Review Summary: DragonForce's first effort shows a lot of promise, but additionally, a lot to be desired.
Just take a look at what DragonForce has now. The music they've produced off Inhuman Rampage is incredibly modern sounding while retaining 80s metal qualities. The mixing and production is top notch. Hard to believe that six years earlier that they were just beginning the band with a much smaller lineup than they have today. Their band name was DragonHeart then, and they recorded this self-released demo album in only seven days
under that name before changing to DragonForce a year later.
DragonForce at this point is (all are backing vocals)...
Herman Li - Guitars
Sam Totman - Guitars
ZP Threat - Lead Vocals
Steve Scott - Bass
The other "guests" were Clive Nolan on keyboards and Peter Hunt on drums.
Right from the start of Valley of the Damned
, if you've listened to their other material, you can tell that the production quality is A LOT worse than their 3 other albums. The drummer seems less intense than the others on later albums, so it is a lot easier to listen to. ZP's vocals are obviously different, whether you like them better than he is on the albums is your decision (I personally like them a bit better). This song can be downloaded for free off DragonForce's official site, so get it there for a taste of this album. The solo at the end seems watered down from the future album version, so if you like that solo, don't expect much from that here. Overall however, very good and comparable to the album version of the song.
is the next song, and I feel it is the worse song on the demo album. However, it does sound the most like the one off the album. The slower section in the song, once again, isn't as good as it is in the album. The end of the solo section seemes simpiler than it is in the album version, so really don't expect much from that either. The feel of the song overall seems slower, thanks to the drummer and the bad production quality.
Here we have the famous Starfire
. ZP's vocals are absolutely awesome here, so expect some great vocals from ZP. The acoustic guitars also seem better than they were off the album. The "clicky" sound of the double bass sounds suprisingly good in this song, and accompanys the acoustic guitars well in its appropriate places in the song. The acoustic solo is better than it is in the album; it's more soothing and dosen't sound as forced. The only bad part about this song is those seemingly pointless chords right after the song ends, but it's not really a problem, as you can skip the song after it ends.
The next song is probably the biggest suprise, and the biggest difference in the song writing out of the five songs on here. In Black Winter Night
, the keyboards have been completely removed, and the chorus is completely different. The lyrics "for the king and the crown will not fall" in this song wins the cheesiest DragonForce line award ever, completely beating Heart of a Dragon's intro. The lyrics are also changed in select places. Despite the vast changes to the Black Winter Night we know and love today, this is a suprisingly good song, and I give it a good recomendation for a listen.
The last song is Disciples of Babylon
, and it also has changed quite a bit. ZP's low vocals at the beginning of the song are horrid, but when he changes to his normal vocal range, it's fine. The keyboards, while still present, are almost absent and has the strangest tone i've ever heard in a DragonForce song. The acoustic section in the song is far weaker than the album version, so don't really expect much from that part. The bass is pretty neat though. At the end of the song, the cool keyboard solo that's at the end, well, is there, but the horrid keyboard tone just takes away from the song.
[+]Some may like ZP's vocals better
[+]It's a lot easier to listen to
[+]Valley of the Damned, Starfire, Black Winter Night
[-]The production quality sucks
[-]It's pretty much impossible to find anywhere
[-]Revelations, Disciples of Babylon
Overall, if you're a big fan of DragonForce and need all their songs, by all means look for the demo everywhere and you'll eventually find it. Otherwise, just download the songs, as the band really doesn't care if you do, as it isn't being sold anymore. If your not a big DragonForce fan, stay away from this and look into the album version of Valley of the Damned; it's much
Final Rating: 3/5