If you're not a big fan of Dragonforce, you probably at least know them for their epic tune/video Through The Fire And Flames, which showcased the band's incredible musicianship to varying reactions worldwide. Say what you want about the band, but they can play the shit out of some metal. And they do just that on their sixth studio album, Maximum Overload.
And for what it's worth, these cats make a pretty damn good power metal album. The trick is you have to remove all of the other stuff, the hype, the jeers, and what have you, and just listen to the album. Herman Li and Sam Totman make good music, especially when it's given room to breathe and not treated like a how-many-notes-can-they-cram-into-this-song contest.
On tracks like Three Hammers you get a better sense of the band's ability to set a mood and build up to a climax in a mature approach to songwriting that they're often dismissed for not having. There's even a nice bit of thrashy rhythyms thrown into the mix that works nicely as on Defenders which later gives way to a cool interlude (3:02) just before the solos blow shit up. And just wait until you check out the goodfeel™ vibe of Extraction Zone's interlude. I'm tellin' you, there's some good stuff going on here.
Vocalist Marc Hudson taking over vocal duties from ZP Theart - after ZP left due to musical differences - handles his role ably, sounding like a cross between Ted Leonard (Enchant) and Max Bacon (GTR). The rest is up to Li and Totman as the axe-wielding dynamic duo, and their familiar panoply of licks and crazy guitar sounds fit the mood of the music for the most part, if occasionally threatening to undermine the more impressive moments - but hey, they've got a signature sound. Nothing wrong with that. If it ain't your cup o' tea, there's other bands out there.
The Bottom Line: The band's detractors who say that Dragonforce is all gimmicks haven't listened through a entire album, I can almost guarantee it. These lads are just making good old-fashioned power metal and clearly having a blast doing what they do for a living. So what's the problem?
- Genghis fears the prospect of actually headbanging to Dragonforce in real-time...