Album Review: DRAGONFORCE Extreme Power Metal
DragonForce might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think there’s a lot to like. They’re brand of metal has been consistent for many years. Therein lies the rub, the consistancy has led to good albums, but not great albums. Their 2017 release, Reaching Into Infinity, certainly had some gems, but it’s a difficult task to recall some of those gems. Their new album, Extremely Power Metal appears to follow a similar trend.
There’s so much familiarity on Extreme Power Metal that it can quickly become detrimental to your enjoyment. After a short while, this album becomes everything that we know from DragonForce several times over. Is it fast? Of course. Are the lyrics of power metal, fantasy-type lore? Yes. But as a result, many if not all of these songs could be mixed into other albums and you’d never be able to tell the difference. It’s a similar issue I experienced with Reaching Into Infinity. Not that there’s anything wrong with consistency, but I don’t think that’s what made DragonForce remarkable in the first place. They have pushed the envelope and the boundaries of power metal constantly, even if it wasn’t particularly popular. On Reaching Into Infinity, and Extreme Power Metal as well, they seemed to have slipped into a bit of a lull.
The bulk of the album’s tracks fit into every DragonForce stereotype, particularly “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine”, which is at a raging fast speed, has a lengthy solo section, and clocks in around 6.5 minutes. The opening track “Highway to Oblivion” is so DragonForce that it would be at home right next to “Through The Fire And Flames”. Again, it’s not bad, it’s just that it’s a little too familiar. However, when a song is a little slower paced, it gives more room for melody and the catchiness of Marc Hudson’s vocals to shine through. I would say that “Strangers” is my favorite song off of the album strictly due to how catchy the chorus is.
"Highway to Oblivion"
There are a couple of tracks that stretch their imagination a little further than normal and contain a lot more of the traits of fantasy-based power metal. “The Last Dragonborn” is a Dio-flavored track, and “Remembrance Day” takes another leap by beginning with a bagpipe processional. There’s also a cover of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, which was cute, but any Stevie T on YouTube has probably already made a similar sounding cover. For me, these brief moments away from the common DragonForce formula didn’t quite hit the mark. They’re not bad songs, but I don’t think these are going go down in history as the band’s better songs. They’re certainly not going to be considered their most memorable.
Again, there’s absolutely something to be said for consistency, and DragonForce has been extremely consistent throughout their career. Extreme Power Metal isn’t a stinker, it’s just not particularly engaging. I find myself skipping most of the songs and going straight to “Strangers” when I give Extreme Power Metal a go. To put it succinctly, it’s an ok album. Check it out if you’re already a fan, but this won’t be the album to convert the non-believers.
The artwork is pretty killer though.