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British power metallers DragonForce root their sound in the lightning-fast twin-guitar assault of Herman Li and Sam Totman, whose virtuosic solos are often epic in length. Their sound weds power and progressive metal to retro video-game electronic soundscapes in songs that frequently evoke swords-and-sorcery imagery (usually with deliberate humor) matched to a live show with intense energy and movement. Since the release of 2003's Valley of the Damned (their 2000 demo re-recorded), their fan base has grown exponentially in the United Kingdom, America, Asia, and South America. With the release of 2006's Inhuman Rampage, they began a sales and chart run that included each successive album. The group's hook-laden 2017 album Reaching Into Infinity cracked through the radio airplay barrier in the United States, while 2024's blazing Warp-Speed Warriors brought DragonForce into the next decade with a boldface exclamation point. Formed in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, keyboard player Vadim Pruzhanov, and the powerful vocals of ZP Theart; drummer David Mackintosh and bass player Adrian Lambert joined the lineup later. DragonForce had already toured with the likes of Halford and Stratovarius before the release of their debut, 2003's Valley of the Damned. The success of that record earned the melodic rockers a worldwide audience, resulting in a string of sold-out concerts in Asia and Europe. The band's sophomore effort, Sonic Firestorm, was released in 2004, followed by Inhuman Rampage in 2006 and Ultra Beatdown in 2008. DragonForce parted ways with Theart in 2010, bringing new vocalist Marc Hudson on board the following year. Although Hudson would make his first appearance on 2012's The Power Within, the group's sixth album, 2014's Maximum Overload, would be the last for drummer David Mackintosh, who would be replaced by Gee Anzalone later that year. The band's first-ever DVD, In the Line of Fire, was released in 2015. Shot in high definition at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, the set featured a mix of DragonForce classics and selections from the previous year's Maximum Overload. The group began their next album in between bouts of global touring. During breaks, they'd work with producer Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, but in between festivals and other dates, they cut tracks at studios in London and Witney in the U.K., Charleville-Mézières in France, and in California in the U.S. In February 2017, DragonForce used their Instagram account to reveal the artwork for a forthcoming album in nine posts that created a three-panel illustration. Titled Reaching Into Infinity, the full-length was released in May while the band was on tour. 2018 saw a remixed and remastered re-release of The Power Within, Re-Powered Within. The following year they issued their eighth studio album, Extreme Power Metal, which was recorded in Los Angeles by Once Human's Damien Rainaud at Mix Unlimited, and partially on guitarist Herman Li's Twitch livestream channel with live participation from fans. It was DragonForce's first offering without long-term keyboardist Pruzhanov, who left in 2018. Longtime bassist Frédéric Leclercq left the fold shortly after the album's release and was replaced by Alicia Vigil, who made her studio debut on 2024's Warp-Speed Warriors. The band's ninth long-player and first effort for Napalm Records, the assured set included the Legend of Zelda-inspired single "Power of the Triforce" and a blazing cover of Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams."
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo


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