Review Summary: It's a passable album if you are crazy about power metal. However, the rest of us are sitting here covering our ears patiently, waiting for it to just end already.
I suppose the most important fact I can state about Ultra Beatdown
is that I suppose I must have had it for over a month (perhaps more? I don’t know) and that I have only listened to it three times. One of those times was the obligatory first listen I felt I must give it, being an album that was undoubtedly going to be popular and thus NECESSITATING an opinion from me. The other two were forced, painful trips through the album. As I am currently listening to it trying to write this review, the only thing I can wonder is why the hell is there about 4 hours of Dragonforce material now, and all of it sounds the goddamn same.
Out of the 55+ minutes of ‘new’ music presented on Ultra Beatdown
, there are really only two things that I can say surprised/impressed me. The call of “starchaaaaaaaaaser” in “Heroes of Our Time” was actually amazingly cheesy but still well placed for once, and “Reasons to Live” is a surprisingly well written song. That’s it. I’m pretty sure 90% of our readership will have heard Dragonforce, but for those of you who haven’t lets go on a little rundown of the ‘Force‘s sound.
- The singer is one of the legions influenced by Geddy Lee/Bruce Dickinson, and is so flashy and theatrical with his voice that any potential he has is drowned out by the massive production placed on it.
- It’s power metal. Yeah. Whoops.
- The guitarists play the same leads and solos at blazing fast speeds all day, every day, and they don’t give a FUCK if you don’t like it, because they’re going to slow it down and still mess it up live anyways.
- The lyrics are like if you made a soundtrack to an RPG based on Arthurian Legends then added a bunch of awful sci-fi fantasy crap to it. AKA hello soundtrack to Final Fantasy X.
- You aren’t going to care what the drums or the bass (it exists?) sounds like, because I mean lets be honest: no one else really cares.
- The keyboard player does his best to make this sound as the kids say “Super Nintendo” like. Funny thing, I never played a Super Nintendo game that sounded like a hyperblast of “dee dee doops”.
That is what Dragonforce have evolved into. Ultra Beatdown
features the same guitar riffing, theatric singing and the rest of that stuff that doesn’t matter in regards to Dragonforce. Every song is a collection of verses used to show off ZP Theart’s voice, a bridge to maybe attempt a keyboard solo to solidify their video game worship/power metal-ness, and then a collection of solos that usually involve elements of their past songs played in a different key (if you’re lucky). Listen to “Reasons to Live” as it actually contains the first overall excellent Dragonforce song since “Fury of the Storm”. As soon as they cut down on the endless fret masturbation, maybe people beyond the metal community and guitar hero fags will really begin to appreciate the obvious technical talent the band has. Chalk up Ultra Beatdown
as a win for previous fans, a loss for previous haters, and a whole lot of “isn’t that the band that had that really crazy hard song on Guitar Hero SICK” from anyone else.
MORE SONGWRITING PLEASE NEXT TIME THANKS.