DragonForce
Valley of the Damned


4.0
excellent

Review

by Shadows USER (89 Reviews)
December 12th, 2005 | 133 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Prepare yourself for a mystical journey through frozen wastelands and decrepit lands of despair, as DragonForce fires their flaming arrows of heavy metal for the first time. Mount yourself upon the lightning dragon as you bear cold synth effects, polished singing, intense lead guitar, and unsurpassable musicianship for the good of others. DragonForce first appeared as a somewhat symphonic power metal band with intense soloing. Valley of the Damned is essentially a newer Blind Guardian album with extreme shredding. However, compared to their later efforts Sonic Firestorm and Inhuman Rampage, their debut may seem a bit tranquil to many. They havenít yet fully adopted their trademark style of light-speed riffing with excessive wanking of the fretboards. Sure, riffs are still fast and the guitars still solo unlike any other traditional power metal bands, but Valley of the Damned is in every aspect underdeveloped compared to newer works. You should not of course let these few minor hindrances stop you from enjoying what is surely a fine power metal album.

Initially, the album does indeed sound less concentrated than more recent efforts. From the perplexingly titled Invocation of the Apocalyptic Evil flowing immediately into Valley of the Damned, it seems as though the band was taking it slow before biting off more then they thought they could chew. The albumís beginning is much slower and less musically straining. The buoyant melodies supporting the genteel voice of Theart favor a serene approach instead of the full-on metal madness that we now know. Starfire is a charming ballad complete with piano and acoustic features that blazes as fast as a gentle summer rain.

Despite the fact that many songs are well within the musical speed limit, no discredit can be shown towards the early days of DragonForce. Black Fire and Revelations dash along at a rate that would enable them to do their laundry and pick up a few groceries before Superman even had a chance to catch up with that speeding bullet, while Evening Star swoops in undetected on radar to have a quickie with Lois Lane.

Most noticeable about the record is its resemblance to modern power metal releases, due to the excessive inclusion of keyboard effects and melodic background additions. Black Winter Night is nearly a tribute to the Tran Siberian Orchestra at first, with itís authoritative keys and harmonized guitar licks. Starfire throws in ceremonial piano and acoustic guitar action, which borderlines on a Guns ní Roses tribute track. Nothing could possibly sound as epic and triumphant as Heart of a Dragon, which joins the league of Tolkien-based bands without ever mentioning orcs or wizards.

The guys from DragonForce arenít really known for their multi-dimensional approach to writing music. The bandís music is all built on the same basic formula. Luckily for this English clique, that formula happens to be one with extreme appeal. Musicians above all can appreciate this album, just like all albums of the Force. alley of the Damned doesnít stand out particularly among their other releases so far, but it is most assuredly a solid effort from a now famous heavy metal act. Though it may sound primitive and less frantic than new DragonForce, fans have yet to mention that such a thing as bad DragonForce exists. Carry on, oh great storm above the winter spirit, and may your blade clash only upon the tender weakness of thy enemy. Now mount your valiant steed of light and embark on the finest of technical inspirational metal journeys!

Recommended Listening:
Ü Black Winter Night
Ü Disciples of Babylon
Ü Evening Star



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ace_of_Bass2112
December 12th 2005


257 Comments


good review. i love how in Disciples of Babylon like 4 minutes into it they go into a completly diffrent style. sort of a swing jazz awsome thing.

cant wait for Inhuman Rage

Shadows
Moderator
December 12th 2005


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you people.

I was particularly proud of my Superman/speed reference in the middle.

Cravinov13
December 12th 2005


3854 Comments


Sound intresting, are they anything like Dragon Land?

Jawaharal
December 12th 2005


1832 Comments


good review.

Shadows
Moderator
December 12th 2005


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've never heard Dragon Land, so I couldn't tell you. But from the descriptions of Dragon Land I've heard, these guys are somewhat similar, but more faster, less symphonic stuff, and crazier solos.

Thanks people, I (heart) DragonForce!

Zebra
Moderator
December 12th 2005


2647 Comments


I don't listen to metal music and I don't think I have ever commented on a review that you've done.

Good review even though I dispise the genre.

Ace_of_Bass2112
December 12th 2005


257 Comments


what you need my friend is some Power Metal. you may not belive me now but just try it look up some blind guardian, or heck thiss guys are a pretty good dabbel into this wonderful genre.

CushMG15
December 12th 2005


1803 Comments


I just heard a bunch of their stuff tonight, and I must say that I enjoy. Actually, I really enjoy it. But it's weird, because when I listen to it...I can't help but laugh. It just does that to me. I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about.

Very nice review as well.This Message Edited On 12.12.05

StigmataSD
December 12th 2005


43 Comments


With as fast as DragonForce plays, they seriously do NOT need to do ballads. But anyways, I love this album, and this band. Can't wait for future stuff after Inhuman Rampage.

Captain_HumpYourFace
December 12th 2005


119 Comments


I love this album and yeah I laugh my ass off if I actually pay attention to the lyrics. I can't complain though since pretty much any power metal band I can think of has similarly cheesy lyrics.

I think someone needs to get around to making a power metal band that writes lyrics that don't make me picture a cheetos stained 15 year old Dungeons & Dragons fan downloading cartoon porn in his parent's basement. Either that or just give up on the whole singing thing in general and just let the instruments tell a story.

any14doomsday
December 13th 2005


679 Comments


yeah insrumental power metal would be boss.

That was a good review.

Shadows
Moderator
December 13th 2005


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They do have a similar approach for every song they write, but dammit, it's a winner.

The lyrics are cheesy, but that's power metal for you. I used to find this genre laughable as well, but it grew on me.

Thor
December 13th 2005


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really should get this, because I'm obsessed with Sonic Firestorm. Great review.

Thor
December 13th 2005


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

On another note, should it be "Valley of the Damned"? There's a spelling error.

Shadows
Moderator
December 13th 2005


2530 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sorry, I didn't type it. The album name was already in sputnik, possibly from an old review that was deleted.

EDIT: fixedThis Message Edited On 12.13.05

I'm Charming
December 13th 2005


332 Comments


Great review ShadowsFallen, as always.

I don't have this album. But I have and LOVE sonic firestorm.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
December 14th 2005


3996 Comments


I'm tempted to ask if this review is a joke, but considering that this site acknowledges power metal as a subsection-worthy genre, I know that the universe is just totally fucked up today.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
December 14th 2005


3996 Comments


The way I look at it. If you're going to be a power metal band, you need to produce the most ridiculous songs possible. DragonForce achieves that but is really living in the shadow of Europe. "The Final Countdown" is the beginning and end of power metal, considering it never got better than that hair metal song from 1984 (I think it's 1984 at least).

DFelon204409
Emeritus
December 14th 2005


3996 Comments


I know. The bands that transcend the genre they create/influence/modify are the bands that are best remembered. Look at Tool, Rage Against the Machine, and Deftones for nu-metal. All bands that were in a world of their own and produced work beyond the scope of a narrow genre. Europe was a band that began in the realm of prog and trashed that to produce crappy, poppy hair metal, that should hold a place in the heart of every Arrested Development fan(anatic). Their offspring are truly miserable on a songwriting level but hey, they can shred, so let's just give their albums 4/5s. Whatever. This album is way too homogenous, predictable, and linear. That doesn't stop it from being fun though.

Captain_HumpYourFace
December 14th 2005


119 Comments


Can critics please stop calling Arrested Development brilliant so that Fox will just get around to cancelling that steaming pile of shit like they should have after the first season?

Wow. That was completely unrelated... ummm... the lyrics on this album still suck. There, that should do.



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