earMUSIC [Release date – 15.08.14]
Dragonforce are a band with the ability to split opinions within rock and metal fans. Some are amazed by their technical abilities and breakneck playing whilst others find the band a bit of a joke and a one trick pony, in fact one of my fellow scribes refers to them as ‘Dragonsnore’.
So will this new album, the band’s sixthstudio release, help to change this situation and bring the band mass appeal? The answer is probably not, but who gives a damn? What we have here is another power metal masterpiece and possibly the band’s best album to date.
The album opens with ‘The Game’, which is the Dragonforce fans know and love, with the addition of backing vocals provided by Matt Heafy of Trivium giving the track a different dimension.
‘Tomorrow’s Kings’ is another traditional DF romp with great melodies and the usual jaw dropping twin guitar work, in fact the guitar work of Herman Li and Sam Totman is breathtaking throughout.
There are however a number of songs on the album which do stray from the traditional Dragonforce songbook slightly. The first of these is ‘Three Hammers’ which is an epic track which starts quietly with a great vocal from Marc Hudson who has established himself well in the frontman role, especially in a live setting. The song then twists and turns with some majestic playing, you can almost imagine the armoured, hammer wielding knights riding into battle, stirring stuff.
‘Symphony Of The Night’ follows and if they ever do a metal version of the Phantom Of The Opera musical then this would fit into the score no problem whatsoever. Another song of note is ‘Extraction Zone’ which sets off at breakneck speed but then contains an almost Limp Bizkit like ‘scratch mix’ mid section which again is a change from the norm.
One song which is guaranteed to split opinion though is the last track, a Dragonforce take on the Johnny Cash classic ‘Ring Of Fire’. It is a song which lends itself well to the DF treatment with a familiar hook and great melodies. For me the guys do a fantastic job on updating the original, I can foresee cries of dissent from other quarters though.
‘Maximum Overload’ may not alter opinions but it is a cracker of an album from a revitalised band who continue to write and perform stunning power metal. They possess what many other bands lack, a healthy sense of humour and fun which is often missing in metal. Lighten up folks and stick this album on, it might even bring a smile to your face if you give it a chance. *****
Review by David Wilson
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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