There’s no doubting the musical talent assembled within the Dragonforce ranks, the strange thing is that they never seem to be able to break into the next level. They’ve got two high quality guitarists, a more than solid rhythm section and a singer who has range and the sense to not try to compete directly with all the mayhem around him. The real issue for Herman Li and the gang is that some view straight up speed metal as a tad dated. Some view the kind of music put out by Dragonforce in the same way a sports fan might look at Usain Bolt if someone were to tie his shoe laces together.
Maximum Overload is unlikely to alter many opinions. On first listen you get some startlingly intense stuff from Li and fellow six stringer Sam Totman coupled with Marc Hudson’s studious attempts at balance and order with the mic. It’s frantic but predictable. Delve a little deeper though and things looks, and sound, much rosier indeed. For a start this album has more variation on it than anything the band have released previously. Admittedly it’s not a slap you in the face change of direction, it’s more a showing of willingness to experiment. You can hear this best on ‘Three Hammers’ which puts the brakes on and explores a more subtle side to the London six piece. Trivium’s Matt Heafy contributes to three tracks but is virtually anonymous unless you listen very carefully indeed. Fact is a song only needs so much guitar in it before it’s a case of …umm…maximum overload.
The experience of Dragonforce is the main positive force driving this latest release. The band sound more at home within their own boundaries and are therefore more happy to give things a nudge outside of the comfort zone. Everything is drum tight and super slick which is a good thing given the frantic pace some parts are played at. Maximum Overload might not win Dragonforce many new fans but it’ll keep the old ones very happy. The band are one of the best around at this kind of music and this latest album only reinforces just how good they are.
Maximum Overload might not win Dragonforce many new fans but it’ll keep the old ones very happy. The band are one of the best around at this kind of music and this latest album only reinforces just how good they are.