Report: Old-School DRAGONFORCE A United Nations Of Metal

September 7, 2006, 12 years ago

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Georgia Straight (www.straight.com) has issued the following report from lucas aykroyd

If DRAGONFORCE had come out in 1986, it surely would have contended for the title of World’s Most Awesome Kick-Ass Metal Band. Not only does the multinational sextet’s music offer the uplifting melodic flavour of then-popular groups like HELOWEEN and EUROPE, but its sheer speed also recalls old-school SLAYER and MEGADETH.

DragonForce, which formed in London, England, in 1999, goes from zero to 200 beats per minute faster than any of its competitors, thanks largely to the double-kick insanity of drummer Dave Mackintosh (ex-BAL-SAGOTH) and the virtuosic twin-guitar attack of Herman Li and Sam Totman. But are the Roadrunner artists sacrificing emotion and feel with their full-bore approach?

“The only thing we sacrifice is ourselves, trying to do as much as possible,” insists lead singer ZP Theart, taking a break from watching The Simpsons at his London home. “We just say: ‘This is what we do, and we do it like this because it’s the only way we know.’ You don’t have to play slowly to be passionate.”

The extreme power-metal aces conquered audiences on this summer’s Ozzfest tour despite performing alongside more trendy, abrasive American acts. “The weird thing was that we’d start playing on the main stage at 5 p.m., and whoever played last on the second stage, either Ozzy himself or Black Label Society, would finish five minutes before that,” Theart recalls. “It didn’t give people much chance to get over to see us, but by the end of our set, it was always packed out.”

Theart, 30, speaks like a man joyously committed to extending his adolescence, albeit on a larger stage than he envisioned while growing up in South Africa. His formative years were spent on an isolated banana farm, singing along to Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. “I loved the way he pronounced the words and the way he wrote. People say to me: ‘Ooh, you listen to Bon Jovi? That’s pretty gay!’ Well, each to their own, eh?”

That laissez-faire attitude has fuelled the survival and success of what might be dubbed “the United Nations of metal”, with other members hailing from England, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the Ukraine. “We take the piss out of each other all the time,” Theart chortles.

Since initially emerging as an MP3.com sensation in 2000, DragonForce has never been shy about citing its influences. That comes through on its new studio album, Inhuman Rampage. Epic tracks such as 'Operation Ground and Pound' and 'Revolution Deathsquad' feature musical quotes from vintage video games and hyperbolic fantasy lyrics that sometimes borrow from bands like HammerFall and Metallica. Additionally, even keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov and new bassist Frédéric Leclercq get solo spots. It’s a nonstop barrage of fun.

And that’s exactly what Theart likes in concert, too: “We want people to come out and have a good time. Kids nowadays don’t know what the ’80s live-rock scene was like, putting on an awesome show with lots of crowd interaction. Our goal is to re-create that atmosphere.”



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