Review and photos by Krish Mistry
Embarking on their first UK tour with new singer Marc Hudson, British power metal band DragonForce take over the Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton on a rainy Sunday evening.
Opening the show were Barnsley’s Cavorts, who, despite their relatively early start time of 7:20pm, they still had some enthusiastic fans in the crowd. Their short five song set of hardcore metal laced with heavy riffs and punk influences ended with the crowd applause and a great set to warm us up.
After a quick turnaround, The Defiled’s enthusiastic and painted faced fans welcomed them to the stage. Playing tracks from their debut album, Grave Times, and new song ‘As I Drown’, their groove-laden metal mixed with keyboard melodies and clean and growled vocals from frontman Stitch D were made all the more entertaining with The AvD lifting his keyboardist into the air and insisting that everyone jump – to which the crowd obeyed! With ‘Resurrected’, the masked guitarist Aaron Curse threw off his guitar, threw himself into the crowd – much to the horror of security! – and ending their set on a high.
As expected, Alestorm, a band that played to a full capacity Slade Rooms earlier this year, put on a great show. Their alcohol-fuelled pirate metal kicked off with ‘The Sunken Norwegian’ from their latest album Back Through Time and saw the crowd chanting along and waving various plastic swords and axes in the air. Chris Bowes’ gravelly voice, Elliot Vernon’s keytar attack, the mighty riffing of guitarist Dani Evans, the basslines of Gareth Murdock and Pete Alcorn’s pummelling drums drive each melodious song ever onward. When one plastic axe grabs the attention of Chris, he grabs it and proceeds to play it like a guitar, joking that he prefers it to his keytar. as well as getting the theme tune to the TV show Chucklevision incorporated into the keytar solo of ‘Buckfast Powersmash’, we get a mix of songs old and new, from ‘Wenches And Mead’ to ‘Shipwrecked’, the set closes with the classic ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’ to much amused applause.
Finally after the stage is prepared with extra platforms and a fan (for that epic flowing hair effect), DragonForce kick off with new album opener, ‘Holding On.’ As expected from a DragonForce show, guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman jump around the stage whilst pulling off complex solos, with bassist Fred Leclercq filling in the low end. Keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov steps down from his keyboard at the back of the stage, picks up a keytar and joins the guitarists, all the time drummer Dave Mackintosh remaining hidden behind his monster drum kit to make his presence felt in the driving, breakneck speed trhythms.
Newest member of the band Marc Hudson proves he is a worthy frontman and works the crowd who don’t need telling twice to start a circle pit. When asked who has Sonic Firestorm and Valley Of The Damned, the crowd cheers loudly. His response that the Wolverhampton crowd are ten times as crazy as Newcastle’s and that if anybody still has a voice the next day then they are fucked up further wins the crowd over. Showing that Alestorm are not the only ones with a sense of humour, when Marc builds up the crowds for their last song only to be informed by Fred that he has a technical issue with his bass, out pour the jokes about ruining the buildup. After new track, ‘Cry Thunder’, and thanking the support bands, the encore of ‘Valley Of The Damned’ from their debut album closes the set and the crowd are left more than happy. Concerns over how Marc’s voice would fit in with the new songs were quickly dispelled. Although different in style to that of ZP Theart, Marc proves he can hit the high notes and he fits in well with the DragonForce sound and that he’s a good frontman who will definitely take the band forward.
Setlist: Holding On, Heroes Of Our Time, Seasons, Fury Of The Storm, Die By The Sword, Soldiers Of The Wasteland, Fields Of Despair, Through The Fire And The Flames, Cry Thunder, Valley Of The Damned
And you can see more shots from the show here: