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DragonForce 1013.jpg
DragonForce performing in Indonesia in 2013
Background information
Origin London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Power metal, speed metal
Years active 1999–present
Labels Roadrunner, Universal, Sanctuary, Spinefarm, Noise
Associated acts Demoniac, Shadowkeep, Power Quest, Shadow Warriors, Biomechanical, Son of Science, Bal-Sagoth, Powerglove, Aeon Zen, Trivium, I AM I, Sabaton
Website www.dragonforce.com
Members Herman Li
Sam Totman
Vadim Pruzhanov
Dave Mackintosh
Frédéric Leclercq
Marc Hudson
Past members ZP Theart
Steve Scott
Steve Williams
Matej Setinc
Didier Almouzni
Diccon Harper
Adrian Lambert

DragonForce is a British power metal band based in London. Formed in 1999, the group is known for its long and fast guitar solos, fantasy-based lyrics, and electronic sounds in their music to add to their retro video game-influenced sound.



DragonForce was founded in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman under the name of DragonHeart. The two later found singer ZP Theart through an advert,[1] and soon after acquired drummer Matej Setinc, bassist Steve Scott and keyboardist Steve Williams. Totman and Li had a former musical ensemble experience in the band Demoniac. DragonHeart then released a demo, toured with Halford and Stratovarius, and headlined their own shows under that name. The band later found that another power metal band with this same name already existed and renamed to DragonForce in 2002.

Drummer Matej Setinc left the band in December 1999 to continue his studies in Slovenia, he was replaced by Didier Almouzni. The band parted ways with Steve Williams in early 2000, and Steve Scott in November 2000. Williams later rejoined and left once again in December 2000, days ahead of the band's tour with Halford and Stratovarius. Steve Scott went on to join Shadowkeep, then Power Quest.

Bassist Diccon Harper joined the band in November 2000 with keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov joining in February 2001 to complete the lineup for recording their first album.

Harper performed on DragonForce's debut album, Valley of the Damned in its completion, but left the band in 2002 because of a tendon problem that required surgery.[2]

Valley of the Damned (2000–2003)[edit]

DragonForce recorded their first demo in 2000. It was an independent release, however it was enough to make them one of the most popular independent power metal bands in the UK at that time. Their song "Valley of the Damned" was released as their first single shortly after they changed their name permanently to DragonForce. A promotional video featuring live footage from their tour around Europe was released along with the song. The song was also a huge success on MP3.com where it charted at No. 1 for 2 weeks as the most downloaded song. Shortly after the demo was released keyboardist Steve Williams and bassist Steve Scott both left the band and were replaced with Ukrainian born Vadim Pruzhanov on keyboard and British born Diccon Harper on bass. Steve Williams later went on to form power metal band Power Quest.

In 2003, the band signed to Noise Records and began recording their debut full-length album, Valley of the Damned. The title track, re-released in promotion of the album, it is one of the most known DragonForce songs to date and is a staple of their live performance to this day. The band's tour for Valley of the Damned lasted until 2004, with the tour ending in Tokyo, Japan.

Sonic Firestorm (2004–2005)[edit]

The band's follow-up album, Sonic Firestorm, proved to be even more successful with the lead single "Fury of the Storm". Sonic Firestorm was the first DragonForce album featuring Adrian Lambert on bass and Dave Mackintosh on drums. When Mackintosh entered the band in 2004, they began referring to their style of music as "extreme power metal" due to his fast blastbeats and double bass rhythms. It was around this time that the band began becoming popular internationally and received nicknames such as "Bon Jovi on speed" and "Journey meets Slayer".[3][4]

The tour was much longer than the band's recent tour for "Valley of the Damned" and featured many more headline shows than the previous. The band toured with many well-known metal bands such as W.A.S.P. and Iron Maiden. On the album they also added a video commentary to talk about Sonic Firestorm.

Inhuman Rampage (2006–2007)[edit]

DragonForce underwent various lineup changes before settling with the six-man lineup they would retain until the departure of Theart. The band was introduced to the mainstream with their third album Inhuman Rampage, released in 2006 after signing with Roadrunner Records in UK, USA, Canada, France and Australia. The song "Through the Fire and Flames" is one of their most famous songs and is featured on the games Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Brutal Legend and as downloadable content for the Rock Band franchise. Lindsay Dawson of Herman Li and Sam Totman's former band, Demoniac, appeared as backup vocalist for this album. Before the release of the album, bassist, Adrian Lambert, left the group to raise his newborn son in November 2005. He was replaced with Frédéric Leclercq for the remaining of the Sonic Firestorm Tour. Frederic later became an official member of the band in January 2006. He was also featured in the band's music video for their second single off Inhuman Rampage, Operation Ground and Pound. The 'Through the Fire and Flames' single reached gold disc status in USA and Canada.

Ultra Beatdown (2007–2009)[edit]

DragonForce in Melbourne in 2009.

The band toured with Disturbed and Slipknot throughout the summer of 2008 on the Rockstar Energy Metal Mayhem Festival. The band returned in the Fall with the release of their 4th studio album, Ultra Beatdown. The first track and first single, "Heroes of Our Time", was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance on 3 December 2008, losing out to Metallica with their song "My Apocalypse".[5] A short version of "Heroes Of Our Time" is also featured in the video games Skate 2[6] and the full version in NHL 10.[7]

On 22 January 2009, the music video for their song "The Last Journey Home" was released to the Xbox Live Community a week before it was released online.[8]

DragonForce carried out the Ultra Beatdown tour in Latin America, North America and Europe. They were supposed to play in Latin America in May 2009,[9] but the tour was postponed to late 2009 due to the swine flu outbreak.[10] They performed at the Two Days a Week Festival in Weisen, Austria on 4 September.[10] Then, they performed in several cities of Canada and United States from 15 September to 11 October, with special guests Sonata Arctica and Taking Dawn.[10] The next tour was in Germany, from 16 to 30 October, followed by a single live performance in Luxembourg on 31 October.[10] Then, they went to Latin America to perform in Curitiba, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Mexico City, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Bogotá from 6 to 14 November.[10] The final part of the tour was carried entirely in the United Kingdom, from 19 November to 12 December[10]

Departure of ZP Theart and Twilight Dementia (2010)[edit]

Herman Li stated that DragonForce would stop touring in December, spend time at home for Christmas, and then would begin writing and recording a new studio album.[dated info][11]

On 22 February 2010, the band re-released their first two albums, Valley of the Damned and Sonic Firestorm. Valley of the Damned included newly remixed and remastered tracks while both albums included bonus tracks, updated packaging and DVDs featuring live footage, commentary, and more. Both albums were also released in a box set which featured a T-shirt, a card of guitar picks, and an inflatable guitar.

On 8 March 2010, it was announced via Roadrunner that DragonForce had parted ways with vocalist ZP Theart due to "insurmountable differences of musical opinion" and would be seeking a new frontman.[12] The band released a press statement the next day that confirmed the news and contained a link to request an audition.[13]

The band released their first live album on 13 September 2010 in Europe and 14 September 2010 for US and Canada. It is a double-disc set entitled Twilight Dementia. The album art, title, and release date were revealed on the band's official website on 22 June 2010. The performances were recorded on the final leg of the Ultra Beatdown World Tour.[14] Regarding the album, guitarist Herman Li stated:[14]

For years, fans have been asking us to record a live album, but honestly, we never really had the time due to our worldwide touring commitments and studio album recording. However, due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans on the 'Ultra Beatdown World Tour', we decided to finally put some real thought into it...

These recordings really capture the raw sonic energy of a Dragonforce show in fine detail. It is so real that you can hear the noise of the crowd and experience the show as it was that night – you can even hear the guitar pedals being stepped on!

The band started working on a new album in early 2010, recording in various studios in California, London, England and the South of France.

The band confirmed that they would be the opening act for Iron Maiden in two UK shows in August. The first at Odyssey Arena in Belfast on 3 August 2011 and the second at The O2 Arena in London on 5 August 2011.

Marc Hudson and The Power Within (2010–2013)[edit]

On 2 March 2011, DragonForce announced their new singer, Marc Hudson.[15][16] He had previous experience performing in a band, but was not a professional musician before joining Dragonforce. His first show with DragonForce was an opening for Iron Maiden.[17] On the shows opening for Iron Maiden they started performing a new song called "Cry Thunder".[citation needed]

Pythia's vocalist Emily Ovenden provided backing vocals for DragonForce's fifth album, released on 15 April 2012.[18] During the North American warm up shows, DragonForce performed a new song called "Fallen World", along with "Cry Thunder".[19] According to the band, "Fallen World" is the fastest, most intense DragonForce song to date.[19] The completion of this new album was announced on 14 January 2012. On 2 February, DragonForce announced via their official web-page that their new ten-track album would be entitled The Power Within. The album was released worldwide on 15 April 2012 via the band’s own Electric Generation Recordings, distributed by Essential Music (UK), Roadrunner Records (North America), 3Wise (Australia) and JVC Victor (Japan). In March 2012 DragonForce announced North American headlining tour for April and May.[20] Starting from late September, DragonForce embarked on a UK and Ireland tour; they were supported by Cavorts, The Defiled and Alestorm.[21] DragonForce will be playing Soundwave Festival in Australia in February 2013. Also in 2013, DragonForce recorded a new short song called "Galactic Astro Domination", which was recorded for a Capital One commercial featured on YouTube. In the video, guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman are performing the song on an asteroid in space while using Capital One's Mobile Banking App.

Maximum Overload (2013-present)[edit]

On April 12, 2013, DragonForce announced that writing for a follow up to The Power Within had been completed, and that the band would be entering the studio in May. On May 19, 2013, DragonForce entered Fascination Street Studios in Sweden with Jens Bogren as the producer of DragonForce's sixth album.[22]

On 31 March, 2014, The album cover was revealed, with the title confirmed to be Maximum Overload. It has also been revealed that Trivium's Matt Heafy will be making some guest appearances on the album. There will also be a cover of the Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire". The album will be released in the UK on 18 August, and in North America the next day.[23] A song from the album, "Defenders", has been uploaded onto YouTube by DragonForce's official channel.[24]

Musical style[edit]

A brief sample of the sixth track from the Sonic Firestorm album.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Much of DragonForce's idiosyncratic style comes from the high-speed dual guitar sound of Totman and Li; by playing at a high tempo and within the upper registers of their instruments, their sound becomes similar to the "bleepy" arpeggios and quick pitch-bends normally associated with chiptunes, usually heard in the third generation of video game music. The band often plays homage to this influence in their videos. Although the band has frequently referred to their style as power metal, Herman Li commented on descriptions of the band's style in an interview with Guitar World: "'Nintendo metal', 'extreme power metal', 'Bon Jovi on speed', 'Journey meets Slayer', ... people are always coming up with weird labels for us."[25] The band has sometimes been labeled as a speed metal band.[26][27][28]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

Former members[edit]

  • ZP Theart – lead vocals (1999–2010)
  • Steve Scott – bass guitar, backing vocals (1999–2000)
  • Steve Williams – keyboards, keytar, backing vocals (1999–2000, 2000)
  • Matej Setinc – drums (1999)
  • Didier Almouzni – drums (1999–2003)
  • Diccon Harper – bass guitar, backing vocals (2000–2003)
  • Adrian Lambert – bass guitar (2003–2006)



Studio albums


  1. ^ "Metal Experience Interview – Formation of band". 
  2. ^ "DragonForce: Live Playing 'Through the Roof' Since Having In-Ear Monitors". 
  3. ^ "Interview with Herman Li (Dragonforce)". wikimetal.uol.com.br. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Interview with Frédéric Leclercq". carpenocturnemagazine.com. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "The 51st Annual Grammy Awards Winner List". GRAMMY.com. The Recording Academy. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Orry, James (23 October 2008). "Skate 2 and Skate It soundtracks revealed". VideoGamer.com. Pro-G Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "The Official NHL 10 Soundtrack – EA Trax". EA.com. Electronic Arts Inc. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "DragonForce Video World Premier on Xbox Live". DragonForce.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "Mexico, South America Tour Dates Added". DragonForce.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "DragonForce Tour Schedule". DragonForce official website. Retrieved 10 August 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ "DragonForce: Live Playing 'Through The Roof' Since Having In-Ear Monitors". Ultimate-guitar.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Updated: Dragonforce part ways with singer". EspyRock. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET – DRAGONFORCE Confirms Singer's Departure". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "DragonForce Confirm first live album ‘Twilight Dementia’ for September 13th 2010 release". DragonForce official website. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "DragonForce Reveal New Singer". DragonForce official website. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  16. ^ Hynes, Ollie (2 March 2011). "Dragonforce Announces New Singer, Marc Hudson, After Year-Long Search". MetalUnderground.com. 
  17. ^ "Interview with Herman Li". metaltraveller.com. April 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "DRAGONFORCE REVEAL DETAILS OF NEW ALBUM". Dragonforce.com. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "DragonForce Performs Two New Songs In New York City (Video)". Blabbermouth.net. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "DragonForce Announces North American Headlining Tour". Legacy.roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  21. ^ "Announce Uk & Ireland Leg Of Mammoth World Tour". DragonForce. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  22. ^ "DragonForce in the studio". Fascination Street Studios. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Hear A Brand New Dragonforce Demo Featuring Trivium’s Matt Heafy!". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  24. ^ "DragonForce - Defenders (DEMO) NEW SONG!". YouTube. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  25. ^ Guitar World, Holiday 2006, pg 72 "Hotter Than Hell"
  26. ^ Paul Saitowitz (6 July 2006). "Entertainment | PE.com | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California". PE.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  27. ^ "Entertainment – Juan Gabriel to play the Pond". Ocregister.com. Retrieved 15 July 2011. [dead link]
  28. ^ Hot right now:     (14 July 2006). "Friday 07/07/06 Ozzfest 2006, Main Stage @ The Cricket Pavilion, Phoenix Arizona". Gigwise. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 

External links[edit]