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Review: Dragonforce - Ultra Beatdown
Dragonforce
www.dragonforce.com
Ultra Beatdown

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 77:11
Tracks: 11
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: August 27, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating
for:
Ultra Beatdown

Rated 2.78/5 (55.5%) (40 Votes)
Review


Ah, here we have one that will reel in a lot of unneeded shit. DragonForce, long having become a joke in the Metal scene - and rightfully so; anyone who takes them seriously is perhaps the real butt of the joke! - have here their fourth long player in what will probably be an extensive career. Fresh off their stint with Guitar Hero and their weakest effort to date, the rather uncatchy Inhuman Rampage, this new album is called Ultra Beatdown. Yes, you may read that again, and then you can look at the ridiculously rogueish and gaily colorful album artwork, and while you may snigger or scoff, go ahead and try to tell me with a straight face that DragonForce have not perfectly summed up their music with all of this so-called faggotry. Seriously, isn't that what these things are supposed to do in the first place?

Anyway, the music here is a step up from the rather faceless tunes on the previous album. Here DragonForce embrace a style that is pretty much right in the middle of the styles they've been playing since their inception, with the polished production and Pro Tools-inspired wizardry of Inhuman Rampage and the songwriting dynamic of Sonic Firestorm, which is still their best album to this day. Right from the opening bombast of "Heroes Of Our Time," we know it's DragonForce, and they don't let you forget that with other great songs like "The Fire Still Burns," "Reasons to Live," and especially the 8 minute tour de force of "The Long Journey Home" with its slow stomp and mature vocal performance - their best song in years!

The ballad, "A Flame for Freedom," is a very 80s glam inspired piece, so that means you might want to ready your barf-buckets, but me, I think this is pretty good, if not excessively sappy. Then you get "Inside the Winterstorm," with its flurry of melodic icicles stabbing at your bare flesh, and it's a good song, if not a bit too hyperactive, with a few slower sections that just don't connect. But damn, just listen to some of those melodies, very frigid and regal. The bonus tracks include the super-catchy "Strike of the Ninja," the pulverizing "Scars of Yesterday" and the fiery, triumphant flair of the intriguingly titled "E.P.M.," all good songs well worthy of being on the final album.

I think people are missing the point when it comes to these guys. They're an enjoyable band. They make fun songs to sing along to and pump your fist along with. They're catchy as fuck, too. That's it. They'll never be a legendary band or an essential one, with their frenetic approach to songwriting, but if they keep making albums this fun and replayable, I'll keep listening to them. Ultra Beatdown is the album DragonForce fans have been waiting for, with every performer giving 110% energy into songs as catchy as they are melodic and powerful. Recommended.


Track Listing:
  1. Heroes Of Our Time
  2. The Fire Still Burns
  3. Reasons To Live
  4. Heartbreak Armageddon
  5. The Long Journey Home
  6. A Flame For Freedom
  7. Inside The Winter Storm
  8. The Warrior Inside
  9. Strike Of The Ninja (Japan Bonus track)
  10. Scars Of Yesterday (Japan Bonus track)
  11. E.P.M. (Japan Bonus track)
Other related information on the site
Review: Inhuman Rampage (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Reaching into Infinity (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Sonic Firestorm (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Power Within (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Twilight Dementia (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Ultra Beatdown (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Valley of the Damned (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Valley of the Damned (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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