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DragonForce: Maximum Overdrive

Some fifteen years after their formation, the fastest guitar slingers in power metal land DragonForce are back in 2014, with the appropriately titled Maximum Overload as it's the pace that once again mostly prevails. The same line-up appears here as on 2012's The Power Within where DragonForce's new vocalist Mark Hudson showed what a fitting choice he was.

Working with an outside producer for the first time after five prior studio albums saw DragonForce hand that task to Jens Borgen (Opeth, Katatonia, Devin Townsend, Paradise Lost and others) who then pushed the band to deliver their best work. Also contributing to Maximum Overload with backing vocals on the songs 'The Game', 'No More' and 'Defenders' is Trivium's Matt Heafy adding to the intensity. Once again DragonForce unleash that fire power with more of those hypersonic guitar solos courtesy of their nimble fingered axe duo Herman Li and Sam Totman Maximum Overload is sure to delight the fans of their previous outputs.

The furious stick and foot work of drummer Dave Mackintosh feeds the momentum for the first of three speedsters that is "The Game", "Tomorrow's Kings" and "No More". Dave actually left the band after this album's completion looking to perform a progressive style of music. With a similar feel to the catchy "Cry Thunder" off The Power Within is the equally appealing melodic metal of "Three Hammers" the best track on Maximum Overload, and more proof that DragonForce can successfully ease that speed and they do it again with "The Sun Is Dead". I don't mind at all when DragonForce mix up the tempo, that constant express style isn't for everyone and can tend to wear thin after a while. A song that I never would have expected a metal band to put their spin on is the Johnny Cash hit "Ring Of Fire", well here they have done just that ramping it in up in true DragonForce express style. The resulting version sure has its strongpoints but I do have mixed feelings as the cheddar is strong in this one, and using one of the bonus tracks would have maybe been a stronger alternatives such as "Chemical Interference" which blows it away.

Maximum Overload is one of DragonForce's strongest recording to date, maybe even their finest. While Maximum Overload probably wont go anywhere to win over those who have dismissed the band in the past their fans will relish this new release.


Track Listing
1. The Game
2. Tomorrow's Kings
3. No More
4. Three Hammers
5. Symphony of the Night
6. The Sun Is Dead
7. Defenders
8. Extraction Zone
9. City of Gold
10. Ring of Fire (cover)
11. Power and Glory (bonus track)
12. You're Not Alone (bonus track)
13. Chemical Interference (bonus track)
14. Fight to be Free (bonus track)
15. Galactic Astro (bonus track)

Added: August 4th 2014
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2178
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

DragonForce: Maximum Overdrive
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-08-04 06:34:48
My Score:

I am quite prepared to go on record and say that DragonForce's debut album Valley of the Damned is one of my favourite albums. I don't think that they've ever really come close to recapturing the sheer joy and majesty of that record. That said, I've very much enjoyed all their other albums as well in particular The Power Within which was their first effort with ZP Thearts's replacement Marc Hudon and I find myself satisfied with Maximum Overload which is the last DF album to feature drummer Dave Makintosh who is off to indulge his love of prog rock elsewhere.

Herman Li says, "Once you've got your trademark approach in place, that's what fans come to expect from you. But we also wanted to challenge ourselves. We didn't want to rehash what we'd done before, but take it all in a fresh direction." I'm not wholly confident that there's much here which we haven't heard before but that is a good thing in many ways. One knows exactly what one is going to get from a DF album and Maximum Overload delivers in spades. They still look ludicrous; the guitar solos are still way over the top, Vadim Pruzhanov's keyboards underpin everything and all is mostly good in the world. I can't make my mind up about whether the cover of "Ring of Fire" is one that I will come to skip in time but right now it's great fun and a good way to hook listeners into the album.



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