'In The Line Of Fire... Larger Than Live'
Recorded at Japan's Loud Festival, on their ongoing Maximum Overload world tour, the grandmasters of melodic power Metal release their debut live concert DVD.
They say that size doesn't matter, but if you want to fully appreciate Dragonforce's live prowess, size does matter. Last September, in a 450 capacity sweatbox in Dublin, I caught one of the first shows of the current world tour. For a band that specialise in big energetic epic anthems, the shoe box sized stage and the in-house lightning did their performance no favours. But put them on a stage like the one in the Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo, in front of 20,000 people with a lightning rig big enough to light up the Sahara Desert, then you get the full Dragonforce experience.
The DVD opens with the crowd euphorically chanting the bands name before they take the stage and tear into a typically roof raising 'Fury Of The Storm' followed by 'Three Hammers'. Nine different camera angles were used in the recording of this show, capturing nearly every shape thrown by hands down, one of the most energetic bands around today. Michelin Star shredders Herman Li and Sam Totman, as you'd expect, are in spellbinding form.
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When they are captured on camera like this, the results are so good they're, bordering on the freakish. Intermittently throughout the DVD, we're treated to brief insights into the bands off stage life. Sam Totman lets us in on his fetish for pinball machines, Frenchman, Frederic Leclercq, tells us about his undying passion for all things wine and walking alone in the woods.
As for Herman Li, well not only is he a wizard with his axe, but he knows his way around a car engine also. Not content with opening up a Porsche on a California race track, he only services the bloody thing as well. These little interludes between tracks work well, as at times the energy and ferociousness of the show can at times become a tad visually draining, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Standout tracks in the show include Dragonforce favourites 'Cry Thunder' and the always brilliant 'Through The Fire And The Flames', two tunes that highlight the powerhouse rhythm section of bassist Frederic Leclercq and the relentless muscle of drummer Gee Anzalone.
Of course we can't forget bouncing ivory tickler Vadim Pruzhanov, who, when he gets the chance, seems to relish his time out front flaunting his keytar. There's no doubting that the Li and Totman combination are Dragonforce's biggest weapon, but vocalist Marc Hudson could have a major say in that.
The band's songs are big gargantuan anthems that require a serious set of pipes, and this man's set are damn good. The resemblance to Sebastian Bach is uncanny, the hair, the height and the brawny vocal range. However, in off stage clips Hudson comes across a far more polite individual, one you could take to meet your parents for afternoon tea. But once his feet hit the stage, he instantly becomes a Metal god.
My personal highlight is the barnstorming version of Johnny Cash's 'Ring Of Fire'. I must admit that when I heard Dragonforce of all people were to cover this, my head spun faster than Linda Blair's. But it turned out a cracker and sounds absolutely stunning on this DVD. All in all, a thoroughly exhilarating watch, one that shows a band that are as likeable offstage as they are on. The endlessly entertaining amount of tour footage fuses perfectly with the brilliantly shot concert.
So if you're a die hard fan of this band, you will feel Christmas has come early after viewing this. And should the unthinkable occur and you fail to be impressed, I would seriously consider consulting your GP.
Marc Hudson-Lead Vocals
Fury Of The Storm
Black Winter Night
Sam Off Tour
Fred-Life In France
Symphony Of The Night
Gee's Drums Journey
Japan Show Day
Behind The World Tour Part 1
Behind The World Tour Part 2
Ring Of Fire
Through The Fire And The Flames
Vadim Back Home
Herman's Time Off
Valley Of The Damned