Since the release of Valley of the Damned in 2003, DragonForce has earned a place among the power metal gods. It’s lengthy solos and overblown fantasy heroism has given them a globally-recognizable sound. Despite the loss of iconic frontman ZP Theart in 2010, the band has managed to maintain its status; the most-recently released Reaching Into Infinity garnered mostly positive reviews, and the band is currently developing an eighth record.
The following are what I believe to be the best of DragonForce’s steaming discography. (Also, I’ll make no mention of guitar solos because it’s pretty much a given that Herman Li blows my face off with every one.)
8. Valley Of The Damned
The titular track to the debut album, ‘Valley Of The Damned’ blew me away the first time I heard it: the beating and chanting of the prechorus, the soaring chorus, the shift from dark to light from the first to second prechorus.
This song bleeds epic victory and adult me rocks just as hard to it as ten-year-old me did.
7. Judgement Day – Reaching Into Infinity
I could probably fill this list with songs from the first three albums, but the new material deserves some love, too.
I absolutely love the introduction to this song. The jarring mash of the blast beat and tremolo just seems to stand out from all of their other intros. The rest of the song is great, too, but the intro pushes it a little further up in my books.
6. Land Of Shattered Dreams – Reaching Into Infinity
Honestly, one of my favourite things about Reaching Into Infinity is that they seem to literally recycle entire stanzas from previous releases (I mean, they already basically just throw power metal tropes into a hat and pick them out to make lyrics, but it’s a little more in-your-face in this album). However, ‘Land Of Shattered Dreams’ seems to veer off the path a little bit and produce some (barely) original lyrics!
Despite the lyrics, which nobody really cares about anyway, I simply find myself coming back to this song all the time.
5. Fury Of The Storm
Most of the reason I enjoy this track so much is because of the vocals. For whatever reason, the vocal harmonies ring through this song more than usual. On the same note, the final scream of the song really hits the spot.
The rhythm guitar underneath the first section of the solo sticks out to me, and the modified chord in the last chorus makes the resolve immensely satisfying.
4. Heroes Of Our Time – Ultra Beatdown
Ultra Beatdown had a lot of misses for me, but ‘Heroes Of Our Time’ makes up for all of those. The rhythm guitar parts in the chorus are exceedingly on point and the blast beat fill before the first chorus still gives me goosebumps.
3. Through The Fire And The Flames – Inhuman Rampage
Honestly, the top three are a toss up for me. ‘Through The Fire And The Flames’ was both the first DragonForce song and the first power metal song I’d ever heard. I was ten years old and heard it when my brother and his friend were playing Guitar Hero III (which I thought was the coolest shit ever back then).
More than ten years later, I’m still stuck with the insatiable lust for all of the tempo-destroying power metal cheese I can get my hands on.
2. My Spirit Will Go On – Inhuman Rampage
I like this one because it sounds distinct from almost every other DragonForce track. The ominous intro is the perfect buildup to the rest of the song. I also can’t get enough of the drum fill before the final chorus.
1. Land Where Dragons Rule – Valley of The Damned
My all-time favourite DragonForce song is the bonus track of the debut album, ‘Land Where Dragons Rule’. Like most of the other song on this list, the intro just does it for me. Likewise, the ending is addictingly bittersweet.
The chorus is foreboding, yes not without hope, and the final moments before the piano outro is incredible.