DragonForce

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This article is about the band. For the Saturn/PlayStation 2 strategy game, see Dragon Force.
DragonForce
DragonForce 1013.jpg
DragonForce performing in Indonesia in 2013
Background information
Origin London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Power metal, speed metal, Heavy 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 Marc Hudson
Herman Li
Sam Totman
Frédéric Leclercq
Vadim Pruzhanov
Gee Anzalone
Past members ZP Theart
Dave Mackintosh
Adrian Lambert
Steve Williams
Steve Scott
Matej Setinc
Didier Almouzni
Diccon Harper

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. As of June 2014, DragonForce have released five studio albums, one live album and are in production of their sixth studio album, Maximum Overload.

History[edit]

Early years and Valley of the Damned (1999–2003)[edit]

DragonForce was founded in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman under the name of DragonHeart. Totman and Li had both experienced being in a band previously, with both having come from heavy metal band Demoniac. The two later found vocalist ZP Theart through an advert,[1] and soon acquired former Demoniac drummer Matej Setinc, bassist Steve Scott and keyboardist Steve Williams. 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.

Setinc left the band in December 1999 to continue his studies in Slovenia, and was replaced by Didier Almouzni. The band also parted ways with Williams and Scott in 2000. Williams later rejoined but left once again in December 2000, days ahead of the band's tour with Halford and Stratovarius. Bassist Diccon Harper joined the band in November 2000 with keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov joining in February 2001 to complete the line-up for recording their debut album. Harper performed the bass tracks for DragonForce's debut album, Valley of the Damned, but left the band in 2002 because of a tendon problem that required surgery.[2]

The band recorded their first demo in 2000. Although it was an independent release, it was enough to make them one of the most popular independent power metal bands in the UK at the time. Their song "Valley of the Damned" was released as their debut 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. In 2003, the band signed to Noise Records and began recording their debut album, Valley of the Damned. The title track, re-released in promotion of the album, is one of the best-known DragonForce songs to date and is a staple of their live performances to this day. The band's tour for Valley of the Damned lasted until 2004, with the tour ending in Tokyo, Japan.

Sonic Firestorm and Inhuman Rampage (2004–2007)[edit]

DragonForce's second studio album, Sonic Firestorm, proved to be even more successful than their previous album, with the help of the album's lead single, "Fury of the Storm". Sonic Firestorm was the first DragonForce album to feature new bassist Adrian Lambert and drummer Dave Mackintosh. 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. The tour was much longer than the band's previous tour for Valley of the Damned and featured many more headlining shows. 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 focusing on the making of Sonic Firestorm.

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

Ultra Beatdown and world tour (2007–2009)[edit]

DragonForce in Melbourne in 2009.

DragonForce toured with Disturbed and Slipknot during the inaugural Mayhem Festival in the summer of 2008. The band returned in autumn with the release of their fourth studio album, Ultra Beatdown. The album's lead 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".[3] A short version of "Heroes Of Our Time" is also featured in the video game Skate 2 and the full version in NHL 10.[4][5] 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.[6]

The band carried out the Ultra Beatdown tour in Latin America, North America and Europe. They were supposed to play in Latin America in May 2009 but the tour was postponed to late 2009 due to the swine flu outbreak.,[7][8] They performed at the Two Days a Week Festival in Weisen, Austria on 4 September, before performing in several cities in Canada and US from 15 September to 11 October, with special guests Sonata Arctica and Taking Dawn. The next tour was in Germany, from 16–30 October, followed by a single live performance in Luxembourg on 31 October. They then went to Latin America to perform in Curitiba, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Mexico City, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Bogotá from 6–14 November.[8] The final part of the tour was carried entirely in the United Kingdom, from 19 November to 12 December.

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

Li stated in late 2009 that DragonForce would stop touring in December and spend Christmas at home, before beginning to write and record their next studio album.[9] 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 Theart due to "insurmountable differences of musical opinion", and would be seeking a new frontman.[10] The next day, the band released a press statement confirming the news and containing a link to request an audition.[11]

The band released their first live album, Twilight Dementia, on 13 September 2010, in Europe and 14 September 2010, in US and Canada. 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.[12] Regarding the album, Li stated:[12]

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 then began working on their new studio album in early 2010, recording in various studios in California, London and the South of France. The band later confirmed that they would be the opening act for Iron Maiden in two UK shows in August 2011, with the first at Odyssey Arena in Belfast on 3 August and the second at The O2 Arena in London on 5 August.

The Power Within and Maximum Overload (2011–present)[edit]

On 2 March 2011, DragonForce announced their new vocalist and frontman, Marc Hudson.[13][14] He had previous experience performing in a band, but was not a professional musician before joining DragonForce. His first show with DragonForce was the band's first opening for Iron Maiden in August 2011, where they started performing a new song titled "Cry Thunder".[15] DragonForce released their fifth studio album, The Power Within on 15 April 2012. Mediæval Bæbes vocalist Emily Ovenden provided backing vocals for the album.[16] During their North American headlining tour for April and May, the band performed a new song titled "Fallen World", along with "Cry Thunder".[17] "Fallen World" is DragonForce's fastest, most intense song to date.[17] Starting from late September 2012, the band embarked on a UK and Ireland tour, and were supported by The Defiled, Cavorts and Alestorm.[18] DragonForce also played at Soundwave Festival in Australia in February 2013.

On 12 April 2013, the band 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 19 May 2013, DragonForce entered Fascination Street Studios in Sweden with Jens Bogren as the producer of DragonForce's sixth album.[19] On 31 March 2014, it was revealed that the new album would be titled Maximum Overload, and that Trivium's Matt Heafy would make some guest appearances on the album. It was also revealed that the album would contain a cover of the Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire". The album will be released in the UK on 18 August 2014, and in the US on 19 August 2014.[20] On the same day, a song from the album, titled "Defenders", was uploaded onto DragonForce's official YouTube channel.[21] On 3 June 2014, DragonForce announced that they had parted ways with Mackintosh and had replaced him with former Braindamage and Kill Ritual drummer Gee Anzalone.[22] Maximum Overload will be the final album to feature Mackintosh on drums. On 18 June, the band released the track listing for the album, and on the same day, they released the music video for the first song on the album, titled "The Game". On 17 July the band released the official version of the song "Defenders" on itunes.

Musical style[edit]

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

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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."[23] The band has sometimes been labeled as a speed metal band.[24][25][26]

Band members[edit]

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
Live albums

References[edit]

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