Dragonforce – In the Line of Fire…Larger Than Live

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On 3 July 2015
Last modified:2 July 2015


If band positions on festivals were awarded based on soldiering on in the face of adversity, Dragonforce would have headlined Download moons ago. Loved and hated in equal measures across the UK, they’ve battled through lineup changes, the wrath of Machine Head and Trivium fans on 2007’s ‘Black Crusade’ tour and then picked up the rather demeaning moniker of ‘That Band from Guitar Hero’. Couple that with a somewhat wane in popularity over here recently and you’d think they were all but finished. Not so. They had the Maverick tent at this year’s shenanigans at Donington Park overflowing and now they’ve brought out their debut live DVD. Recorded at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan (a country that has always warmly received them well) when they headlined the second stage at Loud Park Festival 2014, it’s interspersed with Behind the Scenes footage of the band on their off days and what they get up to when they’re not on stage. It’s also the first release with new drummer Gee Anzalone, who joined before the release of latest album Maximum Overload but did not play on the record.

Given that the band decided a few years ago that performing sober was the way forward, the live performance is second-to-none. Tight as a drum and whipping up the 37,000 strong crowd into a frenzy, they sound fantastic in every respect. From the power of ‘Fury of the Storm’ to the beauty of ‘Seasons’ and even throwing in a rare gem in the form of ‘Black Winter Night’ from 2003’s Valley of the Damned, they’re inciting circle pits across the arena floor. Then there’s the big hitters in ‘Cry Thunder’, ‘Valley of the Damned’ and THAT song from the aforementioned Guitar Hero which naturally cause even more bedlam. Displaying an abundance of energy and a set worthy of headlining the second stage, it’s a triumph in every aspect. They also found the time to learn a bit of Japanese in order to speak to the crowd in their mother tongue which is a wonderful touch. It’s also expertly shot and edited to give every single viewer as epic an experience as possible. The Behind the Scenes excerpts give an great look into each band member’s own lives, from Sam Totman’s love of pinball machines to Frederic Leclerq jamming ‘Smoke on the Water’ with his parents and their tomfoolery inside the Resident Evil hotel. At no point do any of the members come across as arrogant or stand-offish; they’re incredibly humble and grateful of the opportunity they’ve been given to fly around the world and play music for a living, even thanking the stage crew and the fans for all the support over the years.

The issue, though, is this hasn’t been brought out as a documentary, but a live CD and DVD. With the setlist played that night at only 11 songs long (and even then opening track ‘Defenders’ isn’t present), there’s sometimes only one track played before we’re back to seeing what they get up to offstage, and that stalls the momentum. It’s a nice idea, but in reality it would have been far better to keep them separate and allow the viewers to power their way through the set and then relax by having the extra footage to watch afterwards. Of course, if this was being released as a look into the tour and the band member’s journeys to get to that point, with the concert spliced in between, then it would make perfect sense. As it isn’t, it’s a stop/start affair that brings you back to reality all too quickly. It’s a shame, because if it had been left in two halves it would have been exceptional; instead, it’s a little frustrating and disruptive.

Band lineup

Marc Hudson – vocals
Herman Li – guitar
Sam Totman – guitar
Frederic Leclerq – bass
Vadim Pruzhanov – keyboards
Gee Anzalone – drums

Track Listing (non-concert excerpts in italics)

Fury of the Storm
Three Hammers
Tokyo Party
Black Winter Night
Sam Off Tour
Fred – Life in France
Tomorrow’s Kings
Symphony of the Night
Gee’s Drums Journey
Japan’s Show Day
Cry Thunder
Behind the World Tour, Part 1
Marc’s Inspirations
Behind the World Tour, Part 2
Ring of Fire
Through the Fire and Flames
The Crew
Vadim Back Home
Herman’s Time Off
Valley of the Damned

About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.