Ahhhh, Dragonforce. A band that elicits both extreme love and hate in the metal world. With The Power Within, they introduce a new singer, but we will see if that makes a difference in the acceptance of the band to those who may not enjoy their music. Now, I am a serious Power Metal fan. It makes up a good 1/3 of my music collection and is a style that I call my favorite. Dragonforce clearly fit into that genre, so I should be a fan, right? Well, I haven’t been up to this point. Maybe The Power Within will change my mind…
I know this album has been out for a short while now, but I was having trouble getting through the entire work and I realize I am a little late to the game. There are several problems I have with Dragonforce. The speed worship tends to make their songs sound much the same. The melodies they write are very “happy” – not that there is anything wrong with that – I just happen to like a bit more aggression. Worst of all, their actual riffing is essentially non-existent. If there is one thing that makes a metal band – and especially a Power Metal band – is the riffing. I am not talking about playing the same note and going through their chord progressions as fast as possible – I mean riffing. Yeah, Power Metal riffs may not be quite as intricate as some other genres (progressive, melodic death, thrash), but Dragonforce takes it to a boring extreme. I picked a song that I thought would demonstrate a good Power Metal riff – Iron Savior’s Battering Ram:
Dragonforce rarely engages in that kind of riffing. They are either going through their chord progressions playing 16th notes or power chords. That for me gets old after about 3 or 4 songs. I want some real variety in riffs. Mid-way through the song Give Me the Night, they do throw in some good riffs. It’s the first time on the album that got my head banging. I get it, they are fast, the guitar wizardry is outstanding. The technical ability is apparent. Solos all over the place. The lyrics are cheesy (I am OK with that – I do like this genre). The better songs on The Power Within are the ones with variety – Cry Thunder in particular, and the previously mentioned Give Me the Night. The essence of good music is the songwriting and I just don’t think Dragonforce writes good songs. Melodies? Perhaps. Good songs? Not so much.
This album probably isn’t going to sway the argument for or against Dragonforce. They don’t offer much of anything new that you haven’t already heard on one of their albums. The new singer didn’t make enough of an impact for me to suddenly push this album to the top of my playlist, nor is it something I will never listen to. It is Dragonforce and if you are familiar with them, you know almost exactly what you will get. This one is only for fans of the band.
Here is Give Me the Night (check at 2:30 for about 30 seconds)
I hear the sound in a METAL way.