DRAGONFORCE - The Power Within
April 23, 2012, 6 years ago
The Brits took great effort to announce the new album would downplay the ultra-fast guitars, in favor of a more traditional metal approach. Fret not speed freaks, from the opening ‘Holding On’ there are still plenty of singed fretboards. However, the key is, the music’s no longer balls out from start to finish. In fact, several tunes utilize the barrage of notes as the exception, preferring to write melodies and sing-along potential. Witness ‘Seasons’, a tune that anyone would be hard-pressed to pigeonhole as DRAGONFORCE, as it bears NONE of the hallmarks for which the band are known (and in some instances, reviled). As if to correct the situation, follow-up ‘Heart Of The Storm’ comes screaming out of the speakers from word one. Now shortened to just ‘Fallen World’, a track previewed on tour and announced as the fastest song in their repertoire, lives up to the hype, although ‘Give Me The Night’ is a worthy rival, even with its keyboard embellishment and pop sensibility., Elsewhere, ‘Cry Thunder’ another onstage debuted selection (as seen on YouTube, for those that didn’t make any of the live shows) is more of a German beer hall sing–along, especially the titular chorus. Even ‘Wings Of Liberty’, which starts as if a full-blown ballad, features some frenetic chugging guitars. There might be hundreds of songs entitled ‘Die By The Sword’ (most notably, SLAYER), this one a jovial power metal romp.
In addition to the nine proper cuts, there are all kinds of extra tracks: acoustic versions (‘Seasons’), live (‘Cry Thunder’), alternate takes (‘Heart Of The Storm’) and even an instrumental (‘Avant La Tempete’). Say what you want about the back catalog, but this is a more mature/refined/restrained (take your pick of adjective) effort, without forsaking what first brought them to prominence.