ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED MICHAEL GODDARD
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED MICHAEL GODDARD
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED JAIDYN HALE
Review Cassandra Hale
The line that snaked around the corner of 170 Russell was long, Melbournians turning out in force to see first hand the juggernaut that is DragonForce. Imagine my surprise when bass player extraordinaire Frederic Leclercq strolled past checking out the massive line of fans braving the cold. It was a really nice surprise and a great way to start the night. After a brief wait we were in and ready to check out local band Teramaze.
The 50 minute set comprising 8 songs was soaked up by the full house, heads nodding in approval as they took flight into a progressive metal journey that left everyone spellbound. As per usual Melbourne music fans always come early to check out the support and tonight was no exception, giving Teramaze their biggest crowd to date. Front man Nathan Peachy was exceptional, his charisma oozing as he hit the high notes and had the crowds fist pumping throughout the show. I was speaking with a fan in the crowd who said he had only come for Teramaze, showing that they definitely have the following they deserve. Technically perfect, their music was melodic but still having the heavy overtone required to fit the genre. They covered songs from Esoteric Symbolism and Her Halo and finished with the 12 minute paragon An Ordinary Dream.
Teramaze had being flying below my radar up until now, but after tonight they are pinging hard demanding some more attention. An impressive unit from start to finish, I recommend getting along to see these guys, you wont regret it.
Not having seen DragonForce before I held no expectations as to how the night would unfold, but to say the crowd erupted would be an understatement, it was a full metal assault as the power metal professionals took the stage. The atmosphere was spine-chilling and you could tell the diehards had been waiting a long time to see DragonForce back in Australia. Frontman Marc Hudson welcoming us all with his best ‘Aussie’ accent and a choice Australian greeting which for the safety of young readers shall remain unsaid. Needless to say the fans revelled in it, and his Australianisms kept flowing all night. Including words like ‘tinny’ and ‘Bottle-O’ so great to see they had done their research on this fine land.
Opening with the killer song Ashes Of The Dawn the boys were off at warp speed, hands a blur as they played with precision and yet made it look like child’s play. Operation Ground and Pound followed by Judgement Day off the new album Reaching Into Infinity were up next, a mosh quickly took hold, and the energy in 170 Russell was palpable. Seasons, Heroes Of Our Time, Curse of Darkness, an awesome mix for the fans, and they wasted not one minute, fists pumping, jumping, screaming and some actually singing.
The banter and jokes between the band was hilarious and while the show was technically brilliant it really did feel like it was your mates playing up on stage, we were involved in every joke, even have a bottle of Jack Daniels passed around to the fans. Certainly not something I have ever witnessed at a gig. These guys were genuinely loving every minute, as were we, as Three Hammers and Fury Of The Storm played out to some more circle work on the floor
Drummer Gee Anzalone is an absolute machine on his kit, double bassing like a demon and giving us a tremendous solo to exhibit his skills. The duelling guitars of Herman Li and Sam Totman were nothing short of amazing, add bass player Frederic Leclercq to this equation and you have one hell of a night of metal madness. The risers on the front of the stage were a fantastic idea, especially for some of us who may be vertically challenged, we did not miss a thing as they were frequently used throughout the night. When someone’s shoe ended up on stage the chants for a ‘shoey’ rang out and while it didn’t eventuate it was pretty bloody close. Fred took to the riser with his Sonic The Hedgehog guitar and showed us he not just a master of the bass, giving us an awesome guitar sing-a-long and a sizzling shred on his Sonic. He also did not miss the opportunity to give us a little bit of the Sonic theme song much to everyone’s delight.
Heart Of A Dragon, The Edge Of The World and Cry Thunder finished up the main set list not complete without a singing competition, Melbourne up against the last two shows, Perth and Japan, and of course we won! After a minute to catch their breath the boys were back to finish off what had been an insane night of power metal with their own version of Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire, and as the name implies a circle pit ensued at rapid speed into a scorching ring of madness. There could only be one song left to make the night complete, of course it was Through The Fire And Flames, the frenzied fans went into meltdown and on Marc’s calling they surged forward to the front of the stage ready to catch him as he launched himself into the crowd. A quick surf and he was delivered safely back to the stage to finish up what was one of the most amazing shows the Melbourne metal heads have seen in a long time.
DragonForce did not just hit it for six they blew it through the roof of 170 Russell and then some. Please guys don’t leave it too long between drinks next time, there will be a bottle of Jack waiting for you!
International metal superstars and power metal speed legends DRAGONFORCE have revealed that they will be touring Australia as part of their Reaching Into Infinity World Tour.
Casper chatted with one of the two lead guitarists of Dragonforce, Herman Li. He lets us know about the new album and the upcoming tour this year.
Destroy All Lines & Chugg Entertainment presents
DRAGONFORCE’s reputation is such that anything new from them is regarded as a landmark moment in the ongoing story of metal. And fans can expect nothing less when their brand-new album ‘Reaching Into Infinity’ drops on May 19 and Australians will be amongst the first in the world to hear it. If previous shows have anything to go by this will be a tour that “melts the faces off everyone in the place with the insane speed of their playing that seemed to get only faster as their set progressed.” – Loud Mag
With their lightning fast riffing, DRAGONFORCE are one of the most furiously exciting and animated live acts in the world today. Tickets go on sale Thursday 16 February at 9am!
Tuesday 20 June – Capitol, Perth 18+
Wednesday 21 June – 170 Russell, Melbourne 18+
Thursday 22 June – The Basement, Canberra 18+
Saturday 24 June – Manning Bar, Sydney 18+
Sunday 25 June – The Triffid, Brisbane 18+
TICKETS ON SALE THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY @ 9AM local time
It’s astonishing to realise that DragonForce now has a history going back 15 years and that they’re about to release their sixth album. But such is the pace at which music and life move these days that what was seemingly a highly promising young British metal band just yesterday are now an established full force (ahem) on the scene. In fact, their reputation is such that anything new from this lot is regarded as a landmark moment in the ongoing story of metal. But the new DragonForce album is a revelation, one that will surely entice them to another level of achievement.
It’s called “Maximum Overload,” and that’s precisely what you get from the 10 tracks on the main album, plus the five bonus songs for the special edition and a DVD. “We have our own style and sound,” says Herman Li, who founded the band in 1999 with fellow guitarist Sam Totman. “And we didn’t want to move away from that. Once you’ve got your trademark approach in place, that’s what fans come to expect from you. But we also wanted to challenge ourselves. We didn’t want to rehash what we’d done before, but take it all in a fresh direction.”
So, for the first time in their history, DragonForce have worked with an outside producer. The man in question is the celebrated Jens Bogren, who has previously worked with Opeth, Katatonia, Devin Townsend and Paradise Lost, among many others.
“We had thought about getting Jens to mix our 2008 album (“Ultra Beatdown”), so he was always in our minds. Sam and I have co-produced all our albums so far but the problem with that is it can be really hard to push yourself and the rest of the band. There’s always the temptation of going to the pub instead! This time around, we wanted a producer who’d really challenge us, and Jens was a perfect choice.”
When you listen to “Maximum Overload,” you can hear the way DragonForce have matured, which has actually increased the intensity and power the band generate. What’s gone before – from 2003’s debut “Valley Of The Damned” through “Sonic Firestorm” (’04), “Inhuman Rampage” (’06), “Ultra Beatdown” (’08) and “The Power Within” (2012) – has laid impressive groundwork, but this is an album with a towering momentum.
“Jens didn’t let us get away with anything. He was a slave driver, which is what we needed. He kept on pushing us to get the very best we could deliver. That was a good position to be in because it meant whereas we might have settled in the past for one standard, this time, we had someone outside the band insisting we could do it better.”
So, what can we expect this time around from DragonForce? Li is unequivocal. “I’d say you can expect something heavier and also thrashier than we’ve been before. Yes, it is a different approach for us. But there’s still a lot of the trademark DragonForce style present. When people say their new album is ‘different’, it can mean virtually anything. But what we’ve avoided is a drastic change, which nobody wants.” It’s about evolution, not revolution.
The album was recorded over a period of six months in various locations. “We did a lot of the sessions at Jens’ own studios (Fascination) in Orebro and Varberg, Sweden. We’d start about 8am and go all the way through to something like 6pm. We also worked at studios in the UK. And I even did some guitar solos on the yacht owned by Zoltan Bathory from Five Finger Death Punch! “Changing the environment for recording does help because the different atmospheres can inspire you. We also took breaks at some points, which again was a great help to us. It allows you to stand back and objectively listen to what you’ve done so far, and you can sometimes hear the way you can improve on what’s already there.”