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Metal - Released April 29, 2016 | Spinefarm Records UK

The English video game/speed/neo-classical power metal enthusiasts' first-ever "best of," the aptly named Killer Elite manages to cram 22 of the band's mightiest moments into a single collection -- that's two discs and a bonus DVD if you're into physical product. Hearing the group's vast catalog parsed into choice bits actually makes for the most compelling Dragonforce outing to date, as Killer Elite not only features the most delicious cuts of meat, it spans two different eras of the band: the ZP Theart-fronted breakout years, and the more recent, Marc Hudson-led era -- Herman Li and Sam Totman, Dragonforce's co-founders and co-shredders, are the band's through line and heart and soul, with the former serving up high-wire circus act-worthy solos and the latter following suit while also serving as the chief songwriter. Opening with the Guitar Hero-approved seven-minute epic "Through the Fire and Flames" from 2006's Inhuman Rampage, which is more or less the band's signature tune, Killer Elite checks off all of the boxes, offering up an all-killer-no-filler set of fantasy-driven power metal anthems, with highlights arriving via fan favorites like "Heroes of Our Time," "Seasons," "Last Journey Home," "Operation Ground and Pound," "Cry Thunder," and "Valley of the Damned." The collection also includes three live recordings, "Fields of Despair," "Three Hammers," and "Starfire," and the three songs culled from the band's 2003 debut Valley of the Damned ("Heart of a Dragon," "Black Fire," and "Valley of the Damned), have been newly remastered. A deluxe edition of Killer Elite that features a DVD containing all of the group's videos is also available. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Metal - Released August 23, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

Look up the word "juggernaut" in the dictionary and you may just find Dragonforce's photo alongside the definition. Not only does it aptly describe the nature of their hyperkinetic "extreme power metal," but also their vertiginous ascent from utter music community obscurity to new media, errr...juggernaut, when their breakthrough single, "Through the Fire and Flames," became first a YouTube sensation and later a keystone of the Guitar Hero video game phenomenon. This transition -- largely based on the new millennium's most unapologetic display of guitar shredding yet -- propelled the surprising sales of the sextet's third album, Inhuman Rampage, and laid quite a foundation for its much anticipated follow-up, 2008's Ultra Beatdown, which, among other things, will face immediate accusations of repeating its predecessor's winning formula (not to mention key song title words like ''Flame," "Fire," ''Storm," etc.). But this accusation doesn't hold much water in the historical scope of the power metal genre -- a genre that has barely evolved beyond the basic template set down by Helloween's form-defining Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1, all the way back in 1987. By those standards, Dragonforce's aforementioned guitar shredding and extreme metal intensity alone already qualify as rather radical innovations. What's more, even though frenetic new tracks like "Heroes of Our Time" and "The Fire Still Burns" evidently descend from the band's signature hit (memorable for Herman Li and Sam Totman's ever-spectacular solos more than any innovative songwriting traits), Ultra Beatdown introduces several new elements into the Dragonforce sound -- not the least of which being more abundant, subsonic tempos. Previously wheeled out almost exclusively for the band's mercifully rare, intolerably saccharine ballads (oftentimes wimpier than Journey, and here represented by a somewhat more palatable drunken soccer anthem called "A Flame for Freedom"), these frequently provide welcome breaths of air amidst the album's still prevailing maelstrom. "Reasons to Live," for example, adopts a tango-like rhythm for its solo break, capped by a stunning synthesizer flurry from Vadim Pruzhanov; "Heartbreak Armageddon" boasts a surprising psychedelic flavor in its midsection; and "The Warrior Inside" breaks up Li and Totman's usual six-string frenzy with a stately orchestrated synth section -- plus a soaring finale led by vocalist ZP Theart. And with standouts like "The Last Journey Home" and its only slightly less distinguished fellow epic, "Inside the Winter Storm," the band shows greater dynamic range than usual, arguably earning some definitive "progressive" metal credentials once and for all, beyond the sheer extended lengths of the songs. All of the above is still couched within the band's general extreme power metal template, mind you, complete with tireless drummer Dave Mackintosh (still quicker than a humping heavy metal hamster) and hapless bass player Frédéric Leclercq, who is unselfish enough not to mind remaining mostly invisible throughout. So that about covers the Ultra Beatdown "juggernaut": come for the guitar solos, stay for the music. Power metal may not be the most inventive musical style on the planet, but Dragonforce are making it more exciting than most anyone else has for quite some time. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released May 23, 2006 | Roadrunner Records

Although they like to call their style "extreme power metal," in actuality Dragonforce is an honest to goodness prog metal band. If you were to mix the lyrics/subject matter of Dio, the guitar work of Yngwie Malmsteen and Iron Maiden (shredding and twin-guitar harmonies, respectively), impeccable double bass thrash metal drumming, and the vocals of Helloween into one high-calorie metallic cocktail, you'd get Dragonforce. Hailing from London (do all prog metal bands come from Europe?), the quintet sticks to the game plan laid out on its first two releases, as evidenced by 2006's Inhuman Rampage. Admittedly, this sort of genre is certainly not for everyone -- some would say it goes beyond parody -- while some of the song titles sound like rejects from a high school battle of the bands contest ("Revolution Deathsquad," "Operation Ground and Pound," etc.). But for those who regard technique over tunefulness, Inhuman Rampage should be a worthy listen. And here's a challenge for budding prog metallists everywhere -- it may be impossible to play your instrument as technically precise as these lads from London do on "Storming the Burning Fields." A fine soundtrack while playing your next level of World of Warcraft. ~ Greg Prato
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Metal - Released April 17, 2012 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released May 23, 2006 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released April 17, 2012 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released August 23, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

Look up the word "juggernaut" in the dictionary and you may just find Dragonforce's photo alongside the definition. Not only does it aptly describe the nature of their hyperkinetic "extreme power metal," but also their vertiginous ascent from utter music community obscurity to new media, errr...juggernaut, when their breakthrough single, "Through the Fire and Flames," became first a YouTube sensation and later a keystone of the Guitar Hero video game phenomenon. This transition -- largely based on the new millennium's most unapologetic display of guitar shredding yet -- propelled the surprising sales of the sextet's third album, Inhuman Rampage, and laid quite a foundation for its much anticipated follow-up, 2008's Ultra Beatdown, which, among other things, will face immediate accusations of repeating its predecessor's winning formula (not to mention key song title words like ''Flame," "Fire," ''Storm," etc.). But this accusation doesn't hold much water in the historical scope of the power metal genre -- a genre that has barely evolved beyond the basic template set down by Helloween's form-defining Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1, all the way back in 1987. By those standards, Dragonforce's aforementioned guitar shredding and extreme metal intensity alone already qualify as rather radical innovations. What's more, even though frenetic new tracks like "Heroes of Our Time" and "The Fire Still Burns" evidently descend from the band's signature hit (memorable for Herman Li and Sam Totman's ever-spectacular solos more than any innovative songwriting traits), Ultra Beatdown introduces several new elements into the Dragonforce sound -- not the least of which being more abundant, subsonic tempos. Previously wheeled out almost exclusively for the band's mercifully rare, intolerably saccharine ballads (oftentimes wimpier than Journey, and here represented by a somewhat more palatable drunken soccer anthem called "A Flame for Freedom"), these frequently provide welcome breaths of air amidst the album's still prevailing maelstrom. "Reasons to Live," for example, adopts a tango-like rhythm for its solo break, capped by a stunning synthesizer flurry from Vadim Pruzhanov; "Heartbreak Armageddon" boasts a surprising psychedelic flavor in its midsection; and "The Warrior Inside" breaks up Li and Totman's usual six-string frenzy with a stately orchestrated synth section -- plus a soaring finale led by vocalist ZP Theart. And with standouts like "The Last Journey Home" and its only slightly less distinguished fellow epic, "Inside the Winter Storm," the band shows greater dynamic range than usual, arguably earning some definitive "progressive" metal credentials once and for all, beyond the sheer extended lengths of the songs. All of the above is still couched within the band's general extreme power metal template, mind you, complete with tireless drummer Dave Mackintosh (still quicker than a humping heavy metal hamster) and hapless bass player Frédéric Leclercq, who is unselfish enough not to mind remaining mostly invisible throughout. So that about covers the Ultra Beatdown "juggernaut": come for the guitar solos, stay for the music. Power metal may not be the most inventive musical style on the planet, but Dragonforce are making it more exciting than most anyone else has for quite some time. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released July 30, 2019 | Metal Blade Records

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Metal - Released August 18, 2008 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released January 1, 2010 | Fontana International - Spinefarm Records

One term that is used quite a bit in jazz circles these days is "Young Lions," which refers to young jazz musicians whose work is a throwback to the straight-ahead acoustic jazz of the '40s, '50s, and '60s -- a "Young Lion" might have started recording in the '80s, '90s, or 2000s, but stylistically, they are quite committed to the jazz of previous generations. And in heavy metal, a similar mentality exists in the power metal revival movement; the '90s and early 2000s saw the rise of many young power metallers who look and sound like they belong in the '70s or '80s. England's Dragonforce is a perfect example; although their second album, Sonic Firestorm, is a 2004 release, it might as well have been recorded in 1981. Just as the "Young Lions" of hard bop and post-bop reject fusion, crossover jazz and free jazz, Dragonforce is oblivious to alt-metal, rap-metal, death metal/black metal, metalcore, and other styles that have flourished in post-'80s metal. There are no chug-chug riffs or downtuned guitars on Sonic Firestorm, which happily recalls an era in which Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, Manowar, King Diamond, and Savatage reigned supreme. Sonic Firestorm isn't the least bit groundbreaking, and no one will ever accuse Dragonforce of being the most original or distinctive band in the metal field. Nonetheless, Dragonforce's long-haired members are good at what they do -- and what this CD lacks in originality, it usually makes up for in terms of passion, energy, and craftsmanship. Sonic Firestorm falls short of exceptional, but it's a generally decent effort that is noteworthy if you still regard Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime and Maiden's The Number of the Beast as essential listening. ~ Alex Henderson
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Metal - Released February 23, 2010 | Fontana International

One term that is used quite a bit in jazz circles these days is "Young Lions," which refers to young jazz musicians whose work is a throwback to the straight-ahead acoustic jazz of the '40s, '50s, and '60s -- a "Young Lion" might have started recording in the '80s, '90s, or 2000s, but stylistically, they are quite committed to the jazz of previous generations. And in heavy metal, a similar mentality exists in the power metal revival movement; the '90s and early 2000s saw the rise of many young power metallers who look and sound like they belong in the '70s or '80s. England's Dragonforce is a perfect example; although their second album, Sonic Firestorm, is a 2004 release, it might as well have been recorded in 1981. Just as the "Young Lions" of hard bop and post-bop reject fusion, crossover jazz and free jazz, Dragonforce is oblivious to alt-metal, rap-metal, death metal/black metal, metalcore, and other styles that have flourished in post-'80s metal. There are no chug-chug riffs or downtuned guitars on Sonic Firestorm, which happily recalls an era in which Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, Manowar, King Diamond, and Savatage reigned supreme. Sonic Firestorm isn't the least bit groundbreaking, and no one will ever accuse Dragonforce of being the most original or distinctive band in the metal field. Nonetheless, Dragonforce's long-haired members are good at what they do -- and what this CD lacks in originality, it usually makes up for in terms of passion, energy, and craftsmanship. Sonic Firestorm falls short of exceptional, but it's a generally decent effort that is noteworthy if you still regard Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime and Maiden's The Number of the Beast as essential listening. ~ Alex Henderson
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Metal - Released August 27, 2019 | Metal Blade Records

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Metal - To be released September 27, 2019 | Metal Blade Records

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Metal - Released September 14, 2010 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released July 12, 2008 | Roadrunner Records