever before. He has a fairly high pitched voice that fits the genre well, and he does an excellent job during the very melodic choruses, but he can also sing with a deeper voice at times and with a bit more grit and power than before. On a couple tracks, he even adds in some thrash style vocals as well as some pretty solid harsh vocals. This is most definitely the most varied Dragonforce ever when it comes to vocals, and everything works very well.

When it comes to songwriting, fans know what to expect from the band, and for the most part Reaching Into Infinity does deliver more of the same. The title track is a typical intro, with some nice keyboard sections and some very nice guitar melodies, and then “Ashes of the Dawn” starts out with some heavy guitar riffs and slight symphonic elements before picking up the pace and turning into the kind of high-flying opener fans would expect from the band. Right out of the gate, it has some excellent guitar leads, as expected, and it’s a very fast paced track with a super catchy chorus and fun instrumental sections, enhanced even further by having more of a symphonic presence than their songs usually do. It’s definitely a perfect example of the more simplified take on their classic songwriting that their recent albums have been delivering. Other speedy tracks on the album follow suit, including “Judgement Day”, which has a very cheesy, pop-styled keyboard intro before speeding up and turning into a classic Dragonforce song, with a super fun chorus, “Astral Empire”, which has a cool intro that showcases new drummer Gee Anzalone’s skills, before turning into a very straight-forward and fun power metal track, “Curse of Darkness”, which has a nice slower section in the middle, but mostly follows the band’s formula neatly and is another excellent example of their modern sound, “Midnight Madness”, which may actually be the most traditional Dragonforce song on the entire album, with no real gimmicks, but instead just being awesome all around, “Land of Shattered Dreams”, which is slightly darker and harder-hitting, and the closing track “Our Final Stand”, which has an amazing chorus and one of the best guitar solos on the album, making it a perfect closer. All these tracks are excellent, fast paced and have a nice balance between catchy vocal sections and impressive instrumental work, giving listeners everything they could ask for from the band. Bonus track “Hatred and Revenge” very much fits in line with all these tracks, and is another instant winner, with some of the best guitar work on the album and an absolutely incredible chorus.

Mixed in with all those tracks are a few surprises, the first of which is the ballad “Silence”. They have done one ballad before, that being the awesome yet super cheesy “Trail of Broken Hearts”, but this one feels much more serious and more sincere than that one did, using some nice acoustic guitars during tits verses and allowing Marc to really showcase his talents during the chorus. The solo section is also very nice and features an absolutely beautiful guitar solo at one point. A very surprising but excellent track. Another surprise is “WAR!”, a speedy but surprisingly hard hitting track which very much has a thrash feel the whole way through, especially during its verses and its chorus, with some aggressive riffs, thrashy vocals from Marc and some pretty angry lyrics. The pre-chorus section is nice and brings in some melody, but otherwise, it’s a surprisingly hard hitting track coming from Dragonforce. On the one hand, I think they did a great job with it and pulled it off very well, but on the other hand, because I listen to these guys to have a good time and enjoy the happy sounding melodies, this track does stick out a bit. Still, I can appreciate them trying something different and while it’s not one of my favorite tracks here, I do think they pulled off what they were trying to do with it.

Also on the thrashier side, the band included a cover of the classic Death track “Evil Dead”, where the guitars feel surprisingly close to the original and Marc’s vocals are great, while the keyboards are mostly used to add in a bit of atmosphere and are pretty interesting. It’s actually a really good cover, and the only part that feels a bit out of place, but still awesome, is the classic Nintendo style keyboard outro. Lastly, “The Edge of the World” is the band’s longest and most ambitious track to date at just over 11 minutes. The track is mostly mid-paced and has a very prog feel to it, with some epic sounding guitar work and the verses feel more calm and relaxed compared to most of their tracks. The chorus is impressive as always and there’s a very nice solo section, but musically I have to say the band didn’t really throw in as many tempo changes as I would have expected and the lack of any real speedy sections is a bit surprising. Still, it’s a great track and one section that really stands out comes a little more than halfway through, where the guitars get heavier and we get some pretty cool death growls. Overall, the track isn’t what I would have expected from Dragonforce and is quite interesting in that they went for more of a prog sound, which I feel they pulled off quite well. I think one or two speedier sections would have really pushed it over the top, but I guess they wanted to make it a fully experimental and different sounding track, so it still works great as it is.

Overall, Reaching Into Infinity is another excellent album that shows Dragonforce continuing to deliver a more streamlined version of their classic sound, while also throwing in some surprises, with two of their most experimental tracks to date. I think I still slightly prefer Maximum Overload, but it’s definitely an excellent album which is sure to please longtime fans of the band, and any power metal fans who doesn’t mind a bit of cheesiness, is highly recommended to give this one a listen.

originally written for myglobalmind.com: http://myglobalmind.com/2017/05/20/dragonforce-reaching-infinity-review/

DRAGONFORCE Sonic Firestorm

Album · 2004 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
"Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in hell!"

Mmm...cheesy goodness. DragonForce are those guys that made that super hard song on Guitar Hero, right? 'Through The Smoke and Flames'? Jokes aside this was one of the first "real" metal bands I encountered at a young age. The technical prowess and pure speed of it was very attractive; it wasn't exactly something I listened to on a regular basis. But as I grew older I listened to more and more of the same genre, and discovered new music. Did I ever forget about Sonic Firestorm? Of course not!

This album is a pristine example of all the good parts of 00's power metal. The rocking symphony of pounding drums, shredding guitar, and the godly voice of ZP Theart. Combine that with lyrical imagery of fantasy, of sprawling hills of green, chivalrous knights, fantastical beasts of mythos, all forming into one powerful attack on the senses. Many of the songs have a long run time as well, leading for long and intricate epics. Some of the more atmospheric songs (Soldiers of the Wasteland) appeal to me more with that comfortable arena-metal sound.

This would go on to inspire an even larger audience for the band, as well as more rising potential on later albums. Quintessential for the power-metal everyman or even a hardened veteran. Godspeed, you fiery gods!

DRAGONFORCE Valley of the Damned

Album · 2003 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
martindavey87
With the obvious talent and potential to become one of the greatest power metal bands of all time, the thing that makes DragonForce stand out the most is also the thing that annoys me about them. They’re too fast.

‘Valley of the Damned’ has a very promising start, with the title track producing some very nice riffs, accompanied by some incredibly catchy vocals, however, this is as good as it gets, as halfway through the song the band, in particular, guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li, decide to disregard any logical tune and just shred away. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the formula for all of their songs.

With bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X being top influences of mine, it’s clear that shredding isn’t a problem for me. What bothers me when DragonForce start wailing away, is that it’s so fast and flashy that there is no distinguishable melody. Every solo, and I mean EVERY solo, sounds exactly the same, and by that I mean a flurry of notes where the main focus is flashy acrobatics over actual substance. As a result, it's hard to really care once they get started.

It’s a shame, because this band has a lot of potential, and in the very few cases when they do slow down their music is awesome. Songs like ‘Valley of the Damned’ and ‘Disciples of Babylon’ have some really kickass moments and memoable vocal melodies, but then descend into the standard DragonForce routine of ruining a perfectly good song with stupidly fast solos that lack any sense of musicality.

As a fan of shred guitar playing, it saddens me to say this, but in the case with this band, ‘speed kills’.

DRAGONFORCE Maximum Overload

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
In a way, I've felt a little bad for Dragonforce in recent years. Sure, they should have to earn their status in the music world like any other band. But when the band were thrust into the spotlight with their 2006 tune "Through the Fire and Flames" and how it became synonymous with Guitar Hero, polarization within the metal community became the ultimate result. Some called their music fun and infectious, and many others would decide that the band is composed of a bunch of hacks with abominable levels of guitar "wankery." Unfortunately, the latter was usually the more prominent opinion among metalheads when overly long-winded albums like Inhuman Rampage and Ultra Beatdown (gotta love those creative titles) hit the stores. Here's why I feel bad about all this: ever since ZP Theart's departure and new singer Marc Hudson's arrival, it seems as though Dragonforce have been trying their best to prove themselves as more than just a group of shredders who got commercially lucky. Fortunately, while The Power Within was a very admirable effort to alleviate the band's past inconsistencies, Maximum Overload goes even further and feels like a fresh new chapter in the band's work.

Now, don't get me wrong, the core sound of Maximum Overload is still based on the old Dragonforce we all know and love (and hate). The choruses still have plenty of cheese, the anthemic "stand your ground and face the world" vibe is still incredibly frequent, and the group's trademark speed continues on. In fact, speaking of speed, opener "The Game" is actually the band's fastest song to date and takes numerous cues from classic thrash metal. Having Trivium's Matt Heafy performing growls to add to the intensity always helps too, that's for sure. But, after listening to numerous tracks on the album, you might notice something pretty interesting going on... some of those song lengths are even shorter than on The Power Within! It seems like the band are getting even more committed to streamlining their sound when judging by this fact, although the balance between conciseness and ambition is what really stands out. More progressive elements are prevalent throughout, like the tempo changes and operatic midsection in "Three Hammers" or the beautiful neoclassical keyboard introduction to "Symphony of the Night" (which I'm hoping is a Castlevania reference, by the way). However, the way everything is presented is very cohesive and digestible compared to previous albums, definitely aided by those shorter song lengths and more focused song structures. There aren't any four-minute solos or ridiculously drawn-out intros here, thankfully.

That's not to say everything is streamlined though, and the band still have a tendency to lose their way because of overbearing soloing or tedious instrumental portions. It seems as though Marc Hudson has a knack for bringing the band together when he's delivering his solid vocal performances, but things get a little inconsistent once he's off the mic. Certain little annoyances start to stand out, such as the slightly unnecessary soft segment before "The Sun is Dead" climactic harmonized solo or that bizarre Incubus-esque funky middle section of "Extraction Zone." But more than this stuff, the problem lies in the fact that "Dragonforce syndrome" still exists; as in, when everything starts to run together. One can only take so many melodic death metal-influenced harmonized guitar lines and fast thrashy drum fills before things get old, and this is definitely Maximum Overload's biggest issue. Some of the band's past repetition rears its ugly head here, primarily toward the end of the album, and the Inhuman Rampage memories come back to the listener. However, on a very positive note, the Johnny Cash "Ring of Fire" cover that closes the album is FANTASTIC. It's hard to believe that a country song could translate to power/thrash metal so well like this, but it did... major props to the band for that.

And on that note, Dragonforce should just be applauded for this album in general. That 3.5 on the top of the page may not look like much, but it means quite a lot for a band who have been so mercilessly ridiculed throughout their notorious history. While it sounds as though the band are still working on perfecting their recent power/thrash/prog formula that started being established with The Power Within, everything's beginning to be pieced together quite nicely. And above these things, Maximum Overload is just a ton of fun to pop in and play at any time. It's cheesy, yeah, but what did you expect from Dragonforce signature sound and vibe? In the end, this is the band's best record since Valley of the Damned... and considering that came out over 10 years ago, that's saying something.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

DRAGONFORCE Valley of the Damned

Album · 2003 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
aglasshouse
DragonForce is a band that will bring the experience of fantasy and sprawling lands of adventure, all with the power of, well, power metal. Based in the early 2000's, DragonForce's first release of Valley of the Damned has all of the elements of a DragonForce album: long epics that conduct the music in an almost orchestral way and show off every piece of majesty that they can, lyrics speaking of realms far beyond our own, and of course the rage of smashing speed metal to accompany it all.

The one problem that can happen in a DragonForce album such as this is a sense of great repetition, especially in the drumming area. Every song, give or take one or two, have the same beating, insane drum beats. These are of course enjoyable, however it can get slightly stale when the time comes around to listen to the whole album. Because of this you'll probably end up looking for more variation in the vocals from Theart, who is fantastic. His voice fits perfectly in the songs. Even if they all follow the same general composition, he makes up with it for his different styles. Disciples of Babylon, Valley of the Damned, Black Fire, and on several of the other tracks Theart makes everything sound unique, especially on the first song I listed.

In simple terms, Valley of the Damned is a fantastic first effort from DragonForce. Even though much repetition is noticeable, it is something that was cured in the later releases to be sure. A great start to an awesome metal journey.

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