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DragonForce: 'Reaching Into Infinity'
Released 19th May 2017 (Metal Blade Records)

brian boyle
Words: Dave Bonney


Leading up to the release of this new DragonForce opus, bass player Frederic Leclercq, who handled the majority of song writing on the album explained:

"We were flying out, playing a festival, then back into the studio, then back out again. It was very intense and very tiring. I obviously played bass but also a lot of rhythm guitar, electric and acoustic, and lost my temper a few times - I think we all did at some point, because we wanted to deliver nothing but the best.

"I think we have proven that playing fast was something we were good at, so this time I wanted to bring even more diversity into our music. It's great to challenge ourselves instead of staying in a comfort zone, and I really wanted to experiment with Marc's vocals. I think people are going to be surprised at his brutality.


"The title of the album explains pretty much what we are trying to do with our music," Fred concludes. "Today's world is really crazy - there is fear of the future, uncertainty. But the power of music is infinite, and it can give strength and hope to people."

So with quotes like "bringing diversity into our music", "challenge ourselves instead of staying in a comfort zone" and "I really wanted to experiment with Marc's vocals” whetting the appetite, I couldn't wait to hit the play button.

The title track intro fades out allowing new video release 'Ashes Of The Dawn' to really get this album under way and it's classic DragonForce, trademark tempo and lightning fast fret withering solos from guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman.

Two of the next three songs will be well known to fans already, with 'Judgment Day' and 'Curse Of Darkness' already released as lyric videos and having also been featured in recent live shows.

The dramatic intro to 'Judgement Day' makes way for some frantic showcasing from new Italian drummer Gee Anzalone, suggesting if his nickname isn't Jake The Peg then it bloody well should be, as listening to the songs so far he surely does have an extra leg.

'Silence' is the arm waving, lighters in the air, dare I say, ballad, with the emphasis on power chords rather than blistering solos, which is in direct contrast to 'Midnight Madness' with it's cool but illogical line: "Aggravation, Termination, Generation, Scintillation, Masturbation of the nation".

The first thirty seconds of 'War!' lulls you into a false sense of security, preceding a killer riff that's like a chainsaw to the neck, decapitating the listener within the next ten seconds. It's as brutal as the title suggests and with a chorus that starts with the order "Now listen...", they have my attention.

'Land Of Shattered Dreams', with its line: "A chance to be free from reality.." (sign me up), leads into what can only be described as a remarkable piece of work, and weighing in at over eleven minutes long, 'The Edge Of The World' really is the album's pièce de résistance and is exactly what Monsieur Leclercq was alluding to in his above comments.

This song takes the listener somewhere else... maybe to the edge of the world, and I may get shot for this, but the opening has a certain Maiden-esque feel to it, leading to a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. It ebbs and flows until slowing almost to a standstill before gathering pace once again, culminating in Marc Hudson death growling his way out of his comfort zone, making his Vocalzone throat lozenges endorsement surely a formality? I’ve been reliably informed the band will be playing this live on the forthcoming world tour. Bring it on.

The album closer, unless you have the special edition, is aptly titled 'Our Final Stand' and as it ends it has you reaching for the repeat button as this album needs playing over and over.

The two songs on the special edition are the Battle Metal tones of 'Hatred And Revenge' and a tinnitus inducing cover of Death's 'Evil Dead'. If you have a few Yen to spare, the Japanese edition also has a cover of Japanese melodic rockers Ziggy's 'Gloria' which I'm eager to get a listen to as it isn't included in my pre-release and I'm really hoping Marc Hudson keeps it real and sings in Japanese. But I won't be putting a bet on it.

So to conclude, this album is a barnstormer that long-time fans will of course love, but as Fred suggests, there's plenty of diversity to get the curious on board too.

It's in the shops tomorrow, Friday 19th. Go spend your money.

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18th May 2017

judas priest


monsters of rock

Monsters Of Rock In Full Flight is strictly limited to 300 worldwide and is available from 30th November but those ordering before 31st October will have their name published within a dedicated page in the book.

It's a deluxe 128 page hardback book in a metal flight case with a narrative by Jerry Bloom.

When promoter Paul Loasby put on the first Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1980 he could probably never have imagined it would become an annual event that would endure for so many years.

Featuring bands from the UK, Germany, Canada and USA, Loasby chose to stage the event at the Donington race circuit in the middle of England and it would prove to be a defining moment for many of the bands on the bill.

Not least for headliners Rainbow as it was the their last ever show to feature drum legend Cozy Powell. As it would happen it turned out to be the last for vocalist Graham Bonnet as well. For many of the other bands on the bill such as Scorpions, Judas Priest and Saxon, they were all on the ascendancy and would soon go on to even greater success.

Now in celebration of this first ever Monsters Of Rock Festival comes this hardback book full of glorious photos of the bands that took to the stage for that inaugural event including back stage shots. Most of these shots have not been published before which add to the uniqueness of this deluxe 128-page book which is packaged in its own flight case.

Also included are stories surrounding the event with tales and recollections from those who were there, including artists and fans alike. Each book will be signed by the author. The 300 will sell fast and definitely go on to become collector's items so order yours now right here to avoid disappointment.


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