DragonForce performing in Indonesia in 2013
|Origin||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Power metal, speed metal, Heavy metal|
|Labels||Roadrunner, Universal, Sanctuary, Spinefarm, Noise Records|
|Associated acts||Demoniac, Shadowkeep, Power Quest, Shadow Warriors, Biomechanical, Son of Science, Bal-Sagoth, Powerglove, Aeon Zen, Trivium, I AM I, Sabaton|
|Past members||ZP Theart
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.
- 1 History
- 2 Musical style
- 3 Band members
- 4 Discography
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early years and Valley of the Damned (1999–2003)
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, 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.
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)
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)
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 December 3, 2008, losing out to Metallica with their song "My Apocalypse". A short version of "Heroes Of Our Time" is also featured in the video game Skate 2 and the full version in NHL 10. On January 22, 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.
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., They performed at the Two Days a Week Festival in Weisen, Austria on September 4, before performing in several cities in Canada and US from September 15 to October 11, with special guests Sonata Arctica and Taking Dawn. The next tour was in Germany, from October 16–30, followed by a single live performance in Luxembourg on October 31. They then went to Latin America to perform in Curitiba, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Mexico City, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Bogotá from November 6–14. The final part of the tour was carried entirely in the United Kingdom, from November 19 to December 12.
Departure of Theart and Twilight Dementia (2010)
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. On February 22, 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 March 8, 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. The next day, the band released a press statement confirming the news and containing a link to request an audition.
The band released their first live album, Twilight Dementia, on September 13, 2010, in Europe and September 14, 2010, in US and Canada. The album art, title, and release date were revealed on the band's official website on June 22, 2010. The performances were recorded on the final leg of the Ultra Beatdown world tour. Regarding the album, Li stated:
|“||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 August 3 and the second at The O2 Arena in London on August 5.
The Power Within and Maximum Overload (2011–present)
On March 2, 2011, DragonForce announced their new vocalist and frontman, Marc Hudson. 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". DragonForce released their fifth studio album, The Power Within on April 15, 2012. Mediæval Bæbes vocalist Emily Ovenden provided backing vocals for the album. During their North American headlining tour for April and May, the band performed a new song titled "Fallen World", along with "Cry Thunder". "Fallen World" is DragonForce's fastest, most intense song to date. Starting from late September 2012, the band embarked on a UK and Ireland tour, and were supported by The Defiled, Cavorts and Alestorm. DragonForce also played at Soundwave Festival in Australia in February 2013.
On April 12, 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 May 19, 2013, DragonForce entered Fascination Street Studios in Sweden with Jens Bogren as the producer of DragonForce's sixth album. On March 31, 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 August 18, 2014, and in the US on August 19, 2014. On the same day, a song from the album, titled "Defenders", was uploaded onto DragonForce's official YouTube channel. On June 3, 2014, DragonForce announced that they had parted ways with Mackintosh and had replaced him with former Braindamage and Kill Ritual drummer Gee Anzalone. Maximum Overload will be the final album to feature Mackintosh on drums. On June 18, 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".
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." The band has sometimes been labeled as a speed metal band.
- Studio albums
- Valley of the Damned (2003)
- Sonic Firestorm (2004)
- Inhuman Rampage (2006)
- Ultra Beatdown (2008)
- The Power Within (2012)
- Maximum Overload (2014)
- Live albums
- Twilight Dementia (2010)
- "Metal Experience Interview – Formation of band".
- "DragonForce: Live Playing 'Through the Roof' Since Having In-Ear Monitors".
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- "Announce Uk & Ireland Leg Of Mammoth World Tour". DragonForce. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- "DragonForce in the studio". Fascination Street Studios. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Hear A Brand New Dragonforce Demo Featuring Trivium’s Matt Heafy!". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- "DragonForce - Defenders (DEMO) NEW SONG!". YouTube. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
- "DragonForce Parts Ways With Drummer DAVE MACKINTOSH, Announces Replacement". Blabbermouth.net. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
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