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DRAGONFORCE ‘Sonic Firestorm’
(Noise Records NO3850)(2004)

The band’s second album with al line-up comprised of guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, drummer David Mackintosh, bass player Adrian Lambert, vocalist ZP Theart and Vadim Pruzhanov on keyboards.

As you’d expect the opener ‘My Spirit Will Go On’ features an instrumental intro before the drums fly off at double-speed and the twin guitar assault begins! Vocalist ZP Theart has the power to soar above the bombastic backdrop, which you need with the guitar fury on here. Other highlights? ‘Fury of the Storm’ features some lightning guitar runs - how the heck do people play so fast? Would go down a storm in the live arena. The epic ‘Dawn of a New World’ where Vadim Pruzhanov gets to show off his talents on a piano driven melody. For speed metal fans you can’t beat ‘Once In A Lifetime’ (not a cover of the Clannad song!), with its soaring melodies and twin guitar heroics.

One slight downside for me is the over indulgent guitar solos at times - I know it is a feature of power metal but Power Quest, Helloween and Intense manage to keep it tighter and within the overall melody of the songs. But hey air guitar fans will be seventh heaven!

Great to see the UK finally producing some worthy melodic power metal bands and 2004 is proving to be a vintage year. Still rank the Power Quest and Intense albums above this but Dragonforce is still a ‘must have’ for 2004. All this and Mercury Rain to come!

Label website

****

Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly


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