DragonForce - The Power Within review
|Album:||The Power Within|
|Release date:||April 2012|
01. Holding On
02. Fallen World
03. Cry Thunder
04. Give Me The Night
05. Wings Of Liberty
07. Heart Of The Storm
08. Die By The Sword
09. Last Man Stands
10. Seasons [acoustic version]
11. Cry Thunder [Live rehearsal] [digital edition bonus]
12. Heart Of The Storm [alternative chorus version] [digital edition bonus]
13. Avant La Tempête [digital edition bonus]
Ah Dragonforce, the band that gets pulverized with so much flak you'd think they're modern day Metallica... Or Anal Cunt during any period of recording. Dragonforce were actually the first band I listened to on my own initiative, and because of that, I've always had a soft spot for them, but suffice it to say, I'm well aware that most metalheads you'll ask don't like them. Will this album change their minds? Maybe. It's refreshing, but still definitely Dragonforce.
So first and foremost, let's address the obvious differentiating factor here. Marc Hudson. When I first listened to "Fallen World", I didn't even notice Dragonforce had acquired a new vocalist. It sounded a bit more nasally than I was used to, but I paid no heed. Eventually, as I listened to the rest of the album, I noticed a somewhat less... smug attitude. Dragonforce have always been a very smug band, with ZP and Herman leading the charge. But with Marc Hudson on mic, this seems to have changed... Most of that bullshit seems gone. There's an air of a band that has something to prove again, rather than the obnoxiously self-satisfied Ultra Beatdown. And that makes sense... most vocalist transitions go horribly. Changing vocalists completely changes the sound of a band... unless you find someone who sounds pretty much the same. Kudos DF.
While I do think The Power Within is quite the refresher, it begins on a decidedly well beaten path. The first single, "Fallen World", is your typical Dragonforce song. If you didn't like their music beforehand, it's not gonna grab ya. You will however, notice one very important exception about it. Remember those ungodly long guitar solos that used to lengthen their songs to Peter Jackson proportions? Well, you'll notice those are far less prevalent. Of course, that isn't to say there isn't one. They just managed to keep the song shorter than half an hour.
And really, that's the great thing about The Power Within. It feels like a straight shot of good bloody power metal. Not gone, but lessened is the guitar ejaculate of yesteryear, giving most of the songs on here a nice healthy balance of speed and melody. Instead of trying to violently impregnate your ears, they now merely wish to have consensual intercourse with them, perhaps on a fret board covered in roses. You get the best example of this on "Seasons", a downright MID-TEMPO song! On a Dragonforce album no less! And what's more... it's probably the best goddamn song on the album, featuring gloomy lyrics with an uplifting chorus that actually manages to cheer me up on a particularly bad day. "Give Me the Night" is another example of an excellent song, with a claustrophobic breakdown in the middle, lending credence to the song's more somber lyrics.
Having said all of this, you'll still find your usual Dragonforce traits here. Ultra-fast tempo in almost every song except the aforementioned "Seasons", an overall positive tone common in power metal, fantasy lyrics (the usual collision between the local Pathfinder society and Judas Priest), and of course, plenty of guitar wankery still left. If you've always hated Dragonforce, this isn't gonna change your mind. However, if you've been indifferent to them, try picking this one up, you'll find yourself enjoying it more than you'd expect. Oh, and if you're a Dragonforce fan, pick it up, if I haven't made that obvious enough.
|DragonForce are one of those bands who everyone seems to know about, yet next to no one admits to like. I'll admit, before The Power Within was released, I was in this group: Inhuman Rampage bored me to death and I didn't want to touch anything else they'd released because I'd heard that there wasn't a lot of variety in them. As such, I was prepared to dismiss this album, which wasn't helped by "Fallen World" sounding so much like a typical DragonForce song that I barely noticed the new singer. And then "Cry Thunder" was released...well, that changed everything, as I genuinely loved that song and made me eager to get it. Now I have this album, I have to say that I'm very glad that I got it, as it's very good: in fact, I would be prepared to argue that it is one of the best power metal releases for 2012.
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| R Lewis
That Useless Guy
| Darth Revan
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