Dragonforce – Maximum Overload


Artist

Album

Maximum Overload

Label

3Wise Records

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

Dragonforce

Summary

Dragonforce stay faithful to their fanbase

Rating

80 / 100

At this point, if listeners are expecting anything significantly different from a new Dragonforce album, their expectations will most certainly not be met. If they’ve come to Maximum Overload, however, with a desire for frenetic guitar riffs, breakneck double kicks and soaring choruses, then there’s no doubt they’ll be sated by the time the final strains of the band’s cover of ‘Ring of Fire’ completes the album.

For the uninitiated, Dragonforce have been creating their own version of ‘video game’ and ‘fantasy’ metal for a decade and a half, characterised by their superhuman abilities at their respective instruments. Album opener ‘The Game’ is the fastest song that Dragonforce have ever recorded, no mean feat when every song regularly features drums pummeling faster than most other bands’ fastest efforts. Furthermore, every song on Maximum Overload feels as if an epic story is being told throughout their runtimes; even when the band members slow down, such as in ‘Three Hammers’, there’s always a lyric like “marching side by side” or “together we fight” alongside a galloping riff to bring the listener back to the musical journey.  The sparing use of screams in the background is also a welcome touch, as it brings another element to the already frenzied melting pot that is Maximum Overload.

Dragonforce have never budged from their format, and lead guitarist Herman Li is adamant that this is completely intentional. Therefore, this will determine whether Dragonforce’s latest effort will impress or elicit shrugs of indifference. Yes, the elements from each and every album that have come beforehand are there; there’s the obligatory chorus beginning with “freeee”, there’s ‘pacman’ guitar sounds that signal the beginning of a solo (even a video game inspired interlude during ‘Extraction Zone’) and fast rather than intricate drum patterns are plentiful. However, even with their first recording with an outside producer, the production is ridiculously sharp and captures every note. This is no easy task with the sheer amount of sound that comes from the British natives. Vocalist Marc Hudson’s sophomore album with the band proves that he’s no mere replacement, and drummer Dave Mackintosh’s final recording with the group is a lasting testament to his drumming ability.

Conclusion

It’s not as if anyone is going into this album with the mindset that they want something different, and Dragonforce have delivered to their fans. At this stage in the band’s career, by the time ‘Extraction Zone’ leads into its solo after the aforementioned video game interlude, listeners will have made up their mind as to whether they love or hate the album. For the faithful though, Dragonforce have delivered again.

Tracklisting

1. The Game

2. Tomorrows Kings

3. No More

4. Three Hammers

5. Symphony of the Night

6. The Sun is Dead

7. Defenders

8. Extraction Zone

9. City of Gold

10. Ring of Fire

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