It’s been two years since DRAGONFORCE’S last album, which proved that the band is still capable of writing creative power metal and pushing their limits into creating epic songs. At last their new one Extreme Power Metal (out now, Metal Blade Records) is here! And even though it arrived with an unconventional name for a new album, the music is just as great as most of their previous releases. With only 10 tracks, it looks like the band is writing longer songs, which is something that I truly missed from the last few albums. Extreme Power Metal features a collaboration with Coen Janssen from EPICA on the keyboards. His work is extremely noticeable, and it has the power to put this release as one of DRAGONFORCE’S best albums to date. No questions asked.
Starting off, “Highway to Oblivion” offers a little bit of suspense to warm up the engines, immediately raising expectations. “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shed Machine” could use a shorter name. I like the solid drums that carry the intro and the melodic piano work that gives an additional element of fantasy. The chorus also falls within the description of “perfect for any situation”, and also something like “this sounds like an 80’s video game”. Awesome! “The Last Dragonborn” has an ancient Asian sound that just gives me desire to step into battle one more time. Marc Hudson even throws a few high and clean “yeahs” that absolutely pick up the momentum that goes along with the slow pace of the song.
“Heart Demolition” is probably my favorite song on the whole thing. The lyrics are very powerful, as I’ve identified with them for some time. This song has a solid rock theme that will make you want to sing sooner rather than later. “Troopers of the Stars” showcases the bass work to lead our visions towards our pleasant land of fantasy. This sounds like the typical DRAGONFORCE song in general, but it doesn’t slow down the dynamic of the album in any way. The pre-solo section is probably one of my favorites from this album as well. It has an inconsistent sound that also made me feel like taking a trip towards the stars.
“Razorblade Meltdown” has the trick of starting slow with some piano work, but after a few notes all the other instruments come riding in like heroes. “Strangers” has a very strong start with both guitars synchronizing their main melody and then continuing on with some scales to land softly into a slower combination of riffs that make it sound like a combat movie from the 80’s, including a legendary sound. “In a Skyforged Dream” starts off with a fast pace, like many of the bands songs, but once the voice takes its place, the guitar work takes control to make a heavy sound and we get to hear some short solos here and there as the main rhythm continues on in solid form.
“Remembrance Day” introduces the use of bagpipes, and it looks like it’s the typical slower song that the band HAS to include in all of their releases. Lastly, and surprisingly, “My Heart Will Go On” is the cherry at the top of the cake. A lot of things are possible in the world of metal, but a CELINE DION cover is usually not the way to go. Only a band like DRAGONFORCE (and maybe a few others) have the capability to transform a classic song into something new that gives us both joy and nostalgia (in a way). This track is way faster, but not as sentimental as CELINE DION’S, Overall it’s a short and sweet piece of music to enjoy. I can potentially see it in their setlists for many years down the road because… why not?
I’m sure that there are many people calling the band out for being “fake,” or not being able to play their own music live. That doesn’t matter; it’s what happens in the mind and the body once the play button is pressed, and it turns out that for the past 13 years, DRAGONFORCE is one of the very few bands that has the power to make the good times even greater. This is the power of the music. Extreme Power Metal should be seriously considered as one of the best DRAGONFORCE albums, not only because of the incredible creativity of each song, but also because the band is in another stage of their career today, and that’s a reflection of all the hard and consistent work showing what the band is capable of doing.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
RATING: 9.5 / 10