DRAGONFORCE @ 100 Club, London

March 16th, 2012
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

DragonForce @ 100 Club, London

16th February 2012

Review by Ollie Thomas

Photography by Andre Purvis

London power metallers DragonForce have received a lot of stick recently for YouTube footage of their tour cycle in support of highly successful album Inhuman Rampage where less than due care and attention from roadies led to bad sound set ups, and sometimes even unturned guitars on stage waiting for them, earning them the nickname “StudioForce” after rumours they sped up their recordings and couldn’t play them.

Tonight’s intimate show at the prestigious 100 Club on London’s Oxford Street, in support of upcoming album The Power Within (Due April 15th 2012 on Essential Music in the UK and Roadrunner Records in the US) is a chance to silence many of these critics once and for all.

Tonight’s intimate show at the prestigious 100 Club on London’s Oxford Street, in support of upcoming album The Power Within (Due April 15th 2012 on Essential Music in the UK and Roadrunner Records in the US) is a chance to silence many of these critics once and for all.

Formed in 1999, DragonForce are best known for their fantasy based lyrics (countless references to fire, etc) and most importantly their long and ridiculously fast guitar solos from axemen.

The only original members standing, Herman Li and Sam Totman.

Their debut album Valley of the Damned kicked off over a year-long touring cycle for the band, taking them as far abroad as Japan, with the title track still a staple in live sets today.

Sonic Firestorm really started to stir audiences though, featuring Fury of the Storm, another fan favourite and taking them on tour with bands as big as W.A.S.P. 2006 saw the release of Inhuman Rampage which is without a shadow of a doubt, DragonForce’s most successful and ground breaking album to date.

Through the Fire and Flames featured on several games in the Guitar Hero franchise, something that has been both a blessing and curse for DragonForce, fully opening the eyes of the States to the band where they were probably obscure before.

Original vocalist ZP Theart departed after the Ultra Beatdown touring cycle, laying the way for Marc Hudson to step into the band after battling through open YouTube auditions.

Support band tonight are Pythia [3.5/5]

Another London-based power metal band, their classic/heavy metal influence shows quite heavily with lyrics based on myth lore and other historical elements.



The band all stomp on resembling a small section from one medieval re-enactment or another, heavily clad in leather armour and bracers.

Vocalist Emily walks on gracefully carrying a rather colourful goblet with her, before turning to the crowd and immediately trying to rouse them with waved arms and flipped horns.



What could have been a fantastic performance is somewhat blighted by what was not the best of sounds.

The drums are too loud in comparison to everything else, drowning much of everything else.



This coupled with their pretty much relentless pass and seamless transition between songs, apart from one part where Emily interacts with the crowd, makes the whole set appear to blend into two long, slightly tedious songs.


During the Pythia set, no matter how good the crowd reaction was, it’s obvious there’s only one band on everyone’s minds tonight.

 

DragonForce [5/5] walk out to a standing ovation accompanied by new singer, Marc Hudson; the young man has a lot to prove tonight as his predecessor left quite a big shadow to fill.

 

DragonForce are really on their game tonight, right from set opener Heroes of Our Time to the much loved encore of Through the Fire and Flames.

Marc seems to fit in effortlessly with his new band mates, the chemistry between them could easily fool any of the less educated in the crowd into believing he’s been with them for the long haul.

 

Admittedly he didn’t do brilliantly on the older songs in the set, but he did do as well if not better than anyone expected, and the songs from the upcoming album go down a treat and sound amazing.


 



The show is an energetic and entertaining one, Sam and Herman pulling faces and throwing varying hand gestures during the trademark long and blisteringly fast solos creating a sense of competition between the two which definitely brings a degree of excitement.



The interaction with the crowd is also surprisingly high, as fans are playing slightly with keytars and even once a guitar.

 


The only time they ever slow down during the show is for the power ballad of the night, Starfire, where lighters and mobile phones appear at the request of the band and a few fans even start swaying their arms.



Anyone who’s seen DragonForce on a night like this could well and truly testify that the band can pull it off live, if not better than on the records due to their immense showmanship. A true pleasure to be there tonight.

Setlist:

Heroes of Our Time

Operation Ground and Pound

Cry Thunder

My Spirit Will Go On

Starfire

Lost Fallen World

Black Fire

The Last Journey Home

Fury of the Storm

Encore:

Through the Fire and Flames

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