Tag Archives: dave mackintosh

“Sonic Firestorm” (remaster) by Dragonforce

Artist: Dragonforce
Title: “Sonic Firestorm” (remaster)
Label: Spinefarm Records
Release Date: 2/23/2010
Genre: Supersonice Power Metal
Rating: 4.25/5

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.
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Dragonforce @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (11/25/2008)

If Metal that moves almost as fast as the speed of light is what excites you then Dragonforce is definatley the band that you have been looking for to feed that hunger.  The band was hitting New York City once again and would bring Finland’s “Battle Metal” heroes Turisas along for the ride.  The exciting show took place at The Fillmore NY and should you want to learn more and see a lot of photos just scroll past the logo below to see our thoughts on it all.

Logo - Dragonforce

Artist: Dragonforce
Venue: Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Turisas, Powerglove
Date: 11/25/2008
Label: Roadrunner Records

Dragonforce is definitely a band whose busy schedule of touring only seems to match the very speed of their music and with their inclusion on the “Guitar Hero” game and a blistering new release in “Ultra Beatdown” they have been a non-stop musical entity that is hell bent on entertaining the masses. Tonight’s show would be at The Fillmore NY, and it was amusing to be here again so soon since I was only here last night for the performance of Lordi and Lizzy Borden. Joining Dragonforce would be Turisas who I had some awareness of and a band called Powerglove who I had never heard of before tonight. Here is how the adventuring took place should you not have made it into the venue or even knew about the gig.
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“Ultra Beatdown” (Special Edition) by Dragonforce

Artist: Dragonforce
Title: “Ultra Beatdown” (Special Edition)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/26/2008
Genre: Power Metal/Melodic Metal
Rating: 4/5

When Dragonforce released their new CD “Ultra Beatdown”, they celebrated the event by releasing two different versions of it on the same day. Ok, so this is not entirely correct, but they did release a standard edition with eight songs and also a Special Edition version that featured nicer packaging, two additional songs and a bonus DVD with a couple of features. Given that we already reviewed the standard edition when we had snared a copy, we chose to re-visit that commentary below to refresh your memory and then analyze in a little more detail the differences that can be found on the special edition version which we now finally own a copy of. Here goes nothing….

“The guys in Dragonforce are back to do their super sonic Speed Metal thing and deliver unto the masses a righteous thrashing with their latest album “Ultra Beatdown”. It marks the bands fourth release and second for the Roadrunner Records label and finds the guys continuing along the process of delivering highly charged Metal that is driven by blistering guitar work and drumming. When I first heard the band with “Sonic Firestorm” I didn’t know what hit me because it moved like a freight train on greased tracks and just ran over the listener and left them dazed at just how fast the band moved on recording. It surely wasn’t a fluke as this continued on to their Roadrunner Records debut “Inhuman Rampage” and now onto “Ultra Beatdown” as well. The conventional Metal listener might dismiss them by saying that it must all be the same in sound and it’s interesting to see just how the fans split themselves off into sides that are either with them or against them with every breath. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground and while there are those who find the band the next best thing since sliced bread there are others who will rally their hatred in the street about them. I fall to the positive side when it comes to the group and find them quite entertaining and very lively – it’s actually safe to say that we can almost hear the fun that they have at this in the albums opener “Heroes Of Our Time”. When the album begins you see that the band has not slowed to a comfort zone or are resting on their laurels after finding so much success from Guitar Hero III but instead are back to the business of smiting the listener with speed and technical displays of guitar wizardry. This comes care of the twin lead guitar slingers of Sam Totman and Herman Li and no matter how hard I try I still cannot determine who the faster or better guitar player between them is. I would ask one of them if the chance arose but I fear the answer would be “I’m faster and better” from each of them. As we get to the second track of “The Fire Still Burns” we realize that while there is a similarity in the drive and tempo of the tune that the band has upgraded their abilities in terms of how technical they are.
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“Ultra Beatdown” by Dragonforce

Artist: Dragonforce
Title: “Ultra Beatdown”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/26/2008
Genre: Power Metal/Melodic Metal
Rating: 4/5

The guys in Dragonforce are back to do their super sonic Speed Metal thing and deliver unto the masses a righteous thrashing with their latest album “Ultra Beatdown”. It marks the bands fourth release and second for the Roadrunner Records label and finds the guys continuing along the process of delivering highly charged Metal that is driven by blistering guitar work and drumming. When I first heard the band with “Sonic Firestorm” I didn’t know what hit me because it moved like a freight train on greased tracks and just ran over the listener and left them dazed at just how fast the band moved on recording. It surely wasn’t a fluke as this continued on to their Roadrunner Records debut “Inhuman Rampage” and now onto “Ultra Beatdown” as well. The conventional Metal listener might dismiss them by saying that it must all be the same in sound and its interesting to see just how the fans split themselves off into sides that are either with them or against them with every breath. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground and while there are those who find the band the next best thing since sliced bread there are others who will rally their hatred in the street about them. I fall to the positive side when it comes to the group and find them quite entertaining and very lively – it’s actually safe to say that we can almost hear the fun that they have at this in the albums opener “Heroes Of Our Time”. When the album begins you see that the band has not slowed to a comfort zone or are resting on their laurels after finding so much success from Guitar Hero III but instead are back to the business of smiting the listener with speed and technical displays of guitar wizardry. This comes care of the twin lead guitar slingers of Sam Totman and Herman Li and no matter how hard I try I still cannot determine who’s the faster or better guitar player between them. I would ask one of them if the chance arose but I fear the answer would be “I’m faster and better” from each of them. As we get to the second track of “The Fire Still Burns” we realize that while there is a similarity in the drive and tempo of the tune that the band has upgraded their abilities in terms of how technical they are. Let’s face it, when the band’s premise is to play Metal this fast and with a ton of guitar solos there is some risk of their being a little bit of a consistency that you will recognize from time to time.
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“Inhuman Rampage” (Special Edition) by Dragonforce

Artist: Dragonforce
Title: “Inhuman Rampage” (Special Edition)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 3/13/2007
Genre: Super Sonic Power Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

My original review of “Inhuman Rampage” by Dragonforce ran something like this:

“Faster than a speeding bullet” seems to no longer solely define pop culture’s “Man Of Steel”; as now it stands incredibly true of the UK’s Sonic Power Metal sensations DRAGONFORCE! You really cannot explain the band all that easily, while the music holds its core origin in Melodic Power Metal, they mix elements of Thrash much like Annihilator did in their early years. The end result is very simply a brand of Metal that requires you wear a seatbelt as you listen. Normally with fast paced Metal you owe it all to consistent rhythm runs on the guitar while the drummer does blast beats of quick syncopations that are similar. With Dragonforce, the shredding is the combined might of Herman Li and Sam Totman who don’t just play quick rhythms but instead choose to push the limits of science with their leads during the solo breaks and across the length of the bands songs. Underneath their riveting riffs is the drumming of Dave Mackintosh, a quality player thundering along with some great double bass on practically every song. Playing this band too loud in your stereo might cause heart palpitations based on Dave’s playing level. Vadim Pruzhanov on keyboards adds an interesting high tech video game/progressive feel to the band while Fred LeClerq chases the guitar riffs with the bass. They are clearly musicians who enjoy not only pushing the envelope on what they can do and how fast, but to have fun as they do. As you listen to the album there is a good chance that you will feel that this approach as well. Of course a band like this needs a singer who can not only keep up with everyone but also command the charge into Metal glory. Dragonforce has such a presence in lead singer ZP Theart, whose melodic and powerful range suit this band to perfection; when you hear him sing there are moments you feel he is constantly pushing himself to the limit to be as fast as his band mates. He has a high vocal range and the other members of the group provide some great backups making the overall sound of the band a lot fuller than you would normally expect from a Power Metal band of this type.”
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