Everything you’d expect from the ‘force!
Released via EarMUSIC on 19 May 2017 and reviewed by Ian Savage
If you’re not at least passingly-familiar with Dragonforce by now, welcome, to our new-found Middle-East refugee readers who may have been literally under a rock for most of the last decade. The London quintet’s seventh studio album has been a work-in-progress for six months or more now, and its final release will have been awaited with dragon-baited breath by the faithful. (Incidentally – they missed a trick by not calling it ’Stormborn’. Instant access to a whole new fanbase aside from the video-game fanboys. Just saying.)
The influences are by now fairly well-documented – the 80s speed/thrash-metal of the ‘big four’ (if you have to Google it, you weren’t there), the fantastical lyricism derived from the likes of Iron Maiden and Venom, the technical proficiency of 90s guitar virtuosos like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. The ‘core’ of Dragonforce (Herman Li, Sam Totman, Vadim Pruzhanov) are of a vintage to have grown up through all it, and their interpretation on ‘Reaching Into Infinity’ is pretty much the zenith of ‘power-metal’.
There’s tiny digressions from canon (‘WAR!’ in particular has nicely growly bits, and there’s the standard mid-album ‘slow one’ in the form of ‘The Edge Of The World’ – for a bit at least, until it goes double-time and a bit Napalm Death), but for the most part it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Dragonforce LP.
Like it or not, power metal apparently now has a formula – and Dragonforce are its master-chemists. Neck-breaking double-kick tempos, “holy fuck, what was THAT?!?” guitar histrionics, soaring vocals… they’re all here, and aside from the occasional esoteric electronic embellishments and lower-tempo explorations it’s everything you’ve heard from the ‘force before.
Not to say that it’s a bad album – it’s everything you’ll have been expecting from this band. If that’s what you’re after, by all means add another couple of points to the review score and buy accordingly… if you can’t justify the money, just put ‘Inhuman Rampage’ on again. You won’t be missing much.
7 out of 10
- Reaching Into Infinity
- Ashes Of The Dawn
- Judgement Day
- Astral Empire
- Curse Of Darkness
- Midnight Madness
- Land Of Shattered Dreams
- The Edge Of The World
- Our Final Stand
- Hatred And Revenge
- Evil Dead