Ultra Beatdown

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Ultra Beatdown
Studio album by DragonForce
Released 26 August 2008 (2008-08-26)
Recorded 2007–2008 at Thin Ice Studios, Surrey, LamerLuser and Batman Studios in London.
Genre Power metal
Length 58:11
69:15 (Special Edition)
76:39 (Japanese Edition)
Label Roadrunner, Spinefarm
Producer Karl Groom, Herman Li, Sam Totman
DragonForce chronology
Inhuman Rampage
(2006)
Ultra Beatdown
(2008)
The Power Within
(2012)
Singles from Ultra Beatdown
  1. "Heroes of Our Time"
    Released: 4 July 2008
  2. "The Last Journey Home"
    Released: 21 January 2009
  3. "Reasons to Live"
    Released: 15 June 2009

Ultra Beatdown is the fourth studio album by English power metal band DragonForce, released on 20 August 2008 in Japan through JVC and on 26 August 2008 worldwide through Roadrunner Records[1] and Universal Music.[2] Ultra Beatdown is the last studio album to feature ZP Theart on vocals and the first one to feature Frédéric Leclercq on the bass guitar.

Overview[edit]

On 4 July 2008, the first single from the album, "Heroes of Our Time", was posted on their MySpace profile.[3] On 8 July 2008, the music video for Heroes of Our Time was released onto their MySpace profile. The songs "Heartbreak Armageddon", "The Fire Still Burns" and "A Flame for Freedom" were all played on 106.1 Rock Radio during an interview with ZP Theart on 15 July 2008.[4] On 14 August 2008, the album was made available for pre-order in the DragonForce official web store. On 18 August 2008 the album became available for streaming on the band's MySpace page.

The music video for "The Last Journey Home" premiered on the Xbox Live Network on 21 January 2009.[5] Frédéric Leclercq announced that they may release a live DVD in 2009–2010.[6] This did not happen however, though in September 2010 a live CD was released titled Twilight Dementia.

Ultra Beatdown is the final album featuring lead vocalist ZP Theart and the first album to earn the band a Grammy nomination.

Sound[edit]

Before the release of Ultra Beatdown, the band members were interviewed upon the topic of the album's structure and deliverance. Totman, Theart and Li all generally stated that the sound of Ultra Beatdown would not very much differ from their previous records but would improve in some categories.

Touring and support[edit]

The first round of DragonForce's Ultra Beatdown World tour started on 25 September 2008 in the The Zodiac, Oxford with Turisas. The US/Canada tour also includes Powerglove. The band toured almost constantly up until April 2009 in several countries with support by Dååth and Cynic. They had planned to carry out their world tour to Latin America in May 2009, but delayed their arrival to November 2009 due to the swine flu epidemic as well as "exhaustion" according to what Herman Li stated in an interview.

The band had planned to release a live DVD in summer 2009 but instead released a series of videos entitled "DragonForce TV" which showed the band on tour as well as pro-shot footage of their performances at Graspop 2009 and Loudpark 2009. It also featured backstage footage of the band rehearsing and just hanging out. The rumoured DVD was never released due to lack of time when the band was touring. The DragonForce TV: Season 1 footage was uploaded during a break before the next-to-final leg of the tour in Latin America and North America. However, to make up for the false DVD, the band recorded the audio from every show on the final leg of the Ultra Beatdown World Tour to release the best cuts on a live compilation album. Herman Li stated in a 2010 interview regarding the album:

"The idea was to record every single show from the last leg of the tour, so we could pick the best take of each song without needing to do any overdubs in the studio; keeping the whole thing ‘LIVE’ like all the classic live metal albums.

"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 album's official announcement was made on 22 June 2010. It is entitled "Twilight Dementia" and was released in September 2010.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (77/100)[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[8]
Alt Press 4.5/5 stars[9]
IGN 6/10 stars[10]
Metal Hammer 7/10 stars[11]
Now 4/5 stars[12]
PopMatters 7/10 stars[13]
Sputnikmusic 2/5 stars[14]
Thrash Hits 4.5/6 stars[15]
The Daily Collegian (B)[16]

The song "Heroes of Our Time" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, losing to Metallica's "My Apocalypse".[17] On 28 August 2008, the album charted at No. 9 in Japan[18] it also entered the Australian charts in the first week of September at #19[19] and in the same week at No. 18 in both the UK Albums Chart and the Billboard 200.[20]

Initial critical response to Ultra Beatdown was generally positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 77, based on 8 reviews.[7] Both Allmusic and Alternative Press gave it four and a half stars out of a possible five. Allmusic gave it an "AMG Album Pick" and, in the opening sentence of the review, likened the band to a juggernaut.[9][21]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Heroes of Our Time"   Totman, Li Totman 7:13
2. "The Fire Still Burns"   Totman, Theart Totman 7:50
3. "Reasons to Live"   Totman, Li Pruzhanov, Totman, Leclercq 6:25
4. "Heartbreak Armageddon"   Totman, Li Li, Totman, Leclercq 7:40
5. "The Last Journey Home"   Totman, Theart Totman, Li 8:12
6. "A Flame for Freedom"   Totman Totman 5:20
7. "Inside the Winter Storm"   Totman, Theart Totman 8:11
8. "The Warrior Inside"   Totman, Li, Theart Pruzhanov, Totman 7:14
Special edition bonus tracks
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
9. "Strike of the Ninja" (Cover of "Feel the Fire" by Shadow Warriors) Totman, Theart Theart 3:18
10. "Scars of Yesterday"   Totman, Li, Theart Pruzhanov, Totman 7:46
Japanese Edition bonus tracks
No. Title Lyrics Music Length
11. "E.P.M. (Extreme Power Metal)"   Totman, Li Li 7:24
Special edition DVD track listing
No. Title Length
1. "The Making of Ultra Beatdown"   15:16
2. "The Making of the E-Gen Guitar"   9:35

Release history[edit]

Year Region Date Format Label Catalogue # Notes
2008  JPN 20 August CD Victor Entertainment VICP-64299 All bonus tracks [18]
2008  USA 26 August CD Roadrunner 1686-179372 [22]
2008  USA 26 August LP Roadrunner 1686-179371 Free Download Coupon
2008  USA 26 August CD, DVD Roadrunner 1686-179378 Special Edition [23]

The album was set for release first in Japan on 20 August 2008[24] then on 22 August in Germany[25] and the day after, on 23 August, in Australia[citation needed] before being released to the United Kingdom on 25 August and globally the following day.[24]

Personnel[edit]

Band members
  • ZP Theart – lead vocals
  • Herman Li – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals, producing, mixing, engineering
  • Sam Totman – lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals, producing, mixing
  • Vadim Pruzhanov – keyboards, piano, theremin, Kaoss Pad, backing vocals
  • Dave Mackintosh – drums, backing vocals
  • Frédéric Leclercq – bass, backing vocals, additional rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar
Guest musicians
Production
  • Karl Groom – mixing, engineering
  • Mike Jussila – mastering
  • Android Jones – artwork
  • Matt Read – graphic design
  • Frank Strine and DragonForce – collage photos
  • Paul Harries – photos
  • Steve McTaggart – management
  • Josh Kline – agency representation (North America, with the Agency Group USA Ltd.)
  • Paul Bolton – agency representation (United Kingdom, with Helter Skelter Agency Ltd.)
  • John Walsh and Bruce Reiter – tour management
  • Penny Ganz – legal representation (P Ganz & Co. London)
  • Mark Howe – business management (Entertainment Accounting International Ltd.)
  • Ron Zeelens – visa paperwork (RAZco Visa's, New York)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "DRAGONFORCE: New Album Details Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  2. ^ "DragonForce – Official Discography". DragonForce.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  3. ^ "DRAGONFORCE: New Song Available For Streaming". Blabbermouth.net. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  4. ^ "106.1 Rock Radio – Manchester's First Classic Rock Station". 106.1 Rock Radio. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  5. ^ "DRAGONFORCE VIDEO WORLD PREMIER ON XBOX LIVE at DragonForce.com". DragonForce. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-22. [dead link]
  6. ^ ""Reasons to Live" – DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq delivers an Ultra Beatdown.". Lucemfero.com. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  7. ^ a b "Dragonforce:Ultra Beatdown (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  8. ^ Ultra Beatdown - DragonForce, by Eduardo Rivadavia
  9. ^ a b "Ultra Beatdown review". Alternative Press (Alternative Press Magazine, Inc) (242): page 152. 
  10. ^ Ultra Beatdown review. IGN
  11. ^ Ling, Dave (September 2008). Ultra Beatdown review. Metal Hammer. p. 87. 
  12. ^ Ultra Beatdown review. Now magazine
  13. ^ Ultra Beatdown review. PopMatters
  14. ^ Ultra Beatdown review. Sputnikmusic
  15. ^ Ultra Beatdown review. Thrash Hits
  16. ^ Ultra Beatdown review. The Daily Collegian
  17. ^ "Grammy 2009 Winners List". MTV. February 8, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  18. ^ a b "ドラゴンフォース-リリース-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  19. ^ "DragonForce – Ultra Beatdown". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  20. ^ "Chart Stats – DragonForce". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  21. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Ultra Beatdown – Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  22. ^ "DragonForce – Ultra Beatdown (#1686-179372)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  23. ^ "DragonForce – Ultra Beatdown (#1686-179378)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-08-31. 
  24. ^ a b "Ultra Beatdown at DragonForce.com". DragonForce.com. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  25. ^ "Hear the Next Evolution of Metal". Blast! (in German) (Nuclear Blast) (Sommer/Herbst 2008): page 39. August 2008.