In the world of metal, we can all agree that everything does not necessarily involve growls, headbanging, and evil. There are complete opposite subgenres within the same kind of music, and there’s one that I’ve never really complained about: power metal. Controversy is usually involved in this genre because of the number of instruments and effects that are used to play one single song: “the keyboards this”, “the solos that”, “fast-paced drums all the time”, etc. Regardless of the brutal critiques aimed towards power metal, truth is that it’s a genre that almost anybody can listen to and enjoy.
DRAGONFORCE is a British power metal band that has been producing what is often called “Nintendo Metal” for us since 1999. I will never forget the first time I hit play on “Through the Fire and Flames” back in 2006 after I came back home from Ozzfest that year. It was a crucial moment in my metal life, and now, almost twenty years and many albums later, once again DRAGONFORCE has released a new album full of crazy solos, weird electronic sounds, high notes and accelerated heart rate material.
Reaching Into Infinity (out now, Metal Blade Records) is a piece of gold with one hour of material for you to cheer up to the sky and stay there for as long as you hear the music and so on. With this record, Marc Hudson (vocals), Herman Li (guitar), Sam Totman (guitar), Gee Anzalone (drums), Vadim Pruzhanov (keyboards) and Frédéric Leclercq (bass) have demonstrated that their musical ability is incredibly synchronized for the creation of these new songs. Let’s check out the tracks, shall we?
“Reaching Into Infinity” is the intro, then “Ashes of the Dawn” is freaking amazing. So far, one of my favorite songs from the album, leaning it’s path to “Judgement Day”, which has a pop-ish intro, but it doesn’t let down the band’s style of fast songs with complex changes from time to time. “Astral Empire” starts off with some drum work, but then introduces the melodic riffing to keep the speed going up. “Curse of Darkness” is another phenomenal song, it has a little suspense going on and it’s also one of my favorites. “Silence” takes everything back and calms down the vibe for a few minutes. It is the typical inspirational song that’s always included on a DRAGONFORCE release.
“Midnight Madness” comes back again with a hyper-happy song and “War!” is a complex tune that can probably turn anyone’s fingers into pieces who tries to play it. “Land of Shattered Dreams” keeps the flow going only to land at “The Edge of the World”, which is currently DRAGONFORCE’S longest song ever. For me great albums always contain one long song, and this supports my statement. “Our Final Stand” closes the albums as a clear, but not calm track.
It felt amazing to listen to this album again, and again, and again during the last few days. DRAGONFORCE is definitely my favorite power metal band, putting aside the negativity that has been around them, mostly when it comes to questioning their own ability to play their own songs. After seeing them live three times, I haven’t found a reason to complain. In fact, thanks to Guitar Hero I’ve even gotten my sisters to like this band. Reaching Into Infinity is definitely an amazing album.
It’d be too soon to tell where it ranks in the band’s history, but the record rocks, and it does pretty well to spice up my daily routine and give me some motivation. I hope that you guys enjoy it when you have the chance to listen to it, and please don’t forget to support your favorite bands for as long as you want to be part of this weird metal family.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Ashes of the Dawn”, “Judgement Day”, “Curse of Darkness”, “War!”, “Land of Shattered Dreams”, “The Edge of the World”