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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
DRAGONFORCE MAXIMUM OVERLOAD REVIEW 2014

 

DRAGONFORCE - MAXIMUM OVERLOAD

METAL BLADE

AUGUST 19 2014

 

 

15 years in Dragonforce release their 6th album with ‘Maximum Overload’ and for once such a bombastic title couldn’t be more fitting. If you’ve loved the band’s overblown histrionics over the years then this is an album that builds upon that history and seeks to take that bar once again and set it yet higher still.

 

Maximum Overdrive is ten songs of sheer force and power though the special edition offers a further five and a DVD which pretty much make this unmissable. Taking the established template guitarists Li and Totman combine to challenge themselves and listeners to add a new twist – that party comes with working (for the very first time) with an outside producer in Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Devin Townsend, Paradise Lost, among many others) who’s job description at least partially seems to have included pushing the band and keeping them out of the pub!

 

What you get is an album that has all the hallmarks you would expect from a Dragonforce release but with a level of maturity we’ve probably only seen hints of before: it’s both heavier and thrashier than previous fare. Part of that it seems came from Jens work ethic “Jens didn't let us get away with anything. He was a slave driver, which is what we needed. He kept on pushing us to get the very best we could deliver. That was a good position to be in, because it meant whereas we might have settled in the past for one standard, this time we had someone outside the band insisting we could do it better." says Li.

 

Starting off with the wildfire of ‘The Game’ (Thankfully not the cover of the Queen song, though we do end the album proper with a cover) Dragonforce is immediately in full flow, and the track also sees the first contribution from Trivium’s Matt Heafy on backing vocals. It’s a song that lets out all the stops and sets up what is a consistent, over-the-top and eventful ten tracks.

 

‘Tomorrow’s Kings’ that follows is a song that is full of confidence and cascading guitar and divine melody but it’s ‘No More’ that really tips the scale with its thrashy riff and soaring vocals. After that initial flourish there is no time, it seems, to waste as the percussive and relatively subdued opening of ‘Three Hammers’ and the eventual bluster of ‘Symphony of the Night’ cut deep and fast before ‘The Sun is Dead’ offers complete Metal.

 

If you are looking for us to play favourites it’s hard as everything here passes muster. ‘Defenders’ fiery blast adds Thrash fuel to the already blazing fire, whilst the more symphonic and oddly-titled (and oddly-tired lyrics – “Extraction zone, you can make yourself at home, Extraction zone, you don’t have to feel alone” really?) of ‘Extraction Zone’ at least adds an interesting ‘scratched’ interlude that works. ‘City of Gold’ though takes things to their natural explosive Metal conclusion before that final cover song ‘Ring of Fire’ burns with an intensity Cash surely never imagined in his wildest indigestion nightmares (can we really say that?). Whatever! It’s a truly inspired cover!

 

Of the bonus tracks there are four originals and a ‘Shadow Warriors’ cover in ‘Fight to be free’: each song is equally as indispensable as the tracks on the main album, leading us to believe that the Dragonforce camp must be very happy indeed with their work. After the Power Metal bluster of ‘Power and Glory’ and the wonderful Metallic stomp of ‘Fight to be Free’ we end with the instrumental ‘Galactic Astro Domination’ which says it all really…

 

Play it loud and feel the (Dragon) force… As Li says "Just repeating the same thing is a waste of everyone's time. We all feel we've recorded something purposeful, for us and the fans." It’s a bold statement but oh so true…

 

by Mark Diggins

 

DRAGONFORCE MAXIMUM OVERLOAD REVIEW 2014