*Dragonforce *have returned with the follow up to 2004’s Sonic Firestorm, which was critically extolled across the board for its instant appeal and ambitious orchestration. With Inhuman Rampage, the ultranational quintet comes equipped with a bounteous bombast and rapid intricacy that many of their continental peers can only dream of.
Guitarist, Herman Li’s overt technical proficiency in the fine art of Shredding earned him the Dimebag Darrell award at last year’s Metal Hammer awards. The mesmerisingly refined antics of the Hong Kong-born axeman lay down the foundations of every song, with the fretboard wizardry underlying every ridiculous wall of overblown, hair-metal tomfoolery that the Londoners build here. And, boy, does he shred, for it is the speed at which he does so that carries this band further than others of their ilk. While other power/hair metallers are happy to continue at their stadium rock pace, Dragonforce seem to settle for nothing less than breakneck. You can only applaud their attitude.
This kickass collection of tunes exudes a certain extravagance that is unseen anywhere else in the British rock market. The lilting, but never wilting, chaos created by Li’s glorious guitarsmanship is magnified by the thunderously thrashed out, time-change rhythm section. ZP Theart’s yowling vocals and Vadim Pruzhanov’s dizzying keyboards lend a dramatic twist to the texture of every song, however spectacular they may have already been. The vocals have improved immeasurably here, losing some of the hideously clichéd streak that haunts so many similar acts that tell bizarre stories about warriors, dragons and other such fantasy. Every song has the impact that begs you to dance, none less so than the album closer. _‘Trail of Broken Hearts’ _gives your Zippo a use beyond your 20 Luckies as you feel your arms rise to a loftier position for this power ballad to end all power ballads.
Their brand of ‘extreme power metal’ has all the hallmarks of The Next Big Thing, but not in this country. No chance. Inhuman Rampage had a big fat export sticker slapped on it well before they inked any deals. See also: massive in Germany. Leather pants in the place of lycra one-pieces dressing this absurdly brazen display of fist-pumping, butt-clenching vigour makes Dragonforce the band that The Darkness could never be.
8Raziq Rauf's Score