By Daniel K.
The Power Within
Electric Generation Recordings, Essential Music, Roadrunner Records, JVC Victor 2012
A piece of music should tell a story to the listener, and be able to paint a picture in the listener’s mind with its melodies and lyrics.
DragonForce is a “speed metal” band based in London, England, though it is made up of a much more diverse group of people. The band consists of Marc Hudson of Oxford, England, on lead vocals, Herman Li of Hong Kong on lead guitar, Sam Totman of New Zealand (born in England, but moved at an early age), Frédéric Leclercq of France on bass, Vadim Pruzhanov of the Ukraine on the keyboard and various other electronic instruments, and Dave Mackintosh of unknown origins on drums.
The Power Within is their newest album, and also the first album to feature their new vocalist, Marc Hudson. It was released by Roadrunner Records in North America in April, 2012. According to lead guitarist Herman Li, the track Fallen World from their newest album is their fastest song recorded to date. “This time around, we’ve really brought our metal side to the surface and made some of the best music of our career. From the fastest song we’ve ever recorded to the slower songs, and some things you would never expect from us, this is by far the most diverse DragonForce album yet.” However, what makes this album truly stand out, is that all of the other band members now sing backup vocals, and there is certainly no lack of them in any of their songs, including a song that has a massive amount of them, which is Seasons (track number 6 (insert bit of the song here)). Another thing worth noting is that Marc Hudson’s voice is much clearer than previous lead vocalist ZP Theart’s voice, making the lyrics much more recognizable and the songs overall have a more connected feel.
Of all of the tracks on the album, the last track is the one that sticks out the most, as it is unlike anything the band had done before. The final track on the album is an acoustic version of track 6, Seasons, where the only instruments used are a couple of acoustic guitars and the bands’ combined voices. One of their slower songs on the album, Cry Thunder (track 3), keeps with their tradition of fantasy and glory, painting a story of epic conquest against evil, and does a good job of it too. What DragonForce can do very well with their songs is creating a scene in your head very clearly, without the use of a music video. Whenever they put out a video, it is almost always just them playing a concert, or some backstage footage.
With the release of this album, DragonForce marked a new stage in their history, taking on the talent of Marc Hudson, changing their vocal patterns, and including the rest of the band more in the vocals, creating excellent harmonies in most songs. However, why does this album stand out among the millions of other albums the world has to offer? DragonForce offers a unique look on the speed metal genre, by adding slower songs to their repertoire, and also by creating some of the fastest music in the genre. Their unique and epic stories told by the lyrics also help them gain a reputation in the genre, as most other bands would struggle to create such vivid stories and arouse such feelings of greatness within a person.
The Power Within is a great album in its own right, but it will most likely not appeal to the general audience, as speed metal is one of those genres that people have a hard time getting into. However, for any fans of the speed metal genre, this is a must have, and a competing album for one of the best for the year. If you were to purchase the album, I would implore you to listen to the vocals, and let them paint a story for you. Overall, if this speed metal is your kind of thing, then you should definitely pick this album up, but if you aren’t into speed metal, then you should probably ignore it, unless you want to try to get into the genre.
Daniel K. is a Fredericton High School student who pays far too much attention to the lyrics in a song, rather than the rest of the song itself.
Sources: www.dragonforce.com/biography/ (The band’s official website)