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Sunday, October 17, 2021

CD Review: Ultra Beatdown


Ultra Beatdown

Roadrunner Records


Rating: 3


Modern metal is known for its extremely opinionated fan base almost as much as it is for its music. Always ready to chastise you about how much your music sucks compared to theirs in a lengthy online forum post, these fans are arguably some of the most stubborn and critical people out of every angsty teen-dominated genre.

Interestingly, these arguments often turn into pissing contests about technicality, despite the common claim that they value musicality above all. And in every argument about speed, DragonForce is jumped to like nachos at an anime convention.

Whether it’s lead guitarist Herman Li’s incredibly fast and blurry guitar wankery or drummer Dave Mackintosh’s jackhammer-like pounding, DragonForce is renowned for sheer technical talent, establishing an unreachable dominion over fast-paced power metal.

Ultra Beatdown, DragonForce’s fourth album, is about as lyrically deep and musically artistic as the title suggests. With lyrics that could be lifted from World of Warcraft fan fiction and lead vocalist ZP Theart’s ’80s power-ballad wailing, the album is just as DragonForce as DragonForce ever was.

But even the band’s most hardcore fans recognize that it’s all the same. The fans love every bit of their optimistic and hopeful tales of quests and journeys, just as they love Li and Sam Totman’s ever-predictable twin guitar solos.

Even Totman stated that the album isnot going to be majorly differentfrom any previous DragonForce project, in an interview with Revolver magazine. Though its production quality and tone have surely evolved over time, in the end Ultra Beatdown is nearly indistinguishable from any other album they’ve put out, both lyrically and musically.

However, the album is especially cheerful, perhaps more than any of its previous albums. The synth intro toThe Warrior Insidesounds almost like a DDR track (the whole album could be a soundtrack to an arcade, for that matter). There’s more synth in this album than even Van Halen would have added, often coupled with the guitar solos in the typical DragonForce manner.Heroes Of Our Timeis about as dramatically glorious as it gets.

The whole so-corny-that-it’s-good mentality is perhaps their biggest asset. The band members know it just as much as everyone else, and they have a good time producing it. Just as long as nobody takes them too seriously, DragonForce will always be a respectable group.


Justin T. Ho


For Fans Of:

The Jonas Brothers

Depeche Mode


Give These Songs A Listen:

The Warrior Inside

“Inside The Winter Storm


Lyrics sidebar:

Excerpt fromThe Last Journey Home


Shine glorious we ride, we stare into the blackened sky,

Save the last command, the virtue blinding,

So far beyond the sun, still blinded with the fire inside,

Once alone again, silence stands for our last journey home.


Our lives intensified, mutation, frustration,

Ever lasting lifetime in beyond the world,

Well travel endlessly, theyre moving, hes jointed,

One man can understand his sad misery.


Whoa, oh oh oh ohh,

Whoa, oh oh ohh,

Whoa, oh oh oh oh oh ohh


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