November 17th, 2008 5:25 PM by Karyn Smith
This U.K. metal band became somewhat of surprise breakout act two years ago, when the inclusion of the group’s single “Through the Fire and Flames” in the video game “Guitar Hero 3” helped push the guys up the Billboard singles chart. It’s easy to see why: the song’s ridiculously complex set of guitar solos far outshines (and outpaces) any Malmsteen/Van Halen composition. But has the novelty worn off?
DragonForce works because the guys in the band have perfected a template—an odd one, admittedly. Essentially, each five-to-eight-minute track on “Ultra Beatdown” features impossible-sounding guitar work, vocal histrionics from Z.P. Theart that would do Steve Perry proud, random video game samples and lyrics that split the difference between “World of Warcraft” and “Up with People” (“rise above the universe, starchaser!”). Oh, and plenty of tacky, pop-friendly keyboards, too. Add it up, and tracks like the nonsensically awesome “Heartbreak Armageddon” basically fuse every bit of guilty-pleasure pop culture of the last 30 years into one brilliant (or stupid) thrash attack. With guests Turisas and Power Glove.
House of Blues