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
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!
Black Winter Night
Disciples of Babylon