DragonForce – Inhuman Rampage

        Since its inception, Metal has sprouted many bastard children (genres). Whether it is the mixing of genres or natural evolution, Metal remains within the public eye by its refusal to stop being gregarious. Take DragonForce, they who refer to their music as ExtremePowerMetal, their music demands attention not only for its musicianship, but for its audacity to be faster than anything else while remaining technically proficient.
     Granted, it is hard to decipher between the songs after twenty minutes or so due to the musics nature to have all instruments in ‘shred’ mode, but, unlike 1980’s SpeedMetal, it helps that drummer, Dave Mackintosh, makes little use of blast beats and can play more than a snare drum.

     Inhuman Rampage is DragonForce‘s third release, their first to be released in the U.S. after signing with Universal Music Group label Roadrunner Records for major distribution. Compared to their two previous recordings, Valley Of The Damned and Sonic Firestorm, Inhuman Rampage is, overall, less of an in-your-face offering and more of a PowerMetal band messing around and incorporating various Rock and Metal styles into their music. Is it always lightning fast? No. It is always DragonForce though – it can get slower; yet their slower is still faster than many band’s fast (does that make sense?).

     The band had to break. That’s the bottom line. Inhuman Rampage is too strong of a release to not have the band be noticed. Writing music with 3000+ notes per song can not be easy, and making it sound good to boot…  
     Production-wise, Inhuman Rampage is worlds beyond Sonic Firestorm and Valley Of The Damned.  Notably, the band sounds like they are playing in a studio and not on another planet and the vocals are next to the other instruments instead of being in front of or behind in the mix.

     Before Guitar Hero exposed the band to a multitude of listeners, DragonForce had already worked hard at self-promotion by accepting a mainstage position at the 2006 Ozzfest right after ending a North American tour, and, in between shows at Ozzfest, the band played off-tour dates whenever and wherever they could. After Ozzfest completed its run, the band again toured through the U.S. twice more before ending the Inhuman Rampage tour. For a band to become known in a country the size of the U.S., extensive touring helps***.

     To say the band broke out is an understatement. G3 cofounder and guitar virtuoso, Joe Satriani was amazed at the playing ability of Herman Li, so much so that Herman made a couple special guest appearences at G3 shows.
     Both Herman and drummer, Dave Mackintosh have held clinics throughout the world. One answer still eludes me though – Sam Totman composes a majority of the music so why is he in the background? Strange.

     There have been rumors and stories abounding that DragonForce cannot play as fast as they do, that their music is sped up in the studio through technological means. However, having seen DragonForce perform live five times, I have heard them make mistakes, forget lyrics, venue generators blow up (twice on the same night in here in Missoula), strings break… The music had to stop while the problems were handled and not once did the music continue like a recording was being played. Did the music always sound like it did on the CD? Thankfully it did not. Who goes to a damn show to hear exactly what is on a CD? Stay home and listen to the CD if that’s what you want.
     Live, DragonForce is tight. In concert they are funnier than shit as they mess with each other. I will miss ZP Theart, their vocalist who left the band in 2010. I saw them four times in Oregon; always in the front row banging my head. When they came to Missoula, ZP recognized me and pointed me out.

Track listing for Inhuman Rampage:
01: Through The Fire And Flames
02: Revolution Deathsquad
03: Storming The Burning Fields
04: Operation Ground And Pound
05: Body Breakdown
06: Cry For Eternity
07: The Flame Of Youth
08: Trail Of Broken Hearts
09: Lost Souls In Endless Time
Enhanced CD Video: Through The Fire And Flames

     ***In 2009, DragonForce did a tour through the U.S. called, “Do It For The Fans” tour. It started in Spokane, Washington and continued with stops in medium sized towns that many bands don’t even bother with. Luckily, they came to Missoula.
      On another note, a complaint by many musicians who move to Missoula is there is nothing but a bunch of Metal bands in this town. Don’t like it? Move to Portland or Seattle and be alternative. Although an alternative to what I do not know.

   Later HellRats!