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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Dragonforce - 2003 Valley Of The Damned
Dragonforce - 2003 Valley Of The Damned

ARTIST: Dragonforce
ALBUM: Valley Of The Damned
LABEL: Noise Records
SERIAL: N-0373-2
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Z.P Theart - vocals * Herman Li - guitars, vocals * Sam Totman - guitars * Vadim Pruzhanov - keyboards, piano * Didier Almouzni - drums

Additional musicians
Diccon Harper - bass * Clive Nolan - backing vocals, additional keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Invocation Of Apocalyptic Evil * 02 Valley Of The Damned * 03 Black Fire * 04 Black Winter Night * 05 Starfire * 06 Disciples Of Babylon * 07 Revelations * 08 Evening Star * 09 Heart Of A Dragon


Dragonforce can best be described as pure British blitzkreig! Based in London, the band are in fact an international league of nations, comprising members who scatter the globe: Hong Kong, England, South Africa, France and Ukraine to be exact. Previously going under the handle of Dragonheart, the band changed names to avoid confusion with other similarly named outfits. Though this is their debut album, Dragonforce already have a wealth of experience behind them. Tours with Halford, Stratovarius and Virgin Steele, plus their own headling tour of the UK, and of course those super-popular demos on their website, which saw over a half million downloads. Wow! Dragonforce musically combine melodic power metal, infused with speed metal, though the overiding sense of melody is always apparent. The guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman (who incidentally had an upbringing here in NZ!) are absolute killers on the fretboard. There are some moments where they slow precedings down to the point where the brakes are applied, but generally the feet and toes are tapping relentlessly, courtesy of French drummer extraordinaire Didier Almouzni.

The Songs
Apart from the brief interlude, things get underway with the blistering title track. Starting out at medium pace, it doesn't take long for the speed to accelerate to Warp Factor 9 - frenetic stuff. The horse-strangling guitar solos are supplied by Herman 'Shred' Li, an interesting style he has too! There's no letting up on 'Black Fire', in fact I'm sure they go faster on this one, though they do take a brief respite during the mid section, perhaps to catch their breath? 'Black Winter Night' is as complete a prog metal riff-fest as you're likely to hear - broken down into segments: the power metal intro, neo-classical/speed shredding, keyboard parps, and dramatic storytelling of warriors and battles! The band take time out from the speed burnout showcasing a late 80's hard rock style for 'Starfire'. Next track 'Disciples Of Babylon' sees a return to the pneumatic drill like guitarwork and machinegun style drumming, likewise with the buzz-lightyear approach of 'Revelations'. Not a band to finish with a whimper, the onslaught continues through to the end, the into glory-ride lyrics on 'Evening Star' offset by the ray-gun type guitar effects, while 'Heart Of A Dragon' sounds so upbeat and happy despite the title and lyrics. I'm sure it wasn't done on purpose.

In Summary
A pretty amazing debut album all up, one for the headbangers among us. The sheer dexterity that Dragonforce commit to their craft defies belief sometimes. Fan of power, speed, neo-classical, and traditional HM (albeit playing at about hundred times faster) should find some enjoyment with this lot. Be warned though, industrial strength headphones are required!

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