"Maximum Overload"

By Professor Jocko

If I had to give you one word as a first impression of the latest album by DragonForce, that word would be versatility…powerful and versatile, that is! It’s not that they haven’t done this before, now on their sixth studio album over the last 15 years since the bands conception. The opening track titled "The Game" featuring new drummer, Gee Anzalone gives you the entire punch with all guns-a-blazing introduction of the bands full potential, quickly followed by guitar and an incredible vocal line. Although I’m not too familiar with British power metal bands, I would compare some of the similarities to Avenged Sevenfold where the vocals and guitars are concerned. However, DragonForce seems to rely much more with harmonies that are more melodic, as seen with consecutive tracks, "Tomorrows Kings" and "No More" which border on a symphonic metal style with more triumphant musical themes.

This particular album has some incredible dual guitar leads that use arpeggios and quick pitch-bends which are flawless in the execution. Although there are parts where I would like to hear a little crunch as a contrast, the clean cuts by guitarist Herman Li are great to follow; listen to the song "Three Hammers" and you’ll understand what I’m referring to. There are several earlier tracks with some aggressive backing vocals are used effectively, but the majority of the album is a higher pitch style that Marc Hudson uses to compliment DragonForce's speed metal riffs.

I would really like to have seen more of the guttural growls as a contrast, though, as the symphonic verses tend to become a little redundant half-way through the album. However, the music itself does help to soften much of this with various lengthy instrumental parts where the keyboards and special effects take over in the bands fast paced Nintendo-influenced style as seen with a track called "Extraction Zone".

The album also features a creative cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" in which the song is transformed into a very elaborate speed metal masterpiece, but only recognizable as a Cash song in name and lyrics only. There are several bonus tracks, among them are “You’re Not Alone”, “Chemical Interference” and a short instrumental called “Galactic Astro Domination” which put the finishing touches with lengthy, blistering guitar solos and a chugging rhythm that create a huge sound on such an incredible album that pulls dramatically from every member of the group making an impressive exit.