|Studio album by DragonForce|
|Released||26 August 2008|
|Recorded||November 2007 – April 2008|
|Studio||Thin Ice Studios, Surrey, LamerLuser and BATMAM Studios, London|
69:15 (Special Edition)
76:39 (Japanese Edition)
|Producer||Karl Groom, Herman Li, Sam Totman|
|Singles from Ultra Beatdown|
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 and Spinefarm Records. 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.
On 4 July 2008, the first single from the album, "Heroes of Our Time", was posted on their MySpace profile. 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. 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. Frédéric Leclercq announced that they may release a live DVD in 2009–2010. 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.
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.
|“||It's not going to be majorly different. But hopefully the melodies will be nicer, the guitar solos will be better, the production will be better. You just try to improve in every area.||”|
|— Sam Totman, |
|“||There isn't much to change, but yet there is. The last three albums have been very much guitar-oriented, and this one probably will be as well, but I want to try to do some extra colouring in with the vocals.||”|
|— ZP Theart|
|“||Bands always say, 'Our new album is faster and heavier,' and then it's never true, so we're not gonna say that. But playing fast just works for us. People who say we play too fast are probably right, but guess what? There's a million other bands that play slow. People listen to DragonForce and go to the show because they know that we're doing something other bands aren't doing.||”|
|— Herman Li, |
Touring and support
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.
|The Daily Collegian||(B)|
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2008)|
The song "Heroes of Our Time" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, losing to Metallica's "My Apocalypse". On 28 August 2008, the album charted at No. 9 in Japan it also entered the Australian charts in the first week of September at #19 and in the same week at No. 18 in both the UK Albums Chart and the Billboard 200.
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. 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.
"Look up the word "juggernaut" in the dictionary and you may just find Dragonforce's photo alongside the definition. Not only does it aptly describe the nature of their hyperkinetic "extreme power metal," but also their vertiginous ascent from utter music community obscurity to new media, errr...juggernaut, when their breakthrough single, "Through the Fire and Flames," became first a YouTube sensation and later a keystone of the Guitar Hero video game phenomenon. This transition -- largely based on the new millennium's most unapologetic display of guitar shredding yet -- propelled the surprising sales of the sextet's third album, Inhuman Rampage, and laid quite a foundation for its much anticipated follow-up, 2008's Ultra Beatdown, which, among other things, will face immediate accusations of repeating its predecessor's winning formula (not to mention key song title words like Flame," "Fire," Storm," etc.). But this accusation doesn't hold much water in the historical scope of the power metal genre -- a genre that has barely evolved beyond the basic template set down by Helloween's form-defining Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1, all the way back in 1987. By those standards, Dragonforce's aforementioned guitar shredding and extreme metal intensity alone already qualify as rather radical innovations. What's more, even though frenetic new tracks like "Heroes of Our Time" and "The Fire Still Burns" evidently descend from the band's signature hit (memorable for Herman Li and Sam Totman's ever-spectacular solos more than any innovative songwriting traits), Ultra Beatdown introduces several new elements into the Dragonforce sound -- not the least of which being more abundant, subsonic tempos. Previously wheeled out almost exclusively for the band's mercifully rare, intolerably saccharine ballads (oftentimes wimpier than Journey, and here represented by a somewhat more palatable drunken soccer anthem called "A Flame for Freedom"), these frequently provide welcome breaths of air amidst the album's still prevailing maelstrom. "Reasons to Live," for example, adopts a tango-like rhythm for its solo break, capped by a stunning synthesizer flurry from Vadim Pruzhanov; "Heartbreak Armageddon" boasts a surprising psychedelic flavor in its midsection; and "The Warrior Inside" breaks up Li and Totman's usual six-string frenzy with a stately orchestrated synth section -- plus a soaring finale led by vocalist ZP Theart. And with standouts like "The Last Journey Home" and its only slightly less distinguished fellow epic, "Inside the Winter Storm," the band shows greater dynamic range than usual, arguably earning some definitive "progressive" metal credentials once and for all, beyond the sheer extended lengths of the songs. All of the above is still couched within the band's general extreme power metal template, mind you, complete with tireless drummer Dave Mackintosh (still quicker than a humping heavy metal hamster) and hapless bass player Frédéric Leclercq, who is unselfish enough not to mind remaining mostly invisible throughout. So that about covers the Ultra Beatdown "juggernaut": come for the guitar solos, stay for the music. Power metal may not be the most inventive musical style on the planet, but Dragonforce are making it more exciting than most anyone else has for quite some time".
|1.||"Heroes of Our Time"||Sam Totman, Herman Li||Totman||7:13|
|2.||"The Fire Still Burns"||Totman, ZP Theart||Totman||7:50|
|3.||"Reasons to Live"||Totman, Li||Vadim Pruzhanov, Totman, Frédéric Leclercq||6:25|
|4.||"Heartbreak Armageddon"||Totman, Li||Li, Totman, Leclercq||7:40|
|5.||"The Last Journey Home"||Totman, Theart||Totman||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|
|9.||"Strike of the Ninja" (Cover of "Feel the Fire" by Shadow Warriors)||Totman, Theart||Totman||3:18|
|10.||"Scars of Yesterday"||Totman, Li, Theart||Pruzhanov, Leclercq||7:46|
|Japanese Edition bonus tracks|
|11.||"E.P.M. (Extreme Power Metal)"||Leclerq, Totman, Li||Leclercq||7:24|
|Special edition DVD track listing|
|1.||"The Making of Ultra Beatdown"||15:16|
|2.||"The Making of the E-Gen Guitar"||9:35|
|2008||JPN||20 August||CD||Victor Entertainment||VICP-64299||All bonus tracks|||
|2008||USA||26 August||LP||Roadrunner||1686-179371||Free Download Coupon|
|2008||USA||26 August||CD, DVD||Roadrunner||1686-179378||Special Edition|||
The album was set for release first in Japan on 20 August 2008 then on 22 August in Germany and the day after, on 23 August, in Australia before being released to the United Kingdom on 25 August and globally the following day.
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