DragonForce + Power Quest
@ Electric Ballroom, London
October 13, 2017
Review by Torbjørn ‘Toby’ Jørstad
Photography by Graham Hilling
After ploughing their way down Great Britain, power metal giants DRAGONFORCE returned to London last Friday for a spectacular, sold out headlining show at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. With their newest album Reaching Into Infinity still fresh, and the memories of April’s intimate and sweaty release show in the capital, the shred-machine descended upon London with local heroes POWER QUEST supporting. Needless to say, power metal fans could hardly ask for a better line-up, as evident by the queue stretching far down Camden High Street prior to the doors opening.
Metal-Rules also had the chance to speak to DragonForce guitarist and founding member Herman Li prior to the show. The interview can be read HERE.
Despite failing to really ‘break it big’, locals Power Quest have remained popular among the UK power metal fan base, with a strong following in the capital.
Having lastly performed alongside Sonata Arctica at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire almost exactly one year ago (read a review of that show HERE), they now returned with a brand new studio album, Sixth Dimension.
In fact, the album was released on the day of the concert, as if reasons to celebrate fast and melodic music weren’t plenty already that evening.
Rarely have I witnessed a crowd welcome an opening band with such passion and pure joy as when Power Quest took to the stage on Friday.
From the very beginning, the audience seemingly enjoyed everything they were given, and the band, led by frontman Ashley Edison had perfect control of the sold out Ballroom.
“Wings of Forever” and “For Evermore” from their debut and sophomore album kick off the night, with a band clearly enjoying themselves, smiling at the cheering crowd.
“There’s nothing quite like playing London!” frontman Edison exclaims, before introducing the single “Kings of Glory” off the new album.
Even the new material is given an overblown welcome by the crowd. DragonForce guitarist and former Power Quest member Sam Totman joins the band on stage for “Far Away”, undoubtedly a surprising blast from the past for those who have followed both bands over the years.
Power Quest was after all formed by keyboardist Steve Williams following his departure from DragonForce (then Dragonheart) in the early 2000s.
The acoustics in the Ballroom work well, and the sound techs deserve praise for creating a well-balanced sound picture. Edison’s extreme high notes are heard clearly among guitarists Glyn Williams and Andy Kopczyk’s shredding, and keyboardist Williams’ melodies.
Their set is finished off with “Temple of Fire”, and to say that the crowd were left happy and eager for what was to come would be an understatement.
1. Wings of Forever
2. For Evermore
3. Kings and Glory
4. Far Away (feat. Sam Totman)
5. Magic Never Dies
6. Temple of Fire
The lights go out and the instrumental title track off Reaching Into Infinity is heard over the PA, as the restless crowd prepares for genre-pioneers DragonForce’s homecoming.
The band takes to the stage and tears into their newest opening track “Ashes of the Dawn”, with the audience immediately going wild. Vocalist and frontman Marc Hudson enters, and tonight’s second power metal party has begun.
Unfortunately missing from stage is keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov, apparently absent due to “family commitments”.
“Operation Ground and Pound” from 2006s Inhuman Rampage is quickly followed by the single “Judgement Day” from the new album.
Drummer Gee Anzalone steers the band with meticulous precision behind his massive drum set, and guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman are solid providers of heavy riffs and delicate melodies from each side of the stage.
The slightly slower and melancholic “Seasons” is dedicated to all the ladies in the venue. A good dose of humour is mixed in between songs, as the band jokes about Herman not being able ‘to score’ in London, thus dubbing the venue the “Electric Un-score-room”.
2004s “Fury of the Storm” sees the crowd go wild once again, as blastbeats and power metal melodies are blended together in the same manner as the people in front of the stage in the moshpit.
Rocking a blue Sonic the Hedgehog guitar, bassist Frederic Leclercq enters the stage alone to show off his soloing skills, before being joined by Hudson on bass for a video game medley celebrating the anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog (according to Li in our interview prior to the show).
The night’s biggest surprise (if one hadn’t looked up the setlist beforehand), is the gloriously joyful singalong anthem “Heart of a Dragon” from their debut album.
The 11-minute epic “The Edge of the World” slows the pace down quite a bit, before an extended version of “Cry Thunder” from 2012s The Power Within ends their regular set.
The title track off their debut album Valley of the Damned follows, before the sped-up, extreme power metal version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” turns the floor in front of the stage into one big moshpit again.
As the show comes to an end, it is inevitably time for ‘that one song’ – whether you are into metal or not, if you at some point in your life have played Guitar Hero, you are likely to have a relationship with the over-the-top, 7-minute spectacular shredfest that is “Through the Fire and Flames”.
Li and Totman both taking their turns shredding through the dual solos (which make up half of the song) can be described as nothing but a perfect way to end a night of power metal madness in Camden’s Electric Ballroom.
Reaching Into Infinity (tape)
1. Ashes of the Dawn
2. Operation Ground and Pound
3. Judgement Day
5. Curse of Darkness
6. Fury of the Storm
7. Guitar/Drum solos (Street Fighter/Super Mario Bros. 2/Sonic the Hedgehog Green Hill medley – Fred on guitar and Marc on bass)
8. Heart of a Dragon
9. The Edge of the World
10. Cry Thunder
11. Valley of the Damned
12. Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash cover)
13. Through the Fire and the Flames