There are very few bands in this world that hold a special place in my heart. As most of you can relate, those spots can only be given to artists that become an essential and influential element of your life. The magical thing is that special spot is that it can last forever. That exact thing happened to me the first time I hit play in 2006 on DRAGONFORCE’S, “Through the Fire and Flames.” Even though this band is widely critiqued by our fellow metalheads, there are lots of things about this “Nintendo Metal” that make me let go of everything. It makes me free, it makes me powerful, and hell yeah, it makes me happy! DRAGONFORCE finally came back to North America on a headlining tour supporting their album Reaching Into Infinity (out now, Metal Blade Records). Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill was about to host a fast-paced party in Dallas, TX!
DRAGONFORCE was about to step up on that stage for the first time in almost two years with a full complete set to play to the attendees. Starting off the night with a sensational dose of adrenaline was one of my favorite tracks from the new album: “Ashes of the Dawn” kicked off the night on a high note, followed by “Operation Ground and Pound”, which has been a must-play song for this band in recent years. The intro reminds me of any martial arts movie ever produced, and I enjoy it every single time. The fans were crazy enough to start a pit at this time, and they didn’t let it stop for a second.
Moving on, another new track from Reaching Into Infinity was brought up. “Judgement Day”, which is also one of my favorite songs from the record, fit in extremely well with the evening’s vibe. Another fast introduction to a dynamic song that only DRAGONFORCE can work out. This was followed by “Seasons”, which is a great piece of pop-ish music that’s featured on singer Marc Hudson’s debut album The Power Within. So far only four songs have been played, and it feels like it has been one of those great long days. Out of the new record as well, “Curse of Darkness” turned the vibe to something more evil for that moment.
After this, things only got even better. “Fury of the Storm” was introduced as an old school song. It got most of the fans crazy, and even though this is not really one of my favorite songs from their “old era”, I still enjoy how Marc manages to sing those high notes and add some style to it. After this, Frédéric Leclercq (bass) took out a sonic guitar and surprisingly managed to make it scream some great solos. It was a nice video game jam, along with some drum work from Gee Anzalone (drums).
Moving forward, I was super excited that the band played “Heart of a Dragon”. It took me back to my years in high school when I could only think of how great DRAGONFORCE was.
“The Edge of the World” is currently the band’s longest song, and it holds a steady pace with power built in its 11 minutes. DRAGONFORCE actually made some time to play this song and the fans gladly took this as part of the amazing experience that the British band offered.
“Cry Thunder” featured a really long chorus that everyone worked in different sections. The audience was so into it that the dynamic kept going for many minutes, making this experience an intimate one.
Now, moving to the encore, the best song that DRAGONFORCE has ever written (in my opinion) came out strong as always: “Valley of the Damned” turns me into a crazy human being every time, and takes away from me everything bad. After this song ended, JOHNNY CASH’S “Ring of Fire” also was an important part of the night. An extremely and calm song turned into something fast and different, and it was well-received by the fans as well.
To close the night, Herman Li and Sam Totman (guitars) nailed the introduction to “Through the Fire and Flames.” Always a great song to listen to as well, and as expected, the true fans were losing their minds for those long seven minutes. Everything worked out perfectly this night. DRAGONFORCE is a band that’s always going to be so fun to watch. I definitely had a great time at this gig, and it looked like everybody else did. I really hope these guys can continue writing music for us. Thanks for the great memories and for making some of us want to quit playing instruments because we’ll never be as fast.
LIVE IMAGES: RONNIE JACKSON PHOTOGRAPHY
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE