DragonForce - Extreme Power Metal

DragonForce Extreme Power Metal cover
Extreme Power Metal
British cheddar metal maestros have now existed for two decades, releasing eight albums, confirming that if you’re consistent it doesn’t exactly matter what you’re gonna be all about, you are likely to succeed if you put some effort into it.
Dragonforce’s nintendocore power metal remains as stagnant as it ever was. Cheery, major key, superfast, with vibrato being a taboo word and sounding like sped up video game music, with over the top lyrics on top.
“Highway to Oblivion” is true to the T, to the formula, other than treading too close to Manowar’s “Kingdom Come” during the latter parts of its second minute of duration.
The ridiculously titled “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine” isn’t all that shred-y after a while and it even tries to diversify itself a bit, but ends up feeling like someone just threw a few decent parts together, held by duct tape and prayed for the best.
“The Last Dragonborn” has some bad keys and tries to quicken eastern modes and imagery, mixed with lyrics that make Hammerfall sound like the next strong contenders for a Nobel in poetry. Plus Marc Hudson is pushed to his limits on this tune and it sort of shows, hence live it’s bound to never sound close.
“Heart Demolition” is a decent song… (well you can’t exactly call it mid-tempo) that let’s go of the
accelerator just for a bit, but as soon as the leads kick in, it’s pretty much as they belong in another song, sounding completely random and unrelated. Sad, since the song if it were performed by any other band, could have turned out to be a nice 80s melodic mid-tempo rocker… but no... it had to be DragonForced into the mess it is.
“Troopers of the Stars” sounds like a bad football anthem that Alestorm could have written at 666 bpm, just to fit the overall concept. Tiresome.
What’s sad with a song as “Razorblade Meltdown” is that it’s actually not too bad, but it becomes polluted by the band’s DNA and modus opperandi, losing a lot of the appeal it could potentially have. Oh and its solo again feels tired and unrelated. Some nice but wasted melodies.
“Strangers” is actually another 80s styled melodic song, which somehow is spared the extreme speed treatment, other than some random leads that don’t even sound that out of place here, just a little poorly implemented. Also the vocodded robot voices rather spoil things up than add anything to it.
“In a Skyforged Dream” might be hard hitting and fast, but at least is better than most of the material on offer, since Leclercq, who’s written it, seems more constrained and doesn’t overblow the song with unnecessary parts. This is a DragonForce, I could actually sort of enjoy – one focused on actual melodies and not some stupid “show off” of speed (not that this song is slow, by any means).
Likewise, “Remembrance Day” is a decent mid-tempo song, actual mid-tempo, not Dragonforce’s “midtempo”… with proper parts, melodies and flow that is pretty cool.
Pulling the mickey and probably hoping to aim straight for the heart of female fans and your average teen the Celine Dion cover of “My Heart Will Go On” feels like an exercise in futility, there just for shits and giggles. It could have been worse, but it’s not really their song so... I just found it like a bit of fun on the side.
DragonForce’s formula is tired and while they seem able to do indeed write some pretty decent tunes, they keep over-relying on their speed gimmick to be really taken seriously. Sadly wasted potential.