Courtesy: Metal Blade Records
Veteran power metal outfit Dragonforce returned with its latest full-length studio recording late this past September. The group’s new album Extreme Power Metal – the band’s eighth album – comes almost three years after the release of its most recent album, Reaching Into Infinity (2017). The 10-song, 52-minute record is a presentation of everything that makes power metal so great despite it being so cheesy. The band embraced that cheese-factor completely here for the most part. Though there was at least one serious moment late in the album’s run in the form of ‘Remembrance Day.’ For those who may be less familiar with history, Remembrance Day is the European equivalent to Veterans Day. For all the American songs about Veterans Day and Memorial Day, this song gives its own take on one of the world’s most important moments in history, and definitely stands out in this record. It is just one of the album’s most notable entries. ‘Heart Demolition’ fully embraces that full-on cheese of 80s power metal but makes it even better, too. It deserves its own share of attention. ‘Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine’ boasts its own positives along with the other noted songs and the rest of the album’s offerings. When it is considered alongside those works, the whole of this album proves to be a work that Dragonforce’s fans will enjoy just as much as power metal fans in general.
Dragonforce’s latest full-length studio recording Extreme Power Metal is an *ahem* “extreme”-ly enjoyable work from this veteran power metal outfit. From the video-game inspired works ‘The Last Dragonborn’ and ‘In A Skyforged Dream’ to the Starship Troopers inspired ‘Troopers of the Stars’ to the wildly amped up cover of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and beyond, this record offers everything that makes power metal so delightfully cheesy yet enjoyable at the same time. For all of the cheese already noted, the album does have at least one slightly more serious moment late in its run in the form of ‘Remembrance Day.’ The song is a moving tribute to those who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice. As the title notes, it is centered on Remembrance Day, the European equivalent to America’s Veterans Day. The song’s musical arrangement instantly lends itself to works from the likes of Manowar, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and other similar acts with its bagpipes, soaring guitars, cymbal accents and equally powerful vocals (especially in the choruses). It is a moving work that easily stands out as one of this record’s most notable entries and will certainly move any listener emotionally thanks to that arrangement. The arrangement is just part of what makes the song so moving. Its lyrical content is just as powerful as its musical content.
Front man Marc Hudson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Fallen souls in fields afar/Eternal hearts afire/Rows and rows of endless ghosts/Their memories inspire/Dreams of glory/Dreams of war/A generation died/Through the trenches, hear their songs/And wear their badge with pride/Stand up and fight/March at first light/Into the great battle we ride/Onwards tonight/Wait for the strike/Brothers in arms we unite/Guardians of heaven/In the night sky together/Remembered forever/Through the centuries of time/Honor and glory/We salute you the fallen/United we stand/The hearts of great men/We’ll raise our flag high/For the heroes lost in time.” Hudson continues in the song’s second verse, “Photographs of sons long gone/A dusty picture frame/Crosses stand on foreign lands/their memories never fade/Fields now green which once were scarred/A million warriors lay/Hear the stories gone untold/On this remembrance day.” He adds in the song’s final verse, “For the King, for our Queen/For the glory of our great country/Over land, on the sea/For our homeland we fight/Fight to be free.” This is a very well-written work and tribute to those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice during World War I. Given, it is aimed mostly at the European forces who served during the war, but it leaves even American audiences thinking about their own ancestors who served alongside those British and other Allied forces who fought to keep the world free from tyranny. It is a work that will certainly last just as long as the memory of those brave warriors, and is just one example of what makes this five-minute-plus opus such an important part of Extreme Power Metal’s whole. ‘Heart Demolition’ is another of the album’s most noteworthy works.
‘Heart Demolition’ is a standard song about a broken relationships, but rather than just being the run-of-the-mill “oh woe is me” sort of song, the band has made this work into a positive work both musically and lyrically. This song’s arrangement easily lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Stratovarius, with its full-on shredding, near warp speed drumming, and bombastic guitar solos and soaring vocals. The energy in the song’s arrangement makes it a work that also gives it a certain 80s hair metal vibe that works just as well as the more power metal element in the composition. The whole of the arrangement’s elements makes the work in whole its own standout opus that is sure to be another fan favorite. Of course the song’s arrangement is just one part of what makes it stand out. As noted, this song is another familiar work that focuses on the issue of a broken relationship. The catch is that the song doesn’t take the standard oh woe is me attitude that so many breakup songs take. Rather, it takes a more positive note in this case.
Hudson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Sometimes I wonder/If love has a meaning/Feels like the sadness won’t end/Sometimes I wonder/Why do we try/We’re looking for answers in vain/Every step I’ve taken/Led me closer to the edge/And I’ve fallen, I’ve fallen/And there’s no way to return/Lost and mistreated/By your words and by your promises/The lies were ephemeral/But the truth won’t fade away/Live it up, live it up/And I know I’ll find the courage to be free again/The sun comes after rain/Live it up, live it up/The struggle has been real/But now I’ve got/I’ve gotta break these chains/Don’t wanna be another victim of love/No knife through my heart/Why don’t you let me go/Don’t wanna be another victim of love/I’ve done it times before/I won’t get fooled again, and again.” This is pretty much outright. This is someone who has gone through a lot of negative emotions in terms of dealing with past relationships, but still sees the positive and has moved beyond those lesser times. Hudson continues in the song’s second verse, “How many hours have we both wasted/Our life was written in sand/We took our chances, but love turned into hate/Nothing left but anger and pain/Our story turned to poison and we just drank it all/It was burning down our throat/and flowing through our veins/The passion, the fury/Nothing was like it was meant to be/The truth is hard to face/But I’m done looking away.” From here, he and his band mates return to the song’s chorus, with its more optimistic lyrics before finishing things off just as optimistically in the song’s third and final verse, singing, “And I know it will be fine/And I know that time will heal it all/And one day you will believe again/’Cause I know/Yes, I know/So for now, let it go.” Again, here we have someone who is moving past the trials and tribulations of that past, broken relationship and who is looking to the future rather than the past. Given, it’s hardly the first time that any act has ever crafted a song that is directed in a more positive direction, in regards to songs about broken relationships. That aside, any time any act opts to take that route instead of the standard oh woe is me route, it is something welcome, and it is just as welcome here as from any other act. The song’s musical arrangement helps to heighten that feeling. All things considered, they make the song in whole stand firmly on its own merits, and in turn show even more why it is such a strong addition to the record. Even as positive as the song is, it is just one more of the examples of what makes Extreme Power Metal another strong effort from one of the top acts in the power metal realm. ‘Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine’ boasts its own positives.
‘Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine’ is full-on power shred metal. From the high-speed drumming to the familiar power chords and general riffing and operatic vocals, it is everything that audiences have come to expect from Dragonforce throughout the course of the band’s existence. To that end, little else needs to be said of this arrangement. Rather the focus should be more here on the song’s lyrical content.
Lyrically speaking, this song is full on science fiction. There are references here to Star Trek (mention of the neutral zone and where no man has gone before) and even the general search for a new world on which to live. Hudson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Future worlds of magic and mystery/Our eternal path to search/And find out new horizons/Far and wide, to the end of the galaxy/Onwards through time/Striving to find/Answers to all of our dreams/Finding the path through the universe/Under the sign of our true star fleet/A brave new world/A brand new hope/A shining star so far from home/A brighter place/The terra prime/under power of cosmic light/here we stand alone at the frontier/the future of mankind/A brave new world/A brand new hope/A shining star to save our souls tonight.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Realms of fear when our two worlds collide/Someone help us now to find our way out of this black hole/Zero hour to defend what we left behind/Armageddon’s near, but still we answer the call/Lost an alone in the neutral zone/Fear of the doomsday machine/Set the path through the stratosphere/Blazing like fire through the galaxy.” He adds in the song’s third and final verse, “Lost in the abyss/Out here in the void/The last solar flare/A system destroyed/By the light of the dark inferno/our starship will burn/Where no man has gone before us/And none shall return.” One could argue that there are references here to Disney’s classic 1979 science fiction flick Black Hole considering the black hole mention, and to Paramount Pictures’ 1951 sci-fi epic When Worlds Collide with the mention of “Realms of fear when two worlds collide.” Regardless of whether the song is referencing one sci-fi work or many, the fact of the matter remains that this is just a fun, full-on sci-fi work that is sure to entertain the masses. It will entertain just as much as the band’s tributes to the modern b-flick Starship Troopers, the video game-inspired works ‘The Last Dragonborn’ and ‘In A Skyforged and the band’s take on Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On.’ Between those songs, the work noted here and the rest of the songs featured in this album, it is clear that Dragonforce’s members are not taking themselves seriously by any means this time out, and are just having fun. That fun translates well here, and leads to audiences having just as much fun listening to the record from start to end. In the end, listeners will agree that Extreme Power Metal is just as enjoyable a record from Dragonforce as any of the band’s previous works.
Dragonforce’s latest full-length studio album is yet another enjoyable offering from the veteran power metal outfit. That is proven throughout the record, with its mix of familiar power metal arrangements and through its equally fun lyrical themes. From songs that were inspired by video games, to songs inspired by science fiction literature and cinema to a wildly entertaining, amped up take on an annoying romance song from an equally annoying singer (Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’) to the seemingly more serious note of ‘Razorblade Meltdown’ and the more positive post breakup song that is ‘Heart Demolition’ and the moving military tribute of ‘Remembrance Day’ and more, the album offers listeners plenty to appreciate throughout its almost hourlong run time. That is both in terms of the songs’ musical and lyrical content. Keeping that in mind, the album proves overall, to be an “extreme”-ly enjoyable new offering from Dragonforce. The band wrapped the UK leg of its tour in support of Extreme Power Metal this week. It will launch the next leg of its tour across Europe in February. More information on the band’s upcoming live dates are available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
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