May 18, 2017 Dragonforce – Reaching Into Infinity (Album Review)
The true test of a Heavy Metal band’s integrity is in the creative distinction between them and all other bands in the same league. An even better scenario is if the band is in a league of their own, and in the case of England based Power/Speed Metal heroes Dragonforce, they may just be qualified.
Blazing a trail since 1999, Dragonforce have been flowing out unmistakably fun and furious jams, each time uncovering more talents. Known for their concept work, their story comes in the form of Reaching Into Infinity, set for release on Friday, May 19th, 2017 via Metal Blade Records. Their seventh overall album, and first since 2014’s Maximum Overload, Reaching Into Infinity features eleven songs with two special edition bonus tracks, one of which is a cover of Death’s “Evil Dead,” which is quite the unusual pleasant surprise.
Looking back at the history of the band, Dragonforce has gone through a bit of a lineup change over the years, especially when it comes to vocalists. Yet, Marc Hudson, the latest lead vocalist, has stood strong with the band for six year, gaining momentum with each album. Other current members responsible in the making of possibly Dragonforce’s most exciting album to date include Herman Li, the mastermind behind the speed on lead and rhythm guitars as well as backing vocals; Sam Totman, also a genius lead and rhythm electric guitarist and backing vocalist; Frédéric Leclercq, the booze drinking, bass playing, backing vocalist; Vadim Pruzhanov on the crazed keyboards, piano, and also backing vocals; along with Gee Anzalone on speed drums and backing vocals.
For those who know Dragonforce, they are aware they specialize in the juxtaposition of speed with the melodic while lyrically and stylistically they excel among other Power Metal acts. With Reaching Into Infinity, they offer many surprises, one of which is their longest song to date, “The Edge Of The World.” Over 11-minutes long, it spans a broad range of styles featuring deep growl vocals that are not too typical of this band. Then, it lends itself to a clean melodic ballad ending that captures any Metal lovers heart. It is here Hudson really flies to his fullest potential in this album and this particular collaboration piles on with the fun crossovers and creative melodies. The title track is perhaps the most beautiful medley intro that can only be surpassed by its epic instrumental tale similar to what one might find amidst an Iron Maiden album.
Running high on speed driven riffs, “Ashes Of The Dawn” hits high on all the main elements of Dragonforce, including the noble lyrical story. Then there is “Judgement Day,” which is very keyboard heavy, and while this has given them strength in the past, it seems to put a damper on this particular tune. That said, it seems notable that it could have used more old school tactics and less modern flair to bring it up to speed with some other hits like “Curse Of Darkness” in all its powerhouse glory, or “Midnight Madness” with its speed demon agenda.
Through it all, two very stand out favorites, for very different reasons, are “Land Of Shattered Dreams” with its stellar structure, catchy theme, creative beats, guitar solos, and promising nature, to the tune “Silence” with its melodic ballad feel and clean, crisp, vocals, again structured intelligently as well as creatively while reminiscing on an ’80s hair ballad, minus cheese factor. This is before the sprint into “War!” which is a change of pace a bit in the way the vocals feed off each other in their highs and lows. This is while the guitar plays at the speed of light and the drums try to catch up, making quite the exciting chase.
Finally, back on to the bonus tracks, “Hatred and Revenge” is over five minutes of Power Thrash and with Reaching Into Infinity being the first to feature Anzalone on drums, it must be said that he is as much of a speed demon on the crash as he is on the blast. Then it gets as wild as ever with the craziest mix of Death’s “Evil Dead” with its Power Metal speed antics chimed in with crazed backing noise and death riffs and growls. Again, very unexpected from a band such as Dragonforce, it definitely serves as a highlight in all realms.
With the addition of Reaching Into Infinity into the Dragonforce repertoire, it would be feasible to encounter many fans reaching into their pockets for the funds to purchase the new album after the live show. Life with Dragonforce never has a dull moment and the future is bright as ever for this clan of talented and highly skilled musicians to turn the world over to peace, harmony, and power driven Speed Metal with a melodic flair. Without further speculation, CrypticRock gives Reaching Into Infinity 4.5 out of 5 stars.