DragonForce - “Extreme Power Metal” Album Review
The metal world has been gifted with the reappearance of legendary band DragonForce through the brand new album "Extreme Power Metal." Marketed as a very ‘80s-themed album, DragonForce combines the styles of synth and outrun with the band’s very own tried-and-true heavy metal sound. As an homage to this style of music, this comes as a surprise to many longtime DragonForce fans, but it’s quite a joy to listen to. With something as popular as synthwave making a resurgence, it's both fun and interesting to see this style reimagined and reinvented for a brand new audience. Metalheads and synthwave listeners can come together in the wake of this new hybrid of music.
The opening track, "Highway to Oblivion," immediately opens with a synthesizer evocative of a different time: one that reeks of lasers and neon. After a few moments, it breaks out into the traditional guitars and epic vocals that we’ve come to know from DragonForce. It's a very strange and jarring sound, yet it smooths itself together very nicely for a cool, bombastic track that lives up to the album's namesake of "Extreme Power Metal." The following tracks, "Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine," "The Last Dragonborn" and "Heart Demolition" all follow the same pattern, though it surprisingly does not feel stale. Every track feels like its mission is to successfully blend both genres, and they all do so in a way that fulfills that purpose. The tracks are fun, loud, and have a certain feel to them that radiates the idea of "extreme" in the best way possible.
While this album is a very fun one in terms of its style, the magic falls a bit short around the halfway point. "Strangers" and "In a Skyforged Dream" abandon the priority of the outrun influences and instead return to a more traditional metal style. The synthesizers are present, but they take a backseat to the elements that DragonForce is known for. This is a bit of a disappointment, as the combination of both styles worked very well on previous tracks. The combined sound propelled this record forward, and it is a bit of a shame that DragonForce decides to fall back on what worked for them previously as the album progresses instead of maintaining the happy medium.
However, that should not deter any listeners from checking out “Extreme Power Metal.” It has the fun, fast-paced action of a traditional DragonForce record, combined with elements of synthwave, which completely reimagines the band’s musical direction. As mentioned before, it is unfortunate that the album eventually relies on previous crutches instead of going headlong into a risky, new style in a full-fledged manner. While disappointing in that aspect, “Extreme Power Metal” is still a very enjoyable listen.
Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “Highway to Oblivion,” “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine,” “Heart Demolition”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Razorblade Meltdown”
Jack Grossman is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.