Title: “Sonic Firestorm” (remaster)
Label: Spinefarm Records
Release Date: 2/23/2010
Genre: Supersonice Power Metal
The “Sonic Firestorm” album by Dragonforce was originally released on Noise Records in 2004 and while it was the bands sophomore effort, it would be the first album by them that I had ever heard. I reviewed it as one of my very first features and since much of that text is still the way in which I feel I am re-presenting that for you below with some minor alterations and then going into a little more detail about the remaster. Read on.
“The band Dragonforce is a very interesting unit indeed. They not only combine the factors of being musically diverse along with a completely technical level of play; but they include a level of speed that at times will make you surely think that your CD is skipping instead of playing through. I was literally blown away when I first heard “Sonic Firestorm” and as you listen yourself you will find that you are in the middle of the musical equivalent of a hurricane. Starting off with “My Spirit Will Go On”, you are quickly brought into the band’s world and what they opt to accomplish on a record. This track will quickly become a favorite for many a listener. As I said there are blistering fast moments at almost every turn and while there are bands that play for the sake of speed sake alone this is not the case with Dragonforce because throughout each song the members never seem to lose pace with one another. The songs maintain their structure and do not ever seem to fall apart where you could expect such action to be the case under these conditions. It was really something to close my eyes and envision this being done in a live sense because you knew it just had to be awesome. In most cases playing music fast simply for the sake of it will not impress me all that much so it was refreshing to see this level of speed being showcased on top of killer technical prowess. Chops would be an understatement for Dragonforce. A lot of the album follows along the same course of speed as the first track, but that does not mean to be taken as the songs sound all alike. They just use the same formula on the entire CD. There is one track that effectively serves as the ballad of the disk and that is “Dawn Over A New World”. The tune is nicely done and being in the middle of the disk it allows you a breather before the ass-kicking again.
The original album closed out at only eight songs which might have made some people feel as though they were being cheated but that was far from the case since almost all of the tunes are over seven minutes in length. As a matter of fact “Soldiers Of The Wasteland” is the epic and runs at just under ten minutes. This track in particular even has a section with a very Iron Maiden feel to it. I also liked “Fury Of The Storm” and “Once In A Lifetime” and the remasters bonus track “Cry Of The Brave”. The band truly did not really remind me of anyone else so I cannot really easily draw comparisons to them for the new listener and instead would have to leave it as give them a shot and trust me on it. One can take Dragonforce as the Dream Theater of Progressive Power Metal; a title I originally cited for them but have morphed into Supersonic Power Metal over the years since this was first written and this was based on their music defying the normal genre classification for me at the time. In one sense this is great as it stands as being a little more on the unique side than a healthy number of their immediate Metal peers. The lineup consists of ZP Theart (Vocals), Herman ‘Shred’ Li & Sam Totman (Guitars), Adrian Lambert (Bass), Dave Macintosh (Drums) and Vadim Pruzhanov (Keyboards). It was impressive to also see a large lineup be able to pull all this together because with two guitars and keys it’s easy to find a place to slip up. Playing Metal at this rate of speed is not so easily done in my opinion. Overall this was an enjoyable CD and I think fans of speedier power metal as well as creative use of lightning fast shredding will enjoy the work that these guys have delivered to us. Check it out because bands like this deserve more exposure.”
With all that being said this is still a stand out sophomore release and officially a remaster that you should add to your music library. If you own the original then you might want to think about selling it to someone or being kind and just giving it away. There is a sixteen page booklet with the album that offers up photos, lyrics and some other notations. It also features the words for the bonus track so in that is a little different from the original release which is now long out of print from the one I first reviewed. It is likely in some backroom bins at those few brick and mortar stores that sell Metal releases. Since this albums initial release they have been signed to Roadrunner Records and released two studio albums “Inhuman Rampage” and “Ultra Beatdown” that continue the rallying charge that we heard on this recording and their “Valley Of The Damned” debut. A live album is forthcoming but the band finds it delivered to fans with no lead singer for in March of 2010, their founding member ZP Theart left the lineup citing musical differences. We wish him well and are sure he will find a good place for his soaring pipes.
DVD: Fury Of The Storm – Live Performance Japan 2005, Video Interviews, Video Commentary
*** OK so while it is nice to have a smoldering track from your album performed in the live sense as a video offering on your remaster, I must admit that including only a single tune really gets my goat. Let’s face it, there is so much more room and potential to run with on a DVD and these days with so many YouTube channels and other resources available for free, I expect bands to give the fans more for their money without any hesitation. There is also a few interviews to enjoy if those are your thing and the chance to hear band commentary on the live performance clip. The clip along should convince you of the band being one that is enjoyable in concert and it will likely send you looking for tickets when they next hit your town.
1. My Spirit Will Go On
2. Fury Of The Storm
3. Fields Of Despair
4. Dawn Over A New World
5. Above The Winter Moonlight
6. Soldiers Of The Wasteland
7. Prepare For War
8. Once In A Lifetime
9. Cry Of The Brave – bonus
Official Web site: http://www.dragonforce.com