Archive for The Power Within

Dragonforce/Alestorm @ O2 ABC Glasgow

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th October 2012 by underthenorthernstar

Bands: Dragonforce, Alestorm, The Defiled, Cavorts
Location: O2 ABC, Glasgow
Date: 28/09/2012

In order to be fair to the first two bands who were playing this gig, I have to not say my honest opinions – I’m sure they have their respective fanbases (proven by the legion of moshing 14-year-olds), but they really weren’t my thing.

Moving on. It must be said that I had been looking forward to this gig for a very long time; the last time I had seen Dragonforce was in 2009 when they had toured with Sabaton, a fantastic gig by all accounts. (Incidentally, Sabaton are also doing a UK tour with Eluveitie in November; if you’ve not seen them live, I highly recommend it.) Since then, they had gone through a lineup change, recorded and released a new album, and highly impressed me, as you can see from my review here. Naturally, I was interested to see how their new singer Marc held up live; the man has a fantastic voice, but I had to see for myself.

But before Dragonforce would take the stage, another one of my favourite live acts were playing; I interviewed Alestorm last time they had played here, which was an incredible gig, so of course I was really rather stoked to be not only seeing them again, but interviewing them again (That previous interview can be seen here). Some arrangements were made with Alestorm before the gig that we would do the interview later on that night, as they were staying with a friend of mine and it would be convenient for everyone. This did, however result in a very slightly drunken interview at 3 in the morning, which shall be on the site very soon, I promise.

But I digress. Alestorm played an excellent set; Keelhauled, Wenches and Mead, Nancy the Tavern Wench; a fairly standard set by all accounts, but no less entertaining, especially when, like you should be at an Alestorm gig, you are ever-so-slightly drunk. Leviathan was a particular highlight for me, mainly due to the fact that the crowd enjoyed it quite a fair amount. It must be said though; the amount of crowdsurfers and pre-pubescent “moshers” was somewhat off-putting. Can’t be helped, I suppose, but when I’m trying to windmill I would appreciate it very much if you weren’t landing on my neck thank you very much (Blah blah blah old man complaining blah). Excellent set guys, well done!

However, Dragonforce… well, I’m a self-professed Dragonforce lover; something that gains me a great deal of ridicule. I enjoyed myself hugely at this gig – I was somewhat taken aback that singer Marc Hudson could hit the notes he did. Managing old songs (Fury of the Storm, Valley of the Damned etc.) and new (Cry Thunder, Seasons) alike, he actually managed to distract my view away from the frantic and blister-inducing guitar work of Herman Li and Sam Totman, ever the centre of attention. Managing for the most part to steer away from technical difficulties, the set seemed flawless; even the crowd became far better. The unity felt by all to Cry Thunder was a fantastic feeling. I even caught one of Sam’s picks; so frankly, the night didn’t feel like it could get any better.

This was, of course, before Alestorm, Dragonforce, I and a multitude of others ended up at Glasgow’s Cathouse venue, singing Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, Lost horizon and Meatloaf into the small hours of the morning.

5/5

– Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn

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Dragonforce – The Power Within [2012]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 17th April 2012 by underthenorthernstar

Band: Dragonforce

Album: The Power Within

Release Date: 15/04/2012

Genre: Extreme Power Metal

Label: Electric Generation Recordings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Review is dedicated to the memory of Vadim Pruzhanov’s Hair. RIP.

It’s been 4 years since the release of the last Dragonforce album, “Ultra Beatdown”, shortly after which singer ZP Theart left. It’s been a fairly brutal 4 years for the London-based Extreme Power Metallers; a new album in the works, a GARGANTUAN world tour freshly completed, and the singer, beloved of the fans, is gone? Surely, a bell tolling death for most bands? Not Dragonforce. Since footage of “Cry Thunder” was leaked, having been filmed by fans watching the band support Iron Maiden, I have been far more than enthralled. As for new singer Marc Hudson, I could hug the man. He is everything ZP was and more, and his entrance has injected huge amounts of life into the band once more. The songs are far more varied in structure, and thus make for a much more enjoyable listen, but every single one still manages to soar to the octane-guzzling heights of Glory of previous albums.

“The Power Within.” There could not be a more appropriate title. The whole album is overflowing with POWER. Herman Li and Sam Totman’s epic guitar shreddery is prominent in everything the band does, their mastery being an album’s worth of an air guitarist’s wet dreams. Drums are utterly insane; while restrained on tracks like “Cry Thunder”, the 220 bpm monster of “Fallen world” (fun fact: Dragonforce’s fastest ever song, beating “Cry of the Brave” at 215 bpm) shows off Dave MacKintosh’s insane skill. There are even a couple of moments where Bassist Fred Leclerq gets to show off his talent in several extreme bass passages. And one Mr Vadim Pruzhanov (God rest his hair) is one of the greatest musicians to ever mangle a keyboard. Wizardry is the only way to describe it. But Marc Hudson’s vocals are ridiculously good – he far surpasses the expectations of any of the fans, many of who would, in normal circumstances, be winging and pining for ZP. He has stupendous amounts of talent, and with layered vocals, he sounds positively majestic.

One of the main criticisms of Dragonforce with regards to previous works was that “all the songs sound the same.” It was often insisted that they relied purely on technical ability to make interesting songs, and that was included in every song. This is not a criticism that has any grounds on this album – the songs have for the most part been shortened to be more digestible by the listener (most previous songs were around the 7 minute mark), and not every song is a hyper-speed blast to the end. “Seasons”, “Last Man Stands” and “Cry Thunder” are all fairly different to the usual Dragonforce way, but in no way unwelcome. Songs like “Die by the Sword” also mark a return to the Lyrical style of fantasy, swords and battles, not seen truly since 2003’s “Valley of the Damned.”

This album… blew me away in a way I’m quite sure most of the albums released this year will fail to do so.  All the apprehension is gone, and we should welcome the new Dragonforce with open arms. Utterly, utterly stunning, utterly, utterly brilliant.

5/5

Alasdair Dunn of Norderobring

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