It seems whenever a metal band like DragonForce has a little bit of mainstream success, the negative comments always pour in. I suppose it makes sense, as it widens their audience to more people to be openly critical, trolling or not. For better or for worse, it also puts a lot more pressure and scrutiny on these bands when they release new albums. But DragonForce has been on the slight-mainstream for quite some time, with Inhuman Rampage being over 10 years old now. They've put out several albums since then, all relatively keeping their signature sounds the same. And with their newest release Reaching Into Infinity out, we can see if things have yet again remained the same, or if we might get something new.
DragonForce has never been one to change up their formula much. Ever since the very beginning, their MO has been power metal at ridiculous speeds, and near-painfully extended guitar solos. This is what everyone knows of DragonForce, and this is also what everyone expects from DragonForce. However, like any band that’s been on the scene for several years, there are slight variations and progressions in their overall sound from album to album. Though, at the end of the day they’re still DragonForce, which makes news of an upcoming album fairly predictable in terms of what to expect. Now, predictable doesn’t necessarily have to mean bad or boring. There is a definite chance that it will, but it doesn’t have to be. And I firmly believe that applies to DragonForce and Reaching Into Infinity.
After a short intro track, Reaching Into Infinity opens up with “Ashes of the Dawn”. Honestly, when I first heard this song, I almost had to laugh, because this is just so DragonForce. I know that just stellar journalism, but I'm willing to bet you know exactly what it is I'm talking about. Dueling harmonies on guitar, frenetic skank beats on the drums, orchestral synthesized sounds, and triumphant lyrics about overcoming the darkness. Could this apply to many other power metal releases at any given time? Of course it can, but the particular DragonForce touch is there. Solos are still as extravagant as ever, the drums still never take a break, and Marc Hudson still lays down a catchy melody. DragonForce’s formula caught on for a very good reason from the beginning, and I think it still stands true today.
"Ashes Of The Dawn"
Ever since The Power Within, that band’s song lengths have gradually reduced little by little, which I think has made the songs even more memorable after a first listen. “Astral Empire” is probably the speediest song on the album, and with a respectable song length of around 5 minutes, I knew exactly where to go back to when I wanted to give it a re-listen. And on the other end of the spectrum, the album’s longest and slowest track, “The Edge of the World” clocks in at around 11 minutes, and also presents us with something new and unexpected; screamed vocals. Bandmates, like bassist Frédéric Leclercq have contributed to harsher vocal styles before, but this particular section sounds like Hudson bringing the house down with screamed vocals. If you want to talk about memorable moments in an album, this is probably the most memorable. It’s still in a relatively slow section, with lots of low-tuned double picking and excessive double-bass all the way through. All in all, it’s one of heaviest things I have ever heard from DragonForce.
"Curse Of Darkness"
Whether you like them or not, DragonForce appears to be here to stay. I for one love this prospect, and hope they continue to put out albums like this for years. Sure, not every album is going to be groundbreaking, and not every track is going to be a complete winner, but there are gems to be found everywhere. And that isn't to say that I'm going to be listening to this album from top to bottom for years to come, but when this album is good, it's pretty freaking good. Reaching Into Infinity is simply another great entry for DragonForce’s career. If you’ve avoided DragonForce for years now, maybe give this one a try and see if their progression is something you enjoy a little more.