Warp Speed Warriors

DragonForce

DRAGONFORCE's back with a massive Power/Speed Metal bombing!!!!
February 19, 2024

Sorry to have to say this, but there are moments when Metalheads are the most boring and unbearable people of the world, especially when a new name rises to commercial success. It’s impossible to see/hear people always trying to offend a band that’s on the rise, when we all be happy for its success, because the more bands in the mainstream is better for everyone. GHOST, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, SLIPKNOT, SYSTEM OF A DAWN and more forms the dorsal spine of those who were (and still are) assaulted by those old and boring ‘uncles-of-patch-and-buttons-collets’ that try to rule the musical taste of others (here in Brazil things came to ridiculous levels sometimes). And one of the favorite targets is DRAGONFORCE. Every time the band releases a Single, Album, video or anything else is a true storm of hate, and no one (band, fan or public in general) has to deal with such thing. And prepare for boring words, because they’re back with a new album, “Warp Speed Warriors”.

As usual, Sam and Herman (the guitarists and fou8nders of the band) took the whole of the producers, with Damien Rainaud sharing such responsibility with them (and he did the mixing and mastering), all done at Mix Unlimited, Los Angeles, California (USA). It’s a sonority ‘default’ for those used to DRAGONFORCE’s music: clean, defined and with the right amount of heavy distortions (besides some moments there’s some filthy distortion as usual for extreme Metal genres, as can be heard on some parts on “Astro Warrior Anthem”). It’s a ‘bombing’ sonority with a heavy impact that earns the band all it needs to make their songs explode. And the artwork follows the same tendency drawn on “Extreme Power Metal”, focused on the band and on its passion for music and themes linked to videogames.

The band had a change on its lineup, because the longtime bass player Frédéric Leclercq left to enter KREATOR’s ranks, and Alicia Vigil came to his place, and they’re not using a full-time keyboardist anymore (since Vadim Pruzhanov left on 2018). The fans can ask if such changes had a toll on the band’s music, and the answer is no: they’re still the same, just a bit more experienced. It’s the same Heavy/Power/Speed Metal as always, with extreme fast tempos and blast beats inherited from extreme Metal tendencies (remembering that Herman and Sam played on DEMONIC, a Black Metal act, in the 90s), excellent melodies and catchy choruses, all in a package of great arrangements and tons of personality. It’s the old and good DRAGONFORCE all know.

Opening with a bed of keyboards effects comes “Astro Warrior Anthem”, a fast and melodic song that presents the same and usual melodic structures and fast tempos with hooking arrangements that are usual for the band, with massive shreds on the guitars (both on riffs and leads) and excellent technical appeal. On the sequence, “Power of the Triforce” is a possible live hit of the album, with speed decreasing and focuses more on melodies and on the QUEEN-like vocals and backing vocals contrasts (and it’s inspired on the videogame franchise “Zelda”).

“Kingdom of Steel” opens on a climatic form, again with some keyboards contrasting with the vocals in a way that reminds Progressive Rock in the 70s, and follows such tendency even when the other musical instruments comes into the song, offering a refreshing and melodic blown of wind to the band’s fans. As expected, “Burning Heart” brings the band’s usual fast tempos into the arena once more, and the blast beats used fit on the melodic sheath (although some deeper melodic parts appear), with a thunderous work of bass guitar and drums.

A martial drumming ignites “Space Marine Corp”, another moment filled with excellent melodic hooks, this time into a more ample accessible way, evading a technical overload (but pay attention on some aggressive tunes of the guitars) and with an clear commercial appeal (what’s not a sin). “Prelude to Darkness” is a short intro based on apocalyptic effects to introduce the hearers to “The Killer Queen”, another moment with contrasts between faster and slower moments of the album (with a clear epic scent in some parts), with excellent vocals using a wide range of tunes.

The shreds that introduces “Doomsday Party” gives the wrong idea, because this one uses a more accessible appeal and sets of tempos, something usual for many Metal acts today (especially from Finnish scene), with charming keyboards and backing vocals during the hooking chorus (something that carries clear 80s Pop Rock traces). On “Pixel Prison”, the band offers to the fans another fast set of tempos and melodic shreds on the guitars that contrasts with charming keyboards moments (it’s a song on the usual way used by the quintet). And closing the normal version of the album, the last offering is a personalized (heavier and full of shreds, but still respecting its melodic and harmonic structures) version for Taylor Swifts “Wildest Dream (DRAGONFORCE’s Version)” as bonus track (and from a Synth Pop ballad became a full Heavy/Speed Metal song).

But for those that love special editions, on the disc two, the band offers the fans versions for “Astro Warrior Anthem” (with the presence of Matthew K. Heafy of TRIVIUM and Nita Strauss, known for guitar playing with Alice Cooper), “Burning Heart” (with the vocals of Alissa White-Gluz of ARCH ENEMY, and her harsh tunes fits perfectly), “Doomsday Party” (with Elize Ryd of AMARANTHE on the vocals), and “Power of the Triforce” on an instrumental version, all carrying the same, all to give a different taste to the original ones.

For lovers and haters, DRAGONFORCE is back after five years (maybe as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic) with a new release, strong as always, and “Warp Speed Warriors” is another excellent release. It’s about to be in stores, so go and reserve you copy!

10 / 10

Masterpiece

Songwritting

10

Musicianship

10

Memorability

10

Production

10
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"Warp Speed Warriors" Track-listing:
  1. Astro Warrior Anthem
  2. Power of the Triforce
  3. Kingdom of Steel
  4. Burning Heart
  5. Space Marine Corp
  6. Prelude to Darkness
  7. The Killer Queen
  8. Doomsday Party
  9. Pixel Prison
  10. Wildest Dream (DragonForce’s Version) (bonus track)
  11. Astro Warrior Anthem (feat. Matthew K. Heafy and Nita Strauss) (bonus track)
  12. Burning Heart (feat. Alissa White-Gluz) (bonus track)
  13. Doomsday Party (feat. Elize Ryd) (bonus track)
  14. Power of the Triforce (instrumental)
DragonForce Lineup:

Marc Hudson - Vocals
Herman Li - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Sam Totman - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Alicia Vigil - Bass, Backing Vocals
Gee Anzalone - Drums, Backing Vocals

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