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Ultra Beatdown - Dragonforce

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Dragonforce / Audio CD released 2008-08-25 at Roadrunner

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    4 Reviews
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      01.02.2009 18:43
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      7/10

      Dragonforce's 4th studio album to date, released in 2008
      1. Heroes Of Our Time - Classic Dragonforce, ridiculously fast riffs, verses and choruses. Followed by an epic 2 1/2 minute dual solo by Totman and Li. Thearts vocals really shine on this song. Great opening.
      2. Fire Still Burns - Not the best song on the album, rather mediocre compared to 1.
      3. Reasons To Live - Unbelievable opening section, literally all members playing as fast as physically possible. MacIntosh's gallops are more significant thus making the song more flowing.
      4. Heartbreak Armageddon - Headline track, although i see no reason why. Didnt like it all.
      5. Last Journey Home - Every Dragonforce album has that cheesy slower paced song that ruins the album. This doesnt fail to deliver that dissappointment.
      6. Flame For Freedom - Weird opera-lke start, sort of links in well with 5., which isnt a good thing. Contains a brilliant solo however.
      7. Inside The Winter Storm - For me, exactly the same sounding as 4.
      8. Warrior Inside - A good end to the album, makes up slightly for the poor tracks in the middle.

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      18.11.2008 11:34
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      Big girls!

      Over the years I have tried very hard to get in to Dragonforce as they have over the years been the most well known power metal band of the modern era from the UK. They just don't appeal at all though and this album is no different. The 2008 album Ultra Beatdown, the London band's 4th album.

      The guitar solos despite being lengthy and having a lot of intricate work are a little on the high pitched side for me, combined with the camp and weedy sounding vocals this almost gives off the sound of a trashy European dance band rather than a decent metal outfit. The musicians are undoubtedly talented and come up with some reasonable melodies albeit too high pitched for me but my main bone to pick with the band is South African born ZP Theart's vocals, I just can't get into them at all, he sounds like he'd be blown over by a paper bag. The lyrics are typical of the power metal genre, so there is lots of content about warriors and the like but with the lack of gritty character in the vocals, it's all far too twee to take seriously!

      However, if you have enjoyed Dragonforce's previous work - you will probably enjoy this too.

      1. "Heroes of Our Time" Totman, Li Totman 7:13
      2. "The Fire Still Burns" Totman, Theart Totman 7:53
      3. "Reasons to Live" Totman, Li Pruzhanov, Totman, Leclercq 6:26
      4. "Heartbreak Armageddon" Totman, Li Li, Totman, Leclercq 7:43
      5. "The Last Journey Home" Totman, Theart Totman 8:16
      6. "A Flame for Freedom" Totman Totman 5:20
      7. "Inside the Winter Storm" Totman, Theart Totman 8:12
      8. "The Warrior Inside" Pruzhanov, Totman Totman, Li, Theart 7:15
      9. "Strike of the Ninja" (Special edition bonus track) Totman, Theart 3:18
      10. "Scars of Yesterday" (Special edition bonus track) Totman, Li, Theart Pruzhanov, Leclercq 7:49
      11. "E.P.M." (Japanese only bonus track) 7:24

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      19.10.2008 14:23
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      It depends - you either love em or hate em!

      Dragonforce have long been known for their brilliantly engineered guitar shredding and Iron Maiden-esque vocals. And as perhaps the name suggests, they are full of Dungeons & Dragons inspired lyrics. You may know this band from the Guitar Hero III track "Through the Fire and Flames" (which is ridiculously hard to play!).

      Ultra Beatdown is another prime example of Dragonforce's talents, with melodic riffs galore and uplifting choruses. I also noticed that the keyboard and synth arrangements in this album are much more prominent than in past releases.

      Now let me make this clear, Ultra Beatdown is not for the light hearted.. it is really really REALLY loud head banging material. That rules out the possibility of your gran's next birthday present then i guess..

      As far as I can tell, Dragonforce are a "love-em or hate-em" kind of band, because of their ultimately cheesy licks that you can't help but love because of their technical difficulty.

      All in all, I loved this album, but I can easily see how many people would hate it. Maybe have a listen to their myspace page before buying?

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        22.08.2008 16:20
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        Two years in the making Dragonforce new album descends upon us...Yipee Kai Ay

        Dragonforce -Ultra Beatdown, A Review By Addy

        On the 26th of this month {August} the new Dragonforce album titled Ultra Beatdown will be available to us here in the U.K. Dragonforce are an extreme Power Metal band hailing from London, England and are mostly renowned for the incredible sporadic, fast, melodic lead guitar work. I have had the honour and privilege to see Dragonforce live in concert and the guitar work defies belief, their fingers and hands are almost a blur. These are often presented as twin-guitar harmonies in a speed metal style. Sadly this description can often lead to the assumption that it is just loud incoherent noise which is not the case. Dragonforce also incorporate into some of their songs computer game style background music. The way I would describe this is that some of the tracks have a background melody that to me is reminiscent of a carnival, I hope that makes sense. So it has been two long years since the release of the last album titled Inhuman Rampage since these guys are solidly touring, constantly! This is paying off big time with them getting recognised at least many folk are getting to know the name and they even have a track on one of the Guitar Heroes console games. With the release of Ultra Beatdown, Dragonforce now have four albums under their belt averaging two years between each album release.

        Current Band Line-up
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        ZP Theart - lead and backing vocals
        Herman Li - lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
        Sam Totman - lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
        Vadim Pruzhanov - keyboards, piano, backing vocals
        Dave Mackintosh - drums, backing vocals
        Frédéric Leclercq - bass, backing vocals

        The Album
        ~~~~~~~

        Band: Dragonforce
        Album Title: Ultra Beatdown
        Released: 26th August 2008
        Genre: Extreme Power Metal
        Length: 58:11
        Label: Roadrunner

        It's not going to be majorly different. But hopefully the melodies will be nicer, the guitar solos will be better, the production will be better. You just try to improve in every area. (Sam Totman)

        Track Listing and Length
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        1. "Heroes of Our Time" 7:14
        2. "The Fire Still Burns" 7:50
        3. "Reasons To Live" 6:26
        4. "Heartbreak Armageddon" 7:41
        5. "The Last Journey Home" 8:12
        6. "A Flame for Freedom" 5:20
        7. "Inside the Winter Storm" 8:12
        8. "The Warrior Inside" 7:15

        The Review
        ~~~~~~~~

        Heroes of Our Time: Starts things off and immediately it is all so familiar Dragonforce style. The album does not start off with a track gently easing you in but immediately engulfs you in the speed/power metal frenzy that is the bands forte. Once you get into the track however you do notice some subtle differences. Referring back to the Sam Totman quotation earlier in the review you begin to see the comments he made are being applied to the new album. What you have in essence is a somewhat tidier, refined Dragonforce. The Harmonies in this track as well as the others both vocally and musically are lush and very impressive. A theme prevalent in a fair number of Dragonforce tracks is the subject of freedom as is the case with Heroes of our Time. I'm not sure if it's because it is a subject close to their hearts but for me often the tracks with this theme are the better more catchy ones. The guitar solos are not as long as older tracks but equally as impressive. The track is like a motivational rally the troop's anthem as ZP chants

        "Glorious
        Forevermore in us
        We are victorious"

        The song is motivational and inspirational. I particularly love the last three lines and the way that it is sung, it is almost biblical and leaves no doubt as to the fact that they will prevail.

        "Our kingdom come, we stand as one
        And we will live for always
        Evermore"

        A truly Epic style shit hot start to the new album and leaves me wanting more.

        *5 OUT OF 5*

        Official Music Video available at:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbfo7fpGYvo

        Reasons To Live: Starts off very heavy initially and is not really the style associated with Dragonforce until the console game style background music comes in and the music turns to more familiar tunes. 'Reasons to Live' isn't a wondrous track but is a good one and welcome on the album. Mid way the music takes a turn again to unfamiliar territory and is more like an Avantasia melody. Surprisingly the guitar solos are very tame in comparison to much of their other music. It does come across in this part as a Metal Opera by Mr Tobias Sammet of Edguy and Avantasia fame. I also like the wolf whistle with the lead guitar which made me chuckle a bit. I wonder if this is just Dragonforce being creative or are they experiment with styles with the idea of eventually moving in other directions....I bloody well hope not. This track is a very interesting addition to the album. The other thing that stood out for me was the lyrics which have come on in leaps and bounds and show a different maturity to the band.

        *4 OUT OF 5*

        The Last Journey Home: is the first of two of my album favourites. Lasting for over eight minutes this track is a musical extravaganza blending beautifully a blend alternating between faster and slower music. There are significant amounts of melodic chanting and the lengthy guitar pieces are again developed since the last album and they are much sweeter and crisp. Though it is a modern speed metal track it makes you think of antiquity with warriors and the like. The musical creativeness of this track is flawless and everything comes together so well to create a fabulous track.

        *5 OUT OF 5*

        Listen to this track at:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwD8FGS45Fs

        Or with lyrics accompanied:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz_3z5IiIDs

        A Flame For Freedom: is the moment I have been waiting for. This is my second favourite track on the new album and slightly has my preference overall. Picture the scene..... Dirty, dejected, warriors huddled round camp fires begging for the slightest bit of warmth. Hunger in their bellies, food supplies are low, morale lower still and hope of lasting victory fading evermore further away. Suddenly upon the hill appears a lonesome figure and he bursts into song. The type of song that makes you dig deep down for that last piece of hope, that valour that inspired you to battle in the first instance and seeks to heal just a little of that weariness and hunger that tears at your very fabric of being. This is that song! This is the musical version of "A horse, my kingdom for a horse" Or the scene where Conan prays and says "What counts is that two stood against many" or when the Spartans stood at Thermopylae knowing death was inevitable. I have to risk offence and put it in my terms this song is the proverbial dogs bollocks. Every time I hear this song I actually believe him and it inspires so much so that if I was in that scenario I would take up my arms and once more to the fray. But hey this song is at the very core of what is essential. Democracy, freedom... man, woman and child being united for a common agenda that is if you are religious everyone's god given right and if you are a heathen like me everyone's birth right. The music, the vocals the lyrics are bloody beautiful and gently remind you that there is still a minute trace of decency left in humanity. All this just from a song you may ask? Yes absolutely. Musically the harmonies are magical and on occasion there is one of those carnival style melodies that I mentioned. The passion is intense to say the least and the guitar work is soul touching. This is the album ballad and is a pure work of genius. I feel inclined to put a small piece of the lyrics for you to see, so here you go.

        "Tears fall inside the dream, our last days gone by,
        Still alive we feel the pain tonight,
        Stars fall through blackened clouds, and dreams that miss rains,
        A twilight star in the thousand lights for me.

        Ohhhhhhhhh.

        One dream in all of us still shining,
        One star, the ever lasting light,
        So alone, so lost inside, to the ending paradise,
        Salvation of mankind returns.

        And still we save a breath for the world,
        Life brings up for us all,
        United, victorious, the hearts of our nation tonight."

        *5 OUT OF 5*

        The Warrior Inside: As soon as it starts gives you an impression that it is a fun song. There is a lot of the game style carnival music played throughout the track and it has a good catchy tempo as well as melody. In the latter part it opens up to some nice keyboard work before breaking into the guitar frenzy that we know and love so much. The track feels very enjoyable and you get the feeling that the band were having fun doing it. It comes as little surprise to me lyrically that the essence of the song is once again freedom but unlike 'A Flame For Freedom' this is not a ballad. This is a classy end to the album and is saddening because you just want the album to go on.

        *5 OUT OF 5*

        Listen to this song at:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SryTOZAjEdk

        Conclusion
        ~~~~~~~

        All in all there really isn't a bad song on the album at all and certainly none that I would give less than four out of five stars. There are changes to be heard on this album comparatively from the guys other albums to date and this album offers a more polished even refined version of Dragonforce. Therefore it is evident that Dragonforce listen to the comments from fans and critics and take them on board, and the consistency of album releases and touring are the right balance. With each album the band do make progress and move forward. However, I do have one gripe with the album which is the cover art and the album title. Arguably anyone would be forgiven for thinking it was an album of techno, rave or hip-hop music. When I first saw it I was worried since this was prior to hearing the music and I thought they may have taken the same route has Linkin Park and blended their music with rap etc. Thankfully the style is the same but I dislike the album cover and the title. Aside from this trivial angst the album is solidly great.

        Two versions of this album are available the other being a Special Edition with DVD. This also includes two additional tracks called:

        Strike of the Ninja
        Scars of Yesterday

        Thanks for all the reads/rates, Addy

        © August 2008

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      • Product Details

        Disc #1 Tracklisting
        1 Heroes Of Our Time
        2 Fire Still Burns
        3 Reasons To Live
        4 Heartbreak Armageddon
        5 Last Journey Home
        6 Flame For Freedom
        7 Inside The Winter Storm
        8 Warrior Inside