RSS

Music Review Tuesday – Dragonforce

08 Apr

In a world where speed metal, blazing fingers, and even faster picks, Dragonforce is near the top of the power metal pile. I was first introduced to this band by my son Corey. He also shares my taste for head-banging, smash-mouth, guitar oriented music. After listening to the first song I was impressed by the skillful, yet lightning fast, guitar playing. This extreme power metal band formed in 1999 hails from London, England. Dragonforce will draw on influences by all forms of metal, melodic metal, and speed metal, but also video games. Their lyrics are definitely influenced by the themes present in games such as Final Fantasy. To quote Herman Li (one of the lead guitarists) from Guitar World on a description of the band’s style: “Nintendo Metal, or Bon Jovi on speed”. I would have to agree. After hearing my first few songs from Dragonforce, my first thoughts were, “these guys have to be doing major finger callesthenics in order to maintain that speed live.” This is a definite deviation from my last review, but one I have enjoyed. Dragonforce gets my axe playing juices flowing much like the bands Dream Theater, and Symphony X do.

The latest album release from Dragonforce is called “Inhuman Rampage” It is their third album. It was released on January 9th, 2006, and their first with Road Runner Records. The album title alone depicts their musical style. The first track “Through the Fire and Flames” blazes into the auditory canal with inhuman thrash. This song is the most successful single by Dragonforce. It is also used as the unlockable final encore song in the popular video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Track two, “Revolution Deathsquad”, slows things down from 200mph to 100mph. This toned down pace (not really) allows you to enjoy a nice mixture of palm muted and loud crunching guitar rhythms, along with some keyboards, and video gaming sounds. The mid-point of the song sounds similar to older Metallica. The next song is called “Storming the Burning Fields”. It begins with the patented blazing solo guitar but later incorporates a well mixed combination of keyboards and rhythm guitars. The typical lyrics say:

And we will cross the evil standing
On the temple in the fire
Storming there beyond the lost horizons, oh
Heroes of the night are calling
See the promised land is falling
Reaching for the powers deep inside
On through the night

The fourth track is called “Operation Ground and Pound”. It is the second single and video release of the album. The song speeds things up to break-neck pace again. At first listen the song sounds like all the previous songs, but after a second listen you pick up on the subtle anthem style, along with a more melodic song direction almost reminiscent of the band Europe. Remember “The Final Countdown”? Of course you do.

Album highlights include “Through the Fire and Flames”, the twin guitar solos in the song are incredible, “Storming the Burning Fields”, “Operation Ground and Pound”, “Body Breakdown” is another melodic song that contains solos from all the instruments but the drums. The dueling instruments are similar to Dream Theater, “Trail Of Broken Hearts” is the only ballad type song on the album and is a welcome reprieve from the previous onslaught as the song sings:

Fly away down the lonely roads of yesterday
Close your eyes to see the light of latter days
And all the memory that time can never heal
With the trail of broken hearts flying free.

There is a bonus track available through the Japanese release called “Lost Souls in Endless Time”. I will have to find it and download it to see if is as good. Once you get past the almost ridiculous speed of the guitar playing you will discover that most of the songs are well composed, which means that Dragonforce actually put some thought, and not just technical prowess, into the songs. Anyone who is a fan of the progressive metal, speed metal, or thrash metal genres will appreciate the music of this album. Most people will recognize their style from fantasy themed video games. I know most of my sons will. I give the album four stars out of five. Thrash On!!

Check out the awesome video for “Through the Fire and the Flames” below. Be sure to watch for the dueling guitar solos close to the end.

Advertisements
 
 

21 responses to “Music Review Tuesday – Dragonforce

  1. Robert

    April 8, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Barry, thanks for the reminder about this band. I heard about them before, but forgot to check them out. I’m listening to them on Napster now.

    Once you get past the almost ridiculous speed of the guitar playing you will discover that most of the songs are well composed, which means that Dragonforce actually put some thought, and not just technical prowess, into the songs.

    This seems true so far. I think it would be quite funny to see the notes coming at you on Guitar Hero. They are squeezing some very peculiar sounds out of their guitars as well!

     
  2. barrydean

    April 8, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Robert,

    Yes, it would be quite funny to see exactly what comes from the guitar and what is in fact a processed effect. I will have to see about the guitar hero thing when one of our sons gets to that point in the game. Thanks for the comment.

     
  3. Standing Stones

    April 19, 2008 at 7:26 am

    I am a Christian mom who was looking into some lyrics of a band my son was listening to and I came across your site….I was curious as to how you reconcile the lyrics of Through the Fire and Flames with your headline “My life, my thoughts, to the glory of Christ” ?

     
  4. barrydean

    April 19, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Hi Standing Stones,

    First of all I want to commend you for looking into the lyrics of songs your children listen to. Most parents in these days are not that diligent.

    Some of the things I post on this blog do not directly glorify Christ. Sometimes I post some rants about politics and culture. I play guitar so most of the music I review here is guitar oriented. That being said, I am very careful not to post reviews to music that I would not want my kids listening to. As for the lyrics to “Through the Fire and Flames”, the lyrics for the band Dragonforce are almost always positive and uplifting in nature. This song in particular is about overcoming evil and obstacles in life. It is in the context of a battle scene similar to those found in fantastical novels like “Lord of the Rings”. I do not believe that Dragonforce is a Christian band. If I made that impression here I apologize. But the band Dragonforce is definitely a fresh and welcomed compared to most of the other bands in their genre.

    Thank you for you comment. Believe me, I appreciate your concern.
    BTW, I will be reviewing a very Christian band in my next Music Review Tuesday. Come check it out.

     
  5. Dragonforce Kid

    May 7, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Dragonforce is one of my favorite bands. I’m 14 years old and i like black clothes and all that, but Dragonforce is definetely an amazing band. Since you play guitar, how is it that they can play so fast? I have been wondering this for a while and now i have found a site that can answer my question.

     
  6. barrydean

    May 7, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Hey Dragonforce Kid,

    It is nice to see someone your age on my blog site. To be perfectly honest I am not sure how those guys are so fast. I know that in order to gain speed and dexterity you have to practice, practice, practice. These guys probably sleep with their guitars all the time. If you like fast guitar playing check out Yngwie Malmsteen from the “old school”.

     
  7. Slappy Slam

    November 10, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Hey I’m 15 and i love Dragonforce! I’m doing a report on them for my English perspectives class and I just wanted to say thanks for all the great information. It really shortened my works cited up lol.

     
  8. barrydean

    November 11, 2008 at 11:48 am

    You are quite welcome Slappy. Thanks for the comment.

     
  9. Daniel

    December 11, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Well Im glad I found this page. Ok I took DragonForce off my iPod cause I read that the lyrics are bad and all that. Now I fell in love with their music when I heard it on Guitar Hero. Now that they’re gone I have nothing to listen to. Everything else just seems lame. So I wanna know if I were to go to my pastor and tell him about this band would he approve? He’s a strict guy. Is there really anything wrong with DragonForce?

     
    • barrydean

      December 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

      Daniel,

      I am thankful for your comment. The music of Dragonforce is extreme rock. They definitely push the envelope when it comes to guitar speed and technique. I have read many comments about the lyrics, mostly from Christian or churched people. I cannot tell you what your pastor might say. Dragonforce is not a Christian band as far as I know. I know of a pastor who will tell you that even Christian rock is inappropriate. I have read the lyrics to many of the Dragonforce songs and I have only found them to be the typical positive songs of hope, and of good conquering evil. The lyrics tell stories of battles and conquests. The following is a sample of their lyrics. It is from a song on their recently released album called “Ultra Beatdown”. The song is called “Reason To Live”. This is the chorus:

      A star shines in all of us, we’ll search for all our lives,
      One day we’ll find a way, and a reason to survive,
      Cry for the day to return like no one can understand,
      We all face our fears in the world,
      We all hold our place in the universe,
      For eternity…

      These lyrics are very typical of Dragonforce. I cannot tell you what your pastor will say. For all I know he may not even like Amy Grant.

      Rock On Daniel!

       
    • constantdoodle

      August 29, 2009 at 8:29 am

      man.. look.. i am a christian.. ANd i love metallica to death… Other christians have told me that there evil but i dont think they are.. ANd i know i havent heard alot from dragonforce but what i have heard doesnt sound Evil…. Instead of asking youre pastor, just go and pray to god…. Then when you get an answer it will be coming straight from him… I know he’s a pastor but has he himself listened to dragonforce read the lyrics? I love metallica and i always wondered if they were okay to listen to.. But ive grown to trust god and ive prayed to him many times asking him what he thought and to somehow let me know if what i was listening to was bad.. And i trust that if it were something bad that he would let me know in my heart…. And i never got that feeling like “woah this is not good”.. God gave us a sense of right and wrong.. Im not saying that u shouldnt trust in youre pastor’s advise.. BUt i am saying that u should trust in god more… If you feel deep in youre heart that there is something bad about them then i would stop… but Ask god to reveal it to you…. I mean he loves u right? so why wouldnt he let you know if somethings bad or not… I could be wrong but thats just what i think….

       
  10. kim

    March 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I too, am a mom checking up on lyrics and definately appreciate the musical talent of this band (watching my oldest 32 doing “air drums” and my youngest just 14, conquering guitar hero) but don’t know if I agree with you about the lyrics. In comparison to the lyrics you have noted, I saw the following:

    in operation ground and pound, this verse,
    “Screams of pain in death descending rise again from hell defending
    Burn their hearts within the fire, warriors of light will be slain.”

    kinda states that they’re claiming that warriors of light, meaning Gods warriors, angels and humans, will be slain by the ones of hell. and, let alone, in many of their songs, they talk about fighing for the evil one and granting him glory?

    do you find the “high energy” brings out anger in any kids you know?

    thx for your time,
    Kim

     
    • ScottCalder

      November 26, 2009 at 1:57 am

      Kim,

      A Dad here checking out the same band. I haven’t researched much yet but your comment on “operation ground and pound” got me thinking. The singer could just be commenting on the spiritual warfare that will be and how hell will respond to God’s warriors in the battle that rages even now. Words like, “hell defending…”. The demons of hell are always trying to defend themselves. As the warrior of light fight there have been and will be casualties of war.

      Just some food for thought.

       
  11. barrydean

    March 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for commenting on this controversial topic. It does my heart good to know that parents are involved in what their children are listening to. As a parent I have been guilty of looking for witches to hunt or mountains to conquer even where music lyrics are concerned. There are so many lyrics out there that are so blatantly offensive that when we encounter something like what your mentioned above, we may be trying to make too much out of it. Much of what Dragonforce writes about can be traced back to video games and Anime (Japanese comics and cartoons). Most of that are ballads or stories of good versus evil. I, personally would not be too concerned about the lyrics. They are pretty tame compared to what they may have opportunity to listen to.

    As for your other question, If you are asking about “high energy” music, being related to anger in kids? Most of the “high energy” music is listened to by adolescent boys. I think our society has feminized boys so much that they are looking for masculine outlets for all their energy and testosterone and this outlet comes out in the music they select. Most of the music is harmless but there are others that incite them to acts of violence. The best thing we can do is to teach our children to discern what they listen to and we can stay involved in their lives. I can tell by this comment that you are indeed involved.

     
  12. kim

    March 5, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Thank you, my oldest son said nearly the same thing. Okay then, I guess the 14 year old gets tickets to the concertn for his birthday (but he’s going with his dad :0)

    I appreciate your time.
    God Bless,
    Kim

     
  13. constantdoodle

    August 29, 2009 at 8:19 am

    This band is pretty sweet.. Havent listend to them a whole lot but i really like there uplifting lyrics.. I love listening to a hard rock song that has lyrics about good things and that doesnt sound corney…… But i would have to say that metallica is my favorite band of all time….. I love creeping death the song about moses and the other hebrews. Such a cool depiction of what happend in the bible.. I’ve heard alot of people say metallica is evil but i dont think so…

     
  14. Alex M.

    September 8, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I used to love Dragonforce, especially ‘Through Fire and Flames.’ I stopped listening to them when I actually took a closer look at their lyrics. I don’t see how people find the lyrics uplifting, the music maybe but not the lyrics. I’d be interested in your interpretation of the lyrics, especially ‘Fire and Flames,’ how these are words that a Christian should be listening too. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d be interested in knowing the views of the band members,, I know some of them were former members of Demoniac.

    Alex

     
  15. Fox M.

    November 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Hey like the blog! I too am a Dragonforce fan, in 2002. My younger days, hah. These songs are always uplifting, when I am sad or angry. I even like the recently released DragonForce Album “Ultra Beatdown” and their two hit singles “Heroes of our Time”, and “The Last Journey Home”. It does talk about good conquering evil, since I am going into the AirForce and getting prepared for the P.T. Test, it keeps me going by the sound of the drums, and guitars! Good selection if you wanna do weight lifting, or a jog! Haha.

     
  16. Doughboy

    August 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I was looking up Dragonforce, just found out about them, and came across this post.

    Just look at this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-WtWpjqqdY&feature=channel

    Check out the beginning and around the 3 minute mark.

    I’m not big on bands who swear. Honestly for bands out of the Christian vein I stick with Thy Majestie, just as technical and stick to history and fantasy themes.

    If you want a Christian Dragonforce look at Divinefire.

     
  17. barrydean

    August 10, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Hi Doughboy,

    Thanks so much for the comment. I understand that many bands use profanity during their live performances. It points to their heart condition. I have also heard folks in “Christian” bands swear as well. Tshi does not make it right. If you are convicted from listening to Dragonforce then you should stick to your conviction. Thanks for the Divinefire lead. I will check them out and maybe post something about them later.

     
  18. necr0sys

    October 5, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Hello

    I’m not much of a metal head, I listen to bands like Social Distortion and Bad Religion, mainly punk rock. I’m a Christian too and I find this thread interesting. I have a couple of DF albums though, I enjoy their lyrical style, something more positive than what is currently out there, especially in metal. I am also a gamer and love role playing games, so that is why I suppose this band appeals to me so much. The pace especially!

    I watched that clip posted up earlier about DF using profanity on stage. It is such a pity that there are people out that have been given such amazing talents yet when exposed to the public they have to use foul language. I know it’s not an issue for most people, as we hear it everyday anyway, on t.v, movies and in the general public. It is just the way the world is going. When I was a kid in the 80’s, the F word was real taboo. Over the years it has become more acceptable, and if you do not swear you are not macho.

    As Christians, we constantly have to look at what the Bible teaches, our guide to living a life that glorifies God. I am probably the last person who should be saying this, because like any other, I occasionally let a swear word fly or do the wrong things. That is slightly different though to getting up on stage in front of thousands of people and calling them mothereffers. Some of the bands I listen to also swear, and maybe that is something I need to sort out in my own life. What does not glorify God, separates us from Him.

    So perhaps we are becoming to complacent with what the world has to offer. There are always Christian alternatives.

     

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: