DragonForce is an english Power Metal band formed in London, 1999. It is known for its fast guitar solos, fantasy-based lyrics, and video game sounds in their music to add to their unique sound.
The band was formed in 1999, by ZP Theart, Steve Scott, Sam Totman, Herman Li, Didier Almouzni, and Steve Williams. Li and Totman were origianlly in the Black and power metal band, Demoniac, along with Lindsay Dawson, who later appears as a guest hasrsh backing vocalist in the band's album, Inhuman Rampage. Initially the band intended to call themselves DragonHeart, but later found that another power metal band with the same exact name already existed, although the band band released their first album under the name DragonHeart in their Valley of the Damed demo album but in the final verson the cover read DragonForce rather than DragonHeart.
Valley of the Damned (2000-2003)Edit
- Main article: Valley of the Damned (album)
DragonHeart (what the band was known as at the time) recorded their very first album in 2000. It was an autonomous release, however it was enough to make them one of the most popular independent power metal bands in the UK at the time. Even though the demo didn't include the songs Black Fire and Heart of a Dragon, the original versions of the two songs exist but are extremely rare. Where Dragons Rule was included as a bonus track in the japanese version of the demo album, but it was a remastered version of the original. The original is also extremely rare. Their song "Valley of the Damned" was released as their first single shortly after they permanently changed their name to DragonForce in December 2001. A promotional video featuring live footage from the band's tour around Europe was released along with the song. The song ws a huge success on MP3.com where it charted at #1 for 2 weeks as the most downloaded song. Shortly after the demo was released, Steve Williams and Steve Scott left and replaced by Vadim Pruzhanov and Diccon Harper. Williams later went on form the power metal band Power Quest.
In 2003, DragonForce signed to Noise Records and begun recording their second released album and first full-length album, Valley of the Damned (album). The title track, re-released in promotion of the album, it is one of the most known DragonForce songs to date and it is a staple of their live performance to this day. The band's tour for Valley of the Damned lasted until 2004, with a performance in Japan. The Japan performance was the largest amount of people that the band had played for yet. The entire show was pro-shot to be released on a DVD, however it has not yet been released. Since this concert, the band has returned to the same venue every tour.
Sonic Firestorm (2004-2005)Edit
- Main article: Sonic Firestorm
DragonForce's follow-up album, Sonic Firestorm, proved to be even more successful with the lead single "Fury of the Storm". The album was the band's first album featuring Adrian Lambert on bass and Dave Mackintosh on drums. When Mackintosh entered the band in 2004, they began referring to their style of music as "extreme power metal" due to his fast blastbeats and double bass rhythms. It was around this time that the band began becoming popular internationally and adopted nicknames such as "Bon Jovi on speed" and "Journey meets Slayer."
The tour was much longer than DragonForce's recent tour for "Valley of the Damned" and featured many more headline shows than the previous. DragonForce toured with several well-known metal bands such as "W.A.S.P" and "Iron Maiden". DragonForce began touring for their third album (though technically their fourth, due to the release of their 2000 demo album), "Inhuman Rampage" shortly after the Sonic Firestorm tour and several months before Inhuman Rampage was even released. It was shortly after this time that DragonForce played at Ozzfest.
Inhuman Rampage (2006-2007)Edit
- Main article: Inhuman Rampage
DragonForce underwent various lineup changes before settling with the six current members. DragonForce was introduced to the mainstream with their fourth album "Inhuman Rampage", released in 2006 after signing with Roadrunner Records. The song "Through the Fire and Flames" is one of their most famous songs and is featured on the game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as well as "Brütal Legend". Lindsay Dawson of Herman Li and Sam Totman's former band, "Demoniac", appeared as guest backup vocalist (referring to it as "guest harsh backing vocals") for Inhuman Rampage. Shortly after the release of Inhuman Rampage, bassist, Adrian Lambert, left the group to raise his newborn son. He was replaced with Frédéric Leclercq (the band's current bassist) for the tour. Frédéric later became an official member of DragonForce after the tour. Frédéric was also featured in DragonForce's music video for their second single off Inhuman Rampage, Operation Ground and Pound. Inhuman Rampage is a common favorite among DragonForce fans due to its heaviness and complexity. However the band also thanked Guitar Hero, Audiosurf and Ozzfest for a lot of their newfound fame.
Ultra Beatdown (2008-present)Edit
- Main article: Ultra Beatdown
DragonForce toured with "Disturbed", "Turisas" and "Slipknot" throughout the summer of 2008 on the Rockstar Energy Metal Mayhem Festival. DragonForce returned in the Fall with the release of their 4th studio album, "Ultra Beatdown". The first track and first single, "Heroes of Our Time", was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance on December 3, 2008, losing out to "Metallica" with their song "My Apocalypse". "Heroes Of Our Time" is also featured in the video games "Skate 2" and "NHL 10".
On January 22, 2009, the music video for their song "The Last Journey Home" was released to the Xbox Live Community a week before it was released online.
The band will carry out the Ultra Beatdown tour in Latin America, North America and Europe. They were supposed to play in Latin America in May 2009, but the tour was postponed to late 2009. They will first perform at the Two Days a Week Festival in Weisen, Austria on September 4. Then, they will perform in several cities of Canada and United States from September 15 to October 11, with special guests Sonata Arctica and Taking Dawn. The next tour will be in Germany, from October 16 to October 30, followed by a single live performance in Luxembourg on October 31. Then, they will go to Latin America to perform in Curitiba, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Mexico City, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Bogotá from November 6 to November 14. The final part of the tour will be entirely in the United Kingdom, from November 19 to December 12.
Twilight Dementia (2010)Edit
- Main article: Twilight Dementia
Twilight Dementia is DragonForce's first live album to be released. It was released on September 13, 2010. The album takes place during the Ultra Beatdown live tours between 2009 and 2010 while ZP Theart was still in the band.
The Power Within (2012-2014)Edit
- Main article: The Power Within
Herman Li has stated that the band will stop touring in December, spend time at home for Christmas, and then will begin writing and recording a new studio album scheduled to be released in 2011. On March 8, 2010, it was announced via Roadrunner that DragonForce had parted ways with vocalist ZP Theart and would now be seeking a new frontman. Herman Li stated:
"It is with great regret that DragonForce announce a parting of the ways with singer ZP Theart. This is due to insurmountable differences of musical opinion but the rest of the band sincerely wishes ZP great success with his future projects. While the creative core members have begun writing the fifth album, they have also started a worldwide search for a new vocalist. We are looking for a powerful, melodic singer to write a new chapter of DragonForce with us."
On March 2, 2011, DragonForce announced their new singer, Marc Hudson. And on February 2, 2012, DragonForce announced their new album, The Power Within.
DragonForce released their fifth studio album, , on 15 April 2012. and Pythia vocalist Emily Ovenden appeared as a backing vocalist for the album. During their North American tour, the band performed a new song titled "Fallen World", along with "Cry Thunder". "Fallen World" is DragonForce's fastest, most intense song to date. Starting from late September 2012, the band embarked on a UK and Ireland tour, and were supported by , Cavorts and . DragonForce also played at in Australia in February 2013.
Maximum Overload and Killer Elite (2014–present) Edit
On 12 April 2013, the band announced that writing for a follow-up to The Power Within had been completed, and on 19 May 2013, DragonForce entered Fascination Street Studios in with as the producer of the band's sixth album, . On 31 March 2014, it was revealed that vocalist/guitarist would appear as a backing vocalist for the album, and that Ovenden would return after providing backing vocals for The Power Within. On 3 June 2014, DragonForce announced that they had parted ways with Mackintosh and had enlisted former Braindamage and Kill Ritual drummer Gee Anzalone. Maximum Overload was released in the UK on 18 August, in North America on 19 August and in Australia on 22 August, and a special edition which included five bonus songs was released in Japan on 19 August (the same date as the normal edition's release in North America) and in Australia on 22 August, at the same time as the release of the normal edition. To promote the album, the band embarked on their second world tour, beginning in on 17 September and ending in , on 1 February 2015. On 12 February 2015 DragonForce announced that they would release a debut live DVD performance at Loud Park Festival 2014 that was recorded in November which would also include bonus behind the scenes content such as "Tokyo Party* and "Herman’s Time Off". The band performed at in June 2015, with a surprise guest appearance by during the set., DragonForce would then act as Babymetal's backing band at the 2015 (Li and Totman had previously collaborated on the track "" for Babymetal).
In April 2016 the band released the compilation entitled Killer Elite (The Hits, The Highs, The Vids) featuring a double CD of the band's greatest hits, with a DVD that contained the videos released by the band. The band also embarked on the "Killer Elite World Tour" to support the release. On July 2016 DragonForce issued a statement on the health status of Marc Hudson revealing he had been signed off by doctors and was unable to perform at the Metal Days Festival in Slovenia and the Benatska! Festival in the Czech Republic and replaced by Per Fredrik Åsly for the two shows. This was then further followed up by (singer of A New Tomorrow and former singer of ) filling in for the Leyendas del Rock Festival in Spain. DragonForce concluded their "Killer Elite World Tour" at a free show in on September 11.
On the 11th of November, DragonForce were confirmed for the 2017 edition of Pulp Summer Slam in the Philippines.
DragonForce have frequently referred to their style not just as power metal, but as extreme power metal. Herman commented on descriptions of the band's style in an interview with Guitar World: "'Nintendo metal', 'extreme power metal', 'Bon Jovi on speed', 'Journey meets Slayer', ... people are always coming up with weird labels for us." DragonForce has sometimes been mislabeled as a speed metal band due to the fast tempos present in their songs, but always as a supplement to other types of metal descriptors. Spring 2009 Issue of Broken Records Magazine calls the band "Equal parts grandeur and Debauchery, Dragonforce doesn't do anything in less than over-the-top fashion."
Controversy occurred in late 2006 shortly after the Inhuman Rampage tour went into full swing. On top of that, DragonForce had many technical difficulties with the guitars, which at the time was the most "stand-out feature" in their music. DragonForce also drop-tuned their instruments to E flat tuning for the first time. Herman Li stated, "Graspop Metal Meeting of 2006 was [a] total disaster. The technician we had back then didn't even tune the guitar, and no monitoring was done properly. We didn't hear anything...". He also said that most of the Inhuman Rampage tour was bad overall due to technical difficulties. Due to all this, the Graspop 2006 performance is considered DragonForce's worst performance and was enough to convince many DragonForce fans that they couldn't play live. Many rumors circulated around the internet that the band faked their music in the studio and the guitar solos were sped up. Although it has since been proven untrue, DragonForce still lost many fans due to these rumors. The gig also earned the band the nickname "Studioforce", meaning they relied on production for their full sound and couldn't play their own songs live, although later concerts have proven this false.
- Marc Hudson - Lead vocals (2011-present)
- Herman Li - Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1999-present)
- Sam Totman - Rhythm guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals (1999-present)
- Frédéric Leclercq - Bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2005-present)
- Vadim Pruzhanov - Keyboards, backing vocals, keytar, theremin (2001-present)
- Gee Anzalone - Drums, backing vocals (2014-present)
- ZP Theart - Lead vocals (1999-2010)
- Valley of the Damned (Demo) (2000)
- Valley of the Damned (2003)
- Sonic Firestorm (2004)
- Inhuman Rampage (2006)
- Ultra Beatdown (2008)
- Twilight Dementia (2010) - Live Album