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Dragonforce RII

Reaching Into Infinity

19th May 2017 – Metal Blade Records

01. Reaching Into Infinity
02. Ashes of the Dawn
03. Judgement Day
04. Astral Empire
05. Curse of Darkness
06. Silence
07. Midnight Madness
08. War!
09. Land of Shattered Dreams
10. The Edge of the World
11. Our Final Stand

Dragonforce: a name that by itself can cause controversy. Many people see them as too silly or cheesy. Others are annoyed at how Dragonforce is perceived to have gained popularity – through the Guitar Hero video game series. Yet, despite all that, they wield a massive following of dedicated fans.

A vocalist change in 2011 seemed to give them a new sense of direction, focusing less on the insane guitar acrobatics and more on great songwriting, as evidenced by 2012’s fantastic The Power Within. They managed to top that with 2014’s Maximum Overload. Now in 2017, the time has come for the band’s seventh full length album, Reaching into Infinity. Can they keep their upward trajectory of quality going?

Let this be heard loud and clear throughout the land: Dragonforce fucking rule. If anyone says otherwise, they are wrong. Reaching Into Infinity has some powerful standout songs in “Ashes of the Dawn”War!” the Castlevania-inspired “Curse of Darkness” and the sword-raising glory that is “Judgement Day” – the latter of which brings their trademark blast-beats-under-crazy-guitar-leads sound into the fray before ending on a slower coda complete with truly victorious-sounding vocal lines.

It is looking increasingly clear that the break between Ultra Beatdown and The Power Within, coupled with a new vocalist, has done the band a lot of good. Their sound, while maintaining its core, feels like it’s branching out, with Reaching Into Infinity continuing the trend. While it doesn’t quite have a song as absurdly catchy as “Cry Thunder” or “Seasons”, it has some wonderful melodies regardless.

That said, power ballad “Silence” is not really worth the time. It’s understandable for a band to want to try something different, but no one listens to Dragonforce to hear sappy ballads, and it’s hard to believe that the band that wrote this song is almost the same band that wrote “Through the Fire and the Flames”.  Luckily, the next song on the album “Midnight Madness” makes up for that lost time easily enough.

This feels like the fullest, biggest production Dragonforce have had yet. The guitars and keyboards fill the mix perfectly, giving a very lovely shine to every song. Vocalist Marc Hudson sounds as good as always and his backing harmonies are mixed

It might come as a surprise to no one, but Reaching Into Infinity has a ton of insane – and insanely fun – guitar and keyboard solos; each one more deliciously indulgent than the last, including some signature whammy pedal shenanigans from the duo of Sam Totman and Herman Li. There really isn’t anything quite like an outrageous guitar solo playing while the drums ferociously blast in the background, and Dragonforce are quite possibly the only power metal band who do it that way.

Reaching Into Infinity is yet another feather in the cap of Dragonforce. They have not missed a step since recruiting Hudson, and this one feels almost like an evolution in their sound. At the very least, it is clear that their songwriting over the last three albums is driven by something very different than their first four. With a production that lets the keyboards and pads shine through like they deserve and fantastically melodic and catchy songwriting, Dragonforce have made yet another great album. Is it as good as Maximum Overload? No, but it doesn’t need to be. Dragonforce will carry on,

Kevin writer banner Jan 2014