Even though i’m a fan of Dragonforce, their previous album Ultra Beatdown in 2008 was patchy to say the least but their latest release The Power Within surpasses it with ease. The departure of long standing vocalist Z.P.Theart in 2010 may have cast a giant shadow over Dragonforce’s future but the addition of his replacement Marc Hudson has put them firmly back on track and hopefully will garner the respect they deserve. Dragonforce are excellent at what they do, a lightning speed melodic metal band. The Power Within is their 6th full length release and in my opinion, their strongest. 9 out of the 10 songs are about the 4-5 minute mark but still contain their trademark dual guitar workouts! I first saw them in 2007 playing below Machine Head and there were quite a few boo’s and catcalls from within the crowd during their set. I wonder how Robb Flynn and Phil Demmell from Machine Head would fare in a guitar battle with Herman Li and Sam Totman in front of that crowd?
So is The Power Within any good? As the guitar feedback on opening track Holding On gives way to the fist clenching guitars and ear splitting scream from new vocalist Marc Hudson there is no let up for the next 50 mins. It is Dragonforce’s heaviest album to date as there are no ballads to speak of apart from an acoustic version of album closer Seasons which is also included in electric format. Of course no Dragonforce song is complete without outrageous guitar solos and at 3 mins in during Holding On, Herman and Sam do not disappoint and the album is saturated with solos and fills throughout. Credit must also be given to the drumming of Dave Mackintosh who propels the album at breakneck speed! Fallen World begins with more guitar flurries, a high tempo number with a fine vocal and a killer drum/guitar workout at the 2.30 min mark. Cry Thunder, the 1st single lifted from the album follows. The main guitar theme is reminiscent of Gary Moore’s classic Over The Hills And Far Away. Cry Thunder is probably the most commercial song on The Power Within but still rocks hard with a huge chorus! Give Me The Night explodes with some intense riffing and can only be described as Journey playing at 100mph. The longest song on the album is next,the 7 min+ Wings Of Liberty. The minute long keyboard/lilting vocal hinted at a big ballad but some fast kick drums and a slamming guitar riff soon put that thought to rest with a tempo akin to Operation Ground And Pound from the Inhuman Rampage album with yet another powerful vocal from Marc Hudson. Seasons is next,the electric version is 1st whilst the acoustic version that closes the album is much better in my opinion as it sounds a lot better stripped down. The vocals on the heavier version dont do it for me and the song is saved by a stunning instrumental section. The tempo is risen by Heart Of The Storm with some insane drumming backing up the warp speed guitar riffs and solos. Die By The Sword is a signature Dragonforce power metal number with a minute long restrained guitar solo midway before finishing with a Manowar type stomp. Last Man Stands begins with another keyboard/vocal section before a killer twin harmony passage is joined by the pounding drums of Dave Mackintosh and another catchy chorus is followed by the best guitar solos put down on the album by far. Final track is the acoustic version of track 6 Seasons, a fine way to end the album with a sublime vocal by Marc Hudson.
As i said earlier, i think The Power Within is Dragonforce’s most complete album to date. They have played a few showcase gigs with Marc Hudson so far but a world tour is planned in 2012 taking in over 40 countries beginning in the UK on Sept.25th and the new material is sure to delight new fans and win over new ones! The Power Within was released on April 15th 2012 on Electric Generation Records, Dragonforce’s own label and distributed by Essential Music.
As well as the cd version there is a digital and album releases. The album’s bonus tracks are a live rehearsal version of Cry Thunder, Heart Of The Storm with an alternative chorus and an instrumental entitled Avant La Tempete.
There is an exclusive boxset available giving access to bonus material, a Dragonforce flag, Dragonforce flashlight/bottle opener and a set of 6 beermats featuring caricatures of each band member drawn by bassist Frederic Leclercq.
Dragonforce band line up :-
Herman Li- Guitars/Backing vocals.
Sam Totman- Guitars/Backing vocals.
Vadim Pruzhanov- Keyboards.
Dave Mackintosh- Drums.
Frederic Leclercq- Bass.
Marc Hudson- Lead vocals.
Track Listing :-
Give Me The Night.
Wings Of Liberty.
Heart Of The Storm.
Die By The Sword.
Last Man Stands.
Seasons (acoustic version).
I award The Power Within a return to form 10/10!