Album Review: Dragonforce – The Power Within

A few years ago, all was well with Dragonforce. ‘Through The Fire and Flames’ in particular caused people to sit up and pay attention to this ridiculously OTT band who sound like a Sonic the Hedgehog special stage on speed. An appearance in the Guitar Hero franchise inspired people the world over to put their guitars down because they realised they will never play this good.

Then they released ‘Ultra Beatdown’ which could be a description of their popularity over that time. The songs weren’t great, people were irritated by the band in general and forgot why they fell in love with them, or at least respected them, in the first place.

It’s 2012 and after recruiting new singer Marc Hudon, Dragonforce are back. The songs remain the same – lightning fast solos, glass-shattering vocals and daft lyrics. But there is something different. The love is back.

Whether it’s down to the change in vocalist or the choice to concentrate on making shorter songs, or a combination of the two, ‘The Power Within’ harkens back to the success of ‘Inhuman Rampage’ in that it just sounds so much fun.

It takes a whole 50 seconds for opener ‘Holding On’ to go mental, but it does, and it does so in such a way you can’t help but smile and think back to when Dragonforce were the kings of power metal. When that chorus hits, the urge to hold your sword high and charge into battle is overwhelming.
Dragonforce The Power Within
They are a bit of a one trick pony, since it seems that all Dragonforce songs can be described in much the same way as above. But it’s the pop sensibility of making hooks that stay in your head for days, riffs that are so cheesy that it’s okay to love, vocals that you know you can’t sing along to but try to anyway that makes this new release sound like a band who are back on their way up.

Only one song stretches past 7 minutes, which arguably could have been an average song length on previous albums. Even on the epic ‘Wings of Liberty’ the pace of the track makes the song pass in what feels like half the time. The structure is the usual, double bass drums backing a hook so infectious that it makes swine flu look like a one-off case, and the compulsory duelling solos from Hermani Li and Sam Totman.

On ‘The Power Within’ you know what to expect, but it’s been a while since it’s sounded like so much fun. No new ground is explored, but the element that ‘Ultra Beatdown’ was missing has been rediscovered, and more than once you’ll find yourself grinning at how predictable yet awesome this album is.

Rating – 8


About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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