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Dragonforce – Ultra Beatdown

Label: Roadrunner Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba
Dragonforce are one of the most talked about bands in heavy metal today and it seems that you either love them or hate them. I personally love them and get a lot of shit for it from my power metal buddies and you know what I tell them? Go suck a juice box!

I find this band to be extremely fun and entertaining and you can tell when you see them live that they are having the time of their lives. They do not take themselves so seriously, so why should you?

As a long time fan of power metal music do I wish Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Edguy and Blind Guardian would achieve the success Dragonforce has? Of course I do as those are some of my favorite bands ever and without them there would be no Dragonforce. But you know what?...Dragonforce are part of a great record label (Roadrunner) that pushes their artists to new heights (Slipknot, Nickelback) and the fans love it so I say GOOD FOR THEM. I am sure that if Edguy or Helloween were pushed the same way Dragonforce was they would be on Guitar Hero and playing the mainstage of Ozzfest too. But the reality is that those other bands (the creators of the power metal sound and style), just didn’t get that kind of attention unfortunately. This is what we have to accept and I am happy that music of this style is being recognized on an almost mainstream level. Now that they have made it big, I just wish Dragonforce would shed light on some of the other names from the Power Metal world so today’s generation of metal fans could be exposed to what else is out there.

Now that I have vented, lets get into the whole point of this which is the new album and how good, or bad, it is?
“Ultra Beatdown” is the fourth album from the Force and in my opinion their second best right behind the amazing “Sonic Firestorm” from 2004. The blazing speed of light power metal is still present four albums in but it appears that at times it is starting to give way to something else. I started saying after the release of 2006’s “Inhuman Rampage” that you can only take that sound so far before it starts to get burnt out.
“Heartbreak Armageddon”, the fifth track on the album is the first sign of this change on the album as it opens off a bit more mid paced with a nice keyboard arrangement sounding like something I have heard on a Pagan’s Mind album before it gives way back to their traditional sound. The next track “The Last Journey Home” is my favorite on the album and is by far the most different sounding track I have heard from this band. There are many different tempo changes and it is not a straight forward speed fest like the majority of their music. I truly hope that going forward with the band there are more songs along the lines of this one as this is truly a winner if you ask me. Album opener “Heroes of Our Time” is already a fan favorite as they started playing this one over the summer on the Rockstar Mayhem festival. When I just saw them headline in November the entire audience sang in union when the chorus hit. It is hands down one of my favorite Dragonforce songs as it just makes me feel good with its positive, uplifting vibe. "The Fire Still Burns" and "A Flame For Freedom" are also killer tracks.

Overall I am impressed with the latest offering from Dragonforce. I am really looking forward to seeing where they take things with the next album because like I mentioned, I feel that the nonstop speed is taking its course. If “The Last Journey Home” is any indication of what the boys have in store for us then I see an even bigger future ahead, if not it is possible that this could very well be their last journey home. Their fate is in their hands and it will be interesting to see what route they take. In the mean time do yourself a favor and pick up this album.

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