DragonForce (sic) are a British band famed for their epic fantasy lyrics and energetic, over-the-top style of extreme power metal. On the other hand, they're also quite widely hated for having songs with similar structure and writing, and being perceived by some as stereotyping Power Metal as nothing more than super fast guitars, double bass drums and high pitched vocals about dragons, as well as various false accusations that they digitally speed up their playing and the occasional It's Popular, Now It Sucks. They're best known for their appearance in Guitar Hero 3.In March 2010, the group parted ways with singer ZP Theart. The group announced an open audition via YouTube for his replacement, and after screening thousands of applicants, selected in March 2011 native Englishman Marc Hudson as his replacement. The group's first album with Hudson was released in early 2012.Not to be confused with the Sega Saturn game DragonForce, although said game was the inspiration for their name - they're self-confessed video game geeks (hence video game-like sound effects in their songs).
Valley of the Damned (2000/2003)
Sonic Firestorm (2004)
Inhuman Rampage (2006)
Ultra Beatdown (2008)
Twilight Dementia (live album) (2010)
The Power Within (2012)
Maximum Overload (2014)
The group's current lineup consists of:
Marc Hudson, of Oxford, England, on vocals.
Frédéric Leclercq, French-born. Plays bass and provides harsh backing vocals.
Vadim Pruzhanov, of the Ukraine. Plays keyboards and various electronics, including a Theremin, turntable, and Kaoss Pad.
Sam Totman, guitarist and principal songwriter, born in England but raised in New Zealand.
Gee Anzalone of Turin, Italy on drums.
Former members include:
ZP Theart, lead vocals, born in South Africa. Extremely charismatic. Note that "ZP" are not initials, but rather his actual first name. After his departure from Dragonforce, he formed his own band, I AM I.
Adrian Lambert, bassist, from England.
Dave "Compact Dynamo" Mackintosh, of Glasgow, Scotland, on drums.
Audience Participation Song: The chorus of "Heart of a Dragon", as quoted above, is a sing-along. Also, ZP usually has had the crowd sing along to part of "Through the Fire and Flames".
Auto-Tune: A line or two in various songs, used for effect. Example: At 2:41-2:45 in this video
Breakup Song: "Seasons", written by Frederic. It's about recovering in the aftermath of a particularly rough breakup.
Different from most breakup songs, in that instead of being about the singer missing their lover, reminiscing on how great they were together, or being hateful and wishing they had never met them, the ultimate theme behind "Seasons" seems to be more about picking oneself up and moving on with life. Pretty impressive for a band known best for singing about swords, fire, and dragons!
Breather Episode: Each of the group's albums features one Power Ballad as a counterpart to the rest of their music: "Starfire", "Dawn Over a New World", "Trail of Broken Hearts", and "A Flame For Freedom".
Captain Obvious: "Our swords are made of STEEL" from "Cry Of The Brave". Yeah, that's usually what swords are made of...
Except when they're made of bronze or Iron, and considering their usual themes, it's not impossible to think this song takes place in a time/place where iron or bronze is more common...
Changed For The Video: The video version of "Through the Fire and Flame" is only 5 minutes long while the original version is 7 minutes long.
Cluster F-Bomb: The new live album Twilight Dementia has a surprising amount of cursing in between the songs; it's especially surprising since their actual songs never use any language harsher than "damn", "hell", and "whore".
It happens quite often during their live performances, where they will change their lyrics on the fly, such as changing "Now here we stand with their blood on our hands" to "Now here we stand with our cocks in our hands". ZP used to do this all the time, but Marc usually sings the lyrics as they were written.
Creative Differences: The band stated that ZP leaving "is due to insurmountable differences of musical opinion".
Don't Try This at Home: Unless you would want a short-lived career as a professional guitarist, marked by severe repetitive stress injuries on your hands and wrists, never, ever attempt to teach yourself how to play guitar by playing along to Herman Li's guitar work - there are only a few guitarists who can play as fast and as precise as him, and you're most probably not one of them.
Drugs Are Bad: "Give Me the Night" is about a man whose life has been ruined by his drug addiction.
Epic Rocking: Most of their songs clock in at around seven minutes long and are half guitar solo. The above-mentioned "Strike of the Ninja" is noteworthy for being the group's first recorded song to run less than five minutes.
And "Strike of the Ninja" isn't even a DragonForce song. It's originally from Sam's joke band side project, Shadow Warriors.
They've stepped away from this a bit for The Power Within, averaging about 5 minutes per song and reset their record for shortest song with Fallen World, which is only 4:07.
Genre-Busting: Both the band and metal fans in general have trouble putting their specific style into a particular genre. The band calls it "Extreme Power Metal", while metal fans find it to be a mix of typical Power Metal and Speed Metal mixed with Chiptunes.
Lyrical Dissonance: There's a surprising amount of darkness and death hidden underneath all the upbeat, uplifting music - though usually offset by some Determinator-esque lines commonly apparent in their songs.
"Once In A Lifetime" sounds pretty uplifting, and the chorus is pretty encouraging. The verses, however...
In minds of society, we all live in harmony.
Truth is that we all die in vain.
"Once In A Lifetime" also includes the line "Violent fury of firestorming death".
Also extremely obvious in "Black Winter Night". While it is slightly less uplifting than many other Dragonforce songs, it is still a fairly happy-sounding song, which heavily conflicts with its lyrics:
No more hope
As we raise our hands to the sky
No more dreams
As the rivers run dry...
And later in the song:
No more tomorrow...
Dying of sorrow...
"Last Man Stands" is one of their happiest sounding songs, and yet it features lyrics regarding humanity nuking itself and prayers in vain and barren desolation.
Manly Tears: DragonForce's songs use the words 'tears' and 'cry' within their lyrics frequently, but this has more to do with the fantastical, over-the-top and epic settings and situations they sing about than trying to pull Tear Jerkers from their audience.
Multinational Team: Every member of the band comes from a different country, though they identify themselves as "DragonForce from London, England".
Power Ballad: One per album - "Trail of Broken Hearts", "Starfire", "Dawn over a New World", and "A Flame for Freedom". Subverted in their most recent album, wherein it doesn't have a full power ballad, but instead the first portions of "Wings of Liberty" and "Last Man Stands" are power ballads.
Power Metal: They like to call themselves "Extreme Power Metal."
They could be more accurately called "Speed Power Metal".
Or "Epic Speed Power Metal", or "Extreme Speed Power metal".
Promoted Fanboy: Marc Hudson, who won the contest to replace ZP Theart after he left the band.
Rule of Cool: Quite possibly the driving force behind the entire band. Why the extravagantly long guitar solos? Why is every song about warriors charging into glorious battles at the end of the world? Whynot?
Rule of Three: "THREE HAMMERS HIGH!" A three word phrase repeated thrice in each chorus.
Herman once joked that there should be a "DragonForce live version" cheat for Guitar Hero, which allows players to make more mistakes.
Self Plagiarism: A lot of their songs sound alike, to the point that some people claim they only have one song.
Short Run In Peru: The group's albums are typically released in Japan a full week before the rest of the world gets them.
Shout-Out: It's not uncommon for one song's lyrics to reference the title of another, or refer to a place described in an earlier song. For example, "Through the fire and the flames" is mentioned in the lyrics of Cry For Eternity.
Also of interest, parts (all parts, to some) of some songs very similar to others - if you've heard the chorus of Storming the Burning Fields, then Heroes of Our Time's intro will sound very familiar indeed. Also, the intro to My Spirit Will Go On is the same as Once in a Lifetime, only sped up quite a bit.
Also, the intro to "Fields of Despair" is actually the Winning Run theme from Super Hang-On.
Wham Episode: It might fly over the heads of anyone not looking for deep messages in a Power Metal song (i.e. most normal people) , but when you look at the lyrics of Scars of Yesterday, it's pretty clearly about rape.
That's not all. Heartbreak Armageddon is about a man spiraling into depression after being divorced, and Reasons to Live is about a counselor failing to prevent suicide. Wow.
All of these songs are from Ultra Beatdown, making it something of a Wham Album