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DragonForce are an English power metal band from Londonmarker, formed in 1999. They are known for fast guitar solos, fantasy-based lyrics, and electronic sounds in their music to add to their retro video game influenced sound.

History

Formation (1999)

DragonForce was formed in 1999 by singer ZP Theart, bassist Steve Scott, guitarists Sam Totman and Herman Li, drummer Didier Almouzni, and keyboardist Steve Williams. Sam Totman and Herman Li had former experience in the band, Demoniac. Initially the band intended to call themselves "DragonHeart", but found that another power metal band with this same name already existed.

Valley of the Damned (2000–2003)

DragonHeart recorded their first demo in 2000. It was an independent release, however it was enough to make them one of the most popular independent power metal bands in the UK at that time. Their song "Valley of the Damned" was released as their first single shortly after they changed their name permanently to DragonForce. A promotional video featuring live footage from their tour around Europe was released along with the song. The song was also a huge success on MP3.com where it charted at #1 for 2 weeks as the most downloaded song. Shortly after the demo was released keyboardist Steve Williams and bassist Steve Scott both left the band and were replaced with Ukrainian born Vadim Pruzhanov on keyboard and British born Diccon Harper on bass. Steve Williams later went on to form power metal band Power Quest.

In 2003, the band signed to Noise Records and began recording their debut full-length album, Valley of the Damned. The title track, re-released in promotion of the album, it is one of the most known DragonForce songs to date and is a staple of their live performance to this day. The band's tour for Valley of the Damned lasted until 2004, with a performance in Japan. The Japan performance was the largest amount of people that the band had played for yet. The entire show was pro-shot to be released on a DVD, however it has not yet been released. Since this concert, the band has returned to the same venue every tour.

Sonic Firestorm (2004–2005)

The band's follow-up album, Sonic Firestorm, proved to be even more successful with the lead single "Fury of the Storm". Sonic Firestorm was the first DragonForce album featuring Adrian Lambert on bass and Dave Mackintoshon drums. When Mackintosh entered the band in 2004, they began referring to their style of music as "extreme power metal" due to his fast blastbeats and double bass rhythms. From this point on, DragonForce became critically acclaimed as the "fastest power metal band." It was around this time that the band began becoming popular internationally and adopted nicknames such has "Bon Jovi on speed" and "Journey Slayer."

The tour was much longer than the band's recent tour for "Valley of the Damned" and featured many more headline shows than the previous. The band toured with many well-known metal bands such as W.A.S.P and Iron Maiden. The band began touring for their third album Inhuman Rampage shortly after the Sonic Firestorm tour and several months before Inhuman Rampage was even released. It was shortly after this time that DragonForce played at Ozzfest.

Inhuman Rampage (2006–2007)

The band underwent various lineup changes before settling with the six current members.The band was introduced to the mainstream with their third album Inhuman Rampage, released in 2006 after signing with Roadrunner Records. The song "Through the Fire and Flames" is one of their most famous songs and is featured on the game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Lindsay Dawson of Herman Li and Sam Totman's former band, Demoniac, appeared as backup vocalist for this album. Shortly after the release of the album, bassist, Adrian Lambert, left the group to raise his newborn son. He was replaced with Frédéric Leclercq for the tour. Frederic later became an official member of the band after the tour. He was also featured in the band's music video for their second single off Inhuman Rampage, Operation Ground and Pound. Inhuman Rampage is a common favorite among DragonForce fans due to its heaviness and complexity. However the band also thanked Guitar Hero, Audiosurf and Ozzfest for a lot of their newfound fame.

Ultra Beatdown (2008 onward)

The band toured with Disturbed, Turisas and Slipknot throughout the summer of 2008 on the Rockstar Energy Metal Mayhem Festival. The band returned in the Fall with the release of their 4th studio album, Ultra Beatdown. The first track and first single, "Heroes of Our Time", was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance on December 3, 2008, losing out to Metallica with their song "My Apocalypse". "Heroes Of Our Time" is also featured in the video games Skate 2 and NHL 10.

On January 22, 2009, the music video for their song "The Last Journey Home" was released to the Xbox Live Community a week before it was released online.

DragonForce will carry out the Ultra Beatdown tour in Latin America, North America and Europe. They were supposed to play in Latin America in May 2009, but the tour was postponed to late 2009. They will first perform at the Two Days a Week Festival in Weisen, Austriamarker on September 4. Then, they will perform in several cities of Canadamarker and United Statesmarker from September 15 to October 11, with special guests Sonata Arctica and Taking Dawn. The next tour will be in Germanymarker, from October 16 to October 30, followed by a single live performance in Luxembourgmarker on October 31. Then, they will go to Latin America to perform in Curitibamarker, Porto Alegremarker, São Paulomarker, Mexico Citymarker, Santiagomarker, Buenos Airesmarker and Bogotámarker from November 6 to November 14. The final part of the tour will be entirely in the United Kingdommarker, from November 19 to December 12.

Herman Li has stated that DragonForce will stop touring in December, spend time at home for Christmas, and then will begin writing and recording a new studio album scheduled to be released in 2011.

Musical style

The band have frequently referred to their style not just as power metal, but as extreme power metal. Herman Li commented on descriptions of the band's style in an interview with Guitar World: "'Nintendo metal', 'extreme power metal', 'Bon Jovi on speed', 'Journey meets Slayer', ... people are always coming up with weird labels for us." The band has sometimes been mislabeled as a speed metal band due to the fast tempos present in their songs, but always as a supplement to other types of metal descriptors.Spring 2009 Issue of Broken Records Magazine calls the band "Equal parts grandeur and Debauchery, Dragonforce doesn't do anything in less than over-the-top fashion."

Controversy

Controversy occurred in late 2006 shortly after the Inhuman Rampage tour went into full swing. The band performed at Graspop Metal Meeting in the summer of 2006 under the influence of alcohol. On top of that, the band had many technical difficulties with the guitars, which at the time was the most "stand-out feature" in their music. The band also drop-tuned their instruments to E flat tuning for the first time. Herman Li stated, "Graspop Metal Meeting of 2006 was [a] total disaster. The technician we had back then didn't even tune the guitar, and no monitoring was done properly. We didn't hear anything...". He also said that most of the Inhuman Rampage tour was bad overall due to technical difficulties. Due to all this, the Graspop 2006 performance is considered the band's worst performance and was enough to convince many DragonForce fans that they couldn't play live and many rumors circulated around the internet that DragonForce faked their music in the studio and the guitar solos were sped up. Although it has since been proven untrue, the band still lost many fans due to these rumors. The gig also earned the band the nickname "Studioforce", meaning they relied on production for their full sound and couldn't play their own songs live.

Band members

Current members
Former members


Discography

Studio albums


References

  1. The 51st Annual Grammy Awards Winners List
  2. The Official NHL 10 Soundtrack - EA Trax
  3. DragonForce video World premier on Xbox Live
  4. Mexico, South America Tour Dates Added
  5. DragonForce: Live Playing 'Through The Roof' Since Having In-Ear Monitors
  6. Guitar World, Holiday 2006, pg 72 "Hotter Then Hell"
  7. http://www.pe.com/entertainment/stories/PE_Ent_Guide_D_soundtracks.204707.html
  8. Entertainment - Juan Gabriel to play the Pond
  9. Friday 07/07/06 Ozzfest 2006, Main Stage @ The Cricket Pavilion, Phoenix Arizona - GIGWISE
  10. DragonForce: Live Playing 'Through The Roof' Since Having In-Ear Monitors


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