Euro-metal band Dragonforce released its latest album to American audiences this week. Maximum Overload, the band’s sixth full length studio effort, is an aptly titled record. That is because the album pushes the envelope of power metal from start to finish on this album. From the album’s pummeling opening number ‘The Game’ to the full throttle ‘Defenders’ to the album’s equally nonstop pounding instrumental closer ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ the members of Dragonforce leave listeners breathless by the album’s end.’ Listeners will agree that by the time the album finally ends—it runs a total of fifteen tracks and just over an hour—they have on their hands some of the best work that the band has crafted to date.
Dragonforce wastes no time getting things moving on its new album. The band opens the album at breakneck speed in ‘The Game.’ The song initially comes across as being rather nihilistic. But the reality of the song is that it is in fact a song that presents hope through all of the negativity in the world. New front man Marc Hudson starts out singing of life’s difficulties, “Messed up once again/Told me it’s okay/But this path that I’m taking/I’m lost in the deep end…I tried/So hard/To reach for the stars/But I failed you all/Tried to keep standing tall/Never had a real chance at all/But I’m still searching. That final line in which Hudson states “But I’m still searching” is a hint at the ability of the song’s subject to keep pushing on somehow despite so many negative thoughts. That mix of emotions and strained thoughts continues late in the song as Hudson sings, “Ten thousand ways to say sorry/But life writes its own tragic story/Time marches onwards and nothing can ever be the same/But we’ll pray for a brighter tomorrow/Break free from this lifetime of sorrow/Years pass us by/But we’re all just a part of the game.” In its own way, the song is presenting an image of someone pushing on through everything despite what seems like a battle with his or her own personal emotional demons. Said figure won’t let those negative emotions take over no matter how many years pass. This is just one critic’s own take on this song. So it could very well be wrong. If it is in fact incorrect, then apologies go out to the members of Dragonforce for the misinterpretation. But it certainly seems to present that message of determination through the toughest of emotional odds. That seeming positive lyrical message set alongside the pummeling dual guitar attack from Herman Li and Sam Totman, and drummer Gee Anzalone’s machine gun-like drumming makes even clearer why this song was chosen to open Maximum Overload. The band doesn’t stop here, either. Rather, it keeps the energy flowing well into the red and beyond right into the album’s midpoint, ‘Defenders.’
The seeming positive lyrical message presented by Dragonforce in Maximum Overload’s opener is echoed even more clearly as the album reaches its midpoint, ‘Defenders.’ Hudson sings in this song that there are those in this world that will try to bring others down. But one can’t let those people win. He sings of those people, “Life’s uncertain/A rat race of pain/Endlessly searching for more/Hopeless and aimless/Held back by the chains/Until we can’t take anymore.” For all of the obstacles in life—both physical and emotional—Hudson reminds listeners that they should not give in or give up. He goes on to sing, “Hold on/Stay strong/Breaking out from a past life fading/No more/What for/All we got is to keep on praying/Wait for their downfall/Their lives in dismay/Witness the final decay/Suffering in silence/For years we were blind/But now we got something to say.” It’s almost as if Hudson is saying to the band’s audiences to let life’s obstacles destroy themselves whether they be other people or some other obstacle. As with the album’s opener, the band keeps the energy going full throttle in this song. That energy serves to make the song even more hard hitting and even more of a valuable addition to the album in whole.
The members of Dragonforce show time and again throughout the course of Maximum Overload their high level of talent. That is clearly evident in the songs already noted here. The album’s closer, ‘Galactic Astro Domination,’ more than exhibits that talent, though. Anyone that is familiar with the work of Dragonforce’s American counterparts in Powerglove will agree that Dragonforce takes the similar sound crafted by that band and ups it by a factor of at least one hundred in this full-on instrumental attack. And considering the nonstop adrenaline rush experienced throughout the songs that precede this one, it makes for a fitting final statement from Dragonforce on its new album. Whether it be for this full throttle finale, the other pieces noted or those equally driving pieces not noted here, fans of Dragonforce will find plenty of positives throughout this latest release from start to finish. Those fans will likely also find this album playing in their CD players and MP3 players quite a bit as a result.
Maximum Overload is available in stores and online now. It can also be purchased at any of the concerts on the band’s upcoming European tour. That tour will kick off Wednesday, September 17th at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. It runs through February 1st, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. The band’s current tour schedule, news, and latest updates are all available online now at http://www.metalblade.com/dragonforce, http://www.facebook.com/dragonforce, and http://twitter.com/dragonforcehq. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.