DRAGONFORCE – Valley Of The Damned

DRAGONFORCE - Valley Of The Damned


Release date: February 25, 2003

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I was on a British Airways 747 going from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, and while taxing out to the runway, I remember how impressed I was when the crew was introduced. I think I counted something like 17 different languages spoken by our flight attendants. Why this flash back? The first full length album by Dragonforce, where the script from Noise has the following piece of information:
Herman Li, guitars and backing vocals, is born in and speaks English, French and Cantonese. Sam Totman, more guitars, is born in England but grew up in New Zealand. ZP Theart, lead and backing vocals, is born in South Africa and speaks English (thank God) and African. Didier Almouzni plays drums and was is born in France. Apart from French, he is said to speak English as well, while Vadim Pruzhanov on keys is born in Ukraine and speaks English, Russian and Ukrainian. That, boys and girls, is Dragonforce to you, previously known as Dragonheart.
Impressed? Nah, wait until you put the CD on. Then you’ll be impressed. That is, if you like Freedom Call, Angra and of course, hope that the next Helloween album will be back to the roots.

Back to that promotional sheet; it’s kinda funny to see how the label describes the music. Hang on: “mix of modern melodic power metal with the fury of speed metal (…) catchy melodies that stick straight into your head, combined with outrageous speed, power and totally over the top dual guitar wizardry.” Wow, the label just described my favorite band these days better than I am able to myself; ANGRA. So let’s compare Dragonforce to Angra, as they can actually stand the comparison! The dual wizardry is dead on, Herman, whose hair is longer than all his guitar strings lined up one after one, and Sam make a stunning duo that performs with highly skilled technique and conviction. The singer is kind of soft, and should try to sing with just a little more power, because – Dragonforce is heavier and faster than Angra. ZP has a great voice though, ranging high up there, so don’t be mislead. There’s a slight touch of prog without taking away all the catchiness, more traditional prog than Angra, who use more of their Latin background in their masterpieces.

As for the Freedom Call comparison, I would say the melody structure is pretty similar. The verse builds up to a bridge, which is so good you believe it’s the main chorus, then a mighty over the top chorus takes over and sends the band right up to speed metal heaven. That’s simply what this is; a heavenly speed metal masterpiece, and a debut album that will be very hard to follow up. Please excuse me, I have to go and press play again…


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