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Music / DragonForce

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Proud and so glorious
Standing before of us
Our swords will shine bright in the sky
When united we come
To the land of the sun
With the heart of a dragon we ride
— "Heart of a Dragon"

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 are 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 III: Legends of Rock.

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. In 2023, Marc Hudson released Starbound Stories, his first solo album that also features Frederic Leclecrq on bass.

Not to be confused with the Sega Saturn game Dragon Force, 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
    • Valley of the Damned (demo, as DragonHeart) (2000)
    • Valley of the Damned (studio version, as DragonForce) (2003)
  • Sonic Firestorm (2004)
  • Inhuman Rampage (2006)
  • Ultra Beatdown (2008)
  • Twilight Dementia (live album) (2010)
  • The Power Within (2012)
  • Maximum Overload (2014)
  • In the Line of Fire: Larger Than Live (live album) (2015)
  • Killer Elite (Greatest Hits album) (2016)
  • Reaching into Infinity (2017)
  • Extreme Power Metal (2019)
  • Warp Speed Warriors (2024)

The group's current lineup consists of:

  • Herman Li - guitars, backing vocals (1999-present)
  • Sam Totman - guitars, backing vocals (1999-present)
  • Marc Hudson - lead vocals (2011-present)
  • Gee Anzalone - drums, backing vocals (2014-present)
  • Alicia Vigil - bass (2020-present)

Former members include:

  • ZP Theart - lead vocals (1999-2010)
  • Steve Scott - bass, backing vocals (1999-2000)
  • Diccon Harper - bass, backing vocals (2000-2002)
  • Adrian Lambert - bass, backing vocals (2002-2005)
  • Steve Williams - keyboards, keytar (1999–2000, 2000)
  • Matej Setinc - drums (1999)
  • Didier Almouzni - drums (1999–2003)
  • Dave Mackintosh - drums (2003-2014)
  • Vadim Pruzhanov - keyboards, keytar, synthesizers, Theremin, backing vocals (2001-2018)
  • Frederic Leclecrq - bass, backing vocals (2006-2019)

Through The Trope And Flames:

  • Aerith and Bob: A result of being a Multinational Team; the overall lineup consists of Herman, Sam, Frédéric/Alicia (current touring bassist), Marc, and Gee (short for Luigi).
  • Arc Words: 'Fire', 'Sword' and 'So far away' are popular enough to inspire drinking games.
  • Ascended Meme: Steve Terreberry went from being the mythical "triangle player" for the band, to filling out for the departing Fred as bassist on the North American leg of the Extreme Power Metal tour.
    • Subverted, as he ended up not touring with them, with Damien Rainaud (Once Human) playing as touring bassist instead.
  • Audience Participation Song: The chorus of "Heart of a Dragon", as quoted above, is a sing-along. Also, ZP usually 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
  • Breaking Old Trends: Ultra Beatdown is the first album that has songs that aren't fantasy based. Following albums would continue this trend with songs like "Seasons", "Give Me the Night", and "No More".
  • Break-Up 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".
    • Herman Li once said this is the reason that their concert setlists are arranged with the ballad in the middle.
  • Call-Back: "The Flame of Youth" has "Through the fire, through the flames" in the lyrics, referring to their most famous song, "Through the Fire and Flames".
  • Car Song: Highway to Oblivion has shades of this.
  • Changed for the Video: The video version of "Through the Fire and Flames" is only 5 minutes long while the original version is 7 minutes long.
    • Several other songs fall into this with their music videos, namely Operation Ground and Pound, Heroes of Our Time, The Last Journey Home, Midnight Madness, and Highway to Oblivion.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: During one of the "Making of The Power Within" videos, Frederic delivers a profanity-laden rant in French after repeatedly failing at one particular section of a song.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The 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.
  • Cover Version: Of, wait for it... "Ring Of Fire" by Johnny Cash. Sounds exactly how you'd expect it to.
    • Also... "My Heart Will Go On" by Céline Dion. Talk about a Titanic tribute.
    • ...and finally DragonForce's Version of "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. Well, they are also indeed Swifties, too.
  • Darkest Hour: Used often in the lyrics. Come to think of it, their lyrics are either this, or In-Universe Moment of Awesome. There is no such thing as moderation.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Through the Fire and Flames", anyone?
    • "In flames we'll now forever burn eternally" from "The Flame of Youth".
  • Determinator: Almost every one of their songs is such from the POV of such a character.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of their songs is very reminiscent of that level in the very first Dawn of War where you storm a corrupted temple.
  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Their song "The Edge of the World" ends with The Chosen One saving the earth after finishing a long and difficult journey.
    At the end of the journey for the savior of the earth
    Sound the bells of victory through the signs of our rebirth
    As the shadows fade away, we watch the new sun rise
    No one fears the darkness anymore
  • 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. Maximum Overload continues this trend, where the longest song is only 6 and a half minutes.
    • Then comes Reaching into Infinity which has an 11-minute song on the album.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: During a show in Finland. the band had Marc read out a list of what were allegedly helpful and useful phrases in Finnish. They were actually swear words and things like "I'm gay", "I like men", or "I have a small penis."
    • And in Montreal, Quebec they had him do the same in Québécois French.
    • They made fun of this in "Razorblade Meltdown" when the chorus has purely gratuitous Finnish swearing that has nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of the lyrics.
  • 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.
  • Glory Seeker
  • Heavy Mithril: Lots of their songs are about sticking it to Satan and assaults on evil temples.
  • Herman Li And Sam Totman Can Breathe In Space: The commercial they did for Capital One shows them rocking out on an asteroid. See also: Space Is Noisy
  • Hot-Blooded: In a genre that is almost as Hot-Blooded as the Super Robot one, they manage to be one of the most loud bands.
  • I Call It "Vera": Vadim's keytar is named "BATMAM", after an acronym used by the band to describe Sam Totman: Bitter And Twisted Middle Aged Man.
  • Large Ham: ZP Theart. Just listen to them live.
  • Lead Bassist: Frédéric Leclercq was an unusual case, he was type 3, but not as in that he was the face of the band, but because he wrote most of the songs.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Both Herman and Marc can be considered this.
  • Loudness War
  • 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.
  • Marathon Level: While most of their songs sit comfortably past five minutes, The Edge of the World off Reaching Into Infinity sets a record by clocking in at just over eleven minutes
  • Multinational Team: Every member of the band comes from a different country: Herman from Hong Kong, Sam from New Zealand, Vadim from Ukraine, Frédéric from France, Marc from England, and Gee from Italy, while ZP was from South Africa. However, they identify themselves as "DragonForce from London, England".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Virtually Anything can be made more epic with the addition of a DragonForce song.
  • "Pachelbel's Canon" Progression: The chorus and instrumental parts of "Valley of the Damned".
  • Power Ballad: One per album - "Trail of Broken Hearts", "Starfire", "Dawn over a New World", "A Flame for Freedom", "Silence", and "Remembrance Day". Subverted on The Power Within, 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. Maximum Overload has the Power Ballad "You're Not Alone" as a bonus track, The Edge of the World off Reaching into Infinity and Remembrance Day off Extreme Power Metal continue this tradition.
  • Power Metal: They like to call themselves "Extreme Power Metal." Judging by nature of their music, the "extreme" in there might be short for "extreme speed".
  • Older Than They Look: Herman Li is 42 and Frédéric Leclercq is 40, looking at them, you would not think they are a day past 30.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Every album starting with Maximum Overload includes a cover song. "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, "Evil Dead" by Death, "My Heart Will Go On'' by Céline Dion, and "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift.
    • Beginning with The Power Within, there's a song that's directly about a video game. "Symphony of the Night" and "Curse of Darkness" are about Castlevania, "Wings of Liberty" and "Heart of the Storm" are about StarCraft, "The Last Dragonborn" is about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and "Power of the Triforce" is about The Legend of Zelda.
  • Rated M for Manly: Even Chuck Norris sheds a manly tear when Starfire plays, and their themes are about war and heroes and other hypermasculine pursuits.
  • Retraux: The beginning half-minute or so of the bonus track on Ultra Beatdown, EPM (see the Power Metal entry above), is done in 8-Bit chiptune style.
    • As is the synth in the first verse of "Through The Fire and Flames".
    • Also, their cover of "My Heart Will Go On" is in the style of 8-bit music for the first half-minute or so.
  • Revolving Door Band: Their lineup changes about every album.
  • Rousing Speech: "Heroes of Our Time": "Call on us! The power in all of us! Forever more, with us! We are victorious! And so aliiiiiiiive!"
  • 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? Why not?
  • Rule of Three: "THREE HAMMERS HIGH!" A three word phrase repeated thrice in each chorus.
  • Sampling: The theme to Double Dragon is played during the guitar solo in "Black Fire".
  • Self-Deprecation: "Bleeding ears hear the cry!"
    • In a interview for Guitar Hero III, Herman joked that there should be a "DragonForce live version" cheat, which allows players to make more mistakes.
    • The band has poked fun at their tendency to include enormously long guitar solos in most of their songs. The video for "Operation Ground and Pound" contains a snippet in the middle of the solo, showing singer ZP standing in front of a green screen drinking coffee, then looking into the camera and shrugging.
    • At Graspop 2009, the band poked fun at their notoriously awful performance at Graspop 2006.
  • 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 a lyric in "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 basically that of "Once in a Lifetime", but sped up.
    • In "Black Fire", a cover of the Double Dragon theme can be heard.
    • Also, the intro to "Fields of Despair" is actually the Winning Run theme from Super Hang-On.
    • The Power Within brings us a pair of StarCraft inspired tunes, "Wings of Liberty" and "Heart of the Storm", the latter title changed to avoid a legal dispute.
    • They've made songs inspired by Castlevania, specifically "Symphony of the Night" and "Curse of Darkness" (the latter being a cover of "Bloody Tears").
    • Extreme Power Metal includes songs inspired by Skyrim ("The Last Dragonborn") and Starship Troopers ("Troopers of the Stars").
    • Warp Speed Warriors has "Power of the Triforce", which is inspired by The Legend of Zelda.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: ZP Theart, normally. Averted in their actual songs though.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Alicia is currently the sole female band member. Since she plays the bass this also doubles as an example of Female Rockers Play Bass
  • The Something Force
  • Special Guest: Matt Heafy of Trivium contributes vocals to three songs on Maximum Overload.
  • Subdued Section: Quite frequently.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Subverted in Evening Star.
  • Three Chords and the Truth - completely averted, even power ballads like Silence have at least 10 chord changes.
  • Troperiffic
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Done rather unashamedly in "Heart of a Dragon". Also, "Fury of the Storm".
  • Wham Episode: Ultra Beatdown. 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, Heartbreak Armageddon is about a man spiraling into depression after being divorced, and Reasons to Live is about a counselor failing to prevent suicide.
    • And from The Power Within, "Give Me the Night" is about drug addiction and "Seasons" is a fairly dark Break Up Song (it has a hopeful ending, though).
    • Reaching Into Infinity is like a disk filled with Wham Episodes. With a stronger focus on vocal range out of Marc, it is easily stranger than the previous stuff.
    • Body Breakdown can be interpreted as a song about losing one’s viginity.
    • The Game is quite sad, the protagonist is trying to find out 10,000 ways to say sorry (to his wife, if the video is anything to go by) and still hopes for a brighter tomorrow.
    • Heart Demolition can be interpreted as either a song about a man whose marriage went awry due to his addiction to electronics, or a song about an abusive relationship.
  • The X of Y: Used in some of their song titles: "Fury of the Storm", "Soldiers of the Wasteland", "Valley of the Damned", "The Flame of Youth", "Trail of Broken Hearts", "Scars of Yesterday", and assorted others.

Tropes used in their music videos:

"Through the fire and the tropes we carry on..."