DragonForce

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Proud and so glorious
Standing before of us
Our swords will shine bright in the sky
When united we come
To the land of the sun
With the heart of a dragon we ride

—"Heart of a Dragon"

"PAIN! DRAGONS! RAMPAGING! FIRE! MORE DRAGONS! FLYING! SUFFERING! ONE MENTALLY HANDICAPPED DRAGON THAT WAS LEFT BEHIND!"

—Rexisfed, on a Guitar Hero forum

DragonForce (sic) are a British band famed for their epic fantasy lyrics and energetic, over-the-top style of extreme power metal. On the other hand, they're also quite widely hated for having songs with similar structure and writing, and being perceived by some as stereotyping PowerMetal as nothing more than super fast guitars, double bass drums and high pitched vocals about dragons, as well as various false accusations that they digitally speed up their playing and the occasional It's Popular, Now It Sucks. They're best known for their appearance in Guitar Hero 3.

In March 2010, the group parted ways with singer ZP Theart. The group announced an open audition via YouTube for his replacement, and after screening thousands of applicants, selected in March 2011 native Englishman Marc Hudson as his replacement. The group's first album with Hudson was released in early 2012.

In 2014, members Sam Totman and Herman Li collaborated with Japanese "Kawaii Metal" group BABYMETAL on the latter's song "Road of Resistance"; the next year BABYMETAL appeared with DragonForce at the Download Festival in England.

The group's current[when?] lineup consists of
  • Marc Hudson, of Oxford, England, on vocals.
  • Frédéric Leclercq, French-born. Plays bass and provides harsh backing vocals.
  • Herman "Shred" Li, guitar, born in Hong Kong. Often performs his solos standing directly in front of a giant fan.
  • Dave "Compact Dynamo" Mackintosh, of Glasgow, Scotland, on drums.
  • Vadim Pruzhanov, of the Ukraine. Plays keyboards and various electronics, including a Theremin, turntable, and Kaoss Pad.
  • Sam Totman, guitarist and principal songwriter, born in England but raised in New Zealand.

Former members include:

  • ZP Theart, lead vocals, born in South Africa. Extremely charismatic. Note that "ZP" are not initials, but rather his actual first name. After his departure from Dragonforce, he formed his own band, I AM I.
  • Adrian Lambert, bassist, from England.

Not to be confused with the Sega Saturn game Dragon Force, although said game was the inspiration for their name - they're self-confessed video game geeks (hence video game-like sound effects in their songs).

Discography:
  • Valley of the Damned (2000/2003)
  • Sonic Firestorm (2004)
  • Inhuman Rampage (2006)
  • Ultra Beatdown (2008)
  • Twilight Dementia (live album) (2010)
  • The Power Within (2012)
DragonForce provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Arc Words: 'Fire', 'Sword' and 'So far away' are popular enough to inspire drinking games.
  • Audience Participation Song: The chorus of "Heart of a Dragon", as quoted above, is a sing-along. Also, ZP usually has had the crowd sing along to part of "Through the Fire and Flames".
  • Auto-Tune: A line or two in various songs, used for effect. Example: At 2:41-2:45 in this video
  • Break Up Song: "Seasons", written by Frederic. It's about recovering in the aftermath of a particularly rough breakup.
  • Breather Episode: Each of the group's albums features one Power Ballad as a counterpart to the rest of their music: "Starfire", "Dawn Over a New World", "Trail of Broken Hearts", and "A Flame For Freedom".
  • Captain Obvious: "Our swords are made of steel" from "Cry Of The Brave". Yeah, that's usually what swords are made of...
  • Cluster Bleep Bomb: During one of the "Making of The Power Within" videos, Frederic delivers a profanity-laden rant in French after repeatedly failing at one particular section of a song.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The new[when?] live album Twilight Dementia has a surprising amount of cursing in between the songs; it's especially surprising since their actual songs never use any language harsher than "damn", "hell", and "whore".
  • Creative Differences: The band stated that ZP leaving "is due to insurmountable differences of musical opinion".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Through the Fire and Flames", anyone?
    • "In flames we'll now forever burn eternally" from "The Flame of Youth".
  • Determinator: Almost every one of their songs is such from the POV of such a character.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of their songs is very reminiscent of that level in the very first Dawn of War where you storm a corrupted temple.
  • Epic Rocking: Most of their songs clock in at around seven minutes long and are half guitar solo. The above-mentioned "Strike of the Ninja" is noteworthy for being the group's first recorded song to run less than five minutes.
    • And "Strike of the Ninja" isn't even a DragonForce song. It's originally from Sam's joke band side project, Shadow Warriors.
    • They've stepped away from this a bit for The Power Within, averaging about 5 minutes per song and reset their record for shortest song with Fallen World, which is only 4:07.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: During a show in Finland. the band had Marc read out a list of what were allegedly helpful and useful phrases in Finnish. They were actually swear words and things like "I'm gay", "I like men", or "I have a small penis."
  • Glory Seeker
  • Heavy Mithril: Lots of their songs are about sticking it to Satan and assaults on evil temples.
  • Hot-Blooded: Their songs can certainly give one this feeling.
  • I Call It Vera: Vadim's keytar is named "BATMAM", after an acronym used by the band to describe Sam Totman: Bitter And Twisted Middle Aged Man.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Despite the name of the band, dragons are rarely mentioned in their songs.
  • Large Ham: ZP Theart. Just listen to them live.
  • Loudness War
  • Lyrical Dissonance: There's a surprising amount of darkness and death hidden underneath all the upbeat, uplifting music - though usually offset by some Determinator-esque lines commonly apparent in their songs.
    • "Once In A Lifetime" sounds pretty uplifting, and the chorus is pretty encouraging. The verses, however...

In minds of society, we all live in harmony.
Truth is that we all die in vain.

    • "Once In A Lifetime" also includes the line "Violent fury of firestorming death".
    • Also extremely obvious in "Black Winter Night". While it is slightly less uplifting than many other Dragonforce songs, it is still a fairly happy-sounding song, which heavily conflicts with its lyrics:

No more hope
As we raise our hands to the sky
No more dreams
As the rivers run dry...

    • And later in the song:

No more tomorrow...
Dying of sorrow...

  • Mad Lib Metal Lyrics: They really take this Up to Eleven.
  • Manly Tears: DragonForce's songs use the words 'tears' and 'cry' within their lyrics frequently, but this has more to do with the fantastical, over-the-top and epic settings and situations they sing about than trying to pull Tear Jerkers from their audience.
  • Multinational Team: Every member of the band comes from a different country, though they identify themselves as "Dragonforce from London England".
  • One of Us: DragonForce is known for having put in video game sounds into their songs, notably Pac-Man into Through The Fire And Flames. Their music video for The Last Journey Home is particularly blatant in clearly showing Video Games tropes just for the hell of it.
  • Pachelbel's Canon Progression: The chorus and instrumental parts of "Valley of the Damned".
  • Power Ballad: One per album - "Trail of Broken Hearts", "Starfire", "Dawn over a New World", and "A Flame for Freedom". Subverted in their most recent album, wherein it doesn't have a full power ballad, but instead the first portions of "Wings of Liberty" and "Last Man Stands" are power ballads.
  • Power Metal: They like to call themselves "Extreme Power Metal."
    • They could be more accurately called "Speed Power Metal".
    • Or "Epic Speed Power Metal".
  • Promoted Fanboy: Marc Hudson, who won the contest to replace ZP Theart after he left the band.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Herman Li.
  • Rated "M" for Manly: Even Chuck Norris sheds a manly tear when Starfire plays, and their themes are about war and heroes and other hypermasculine pursuits.
    • Oh crap, someone, catch it and bottle it up! We need the cure of cancer!
  • Retraux: The beginning half-minute or so of the bonus track on Ultra Beatdown, EPM (see the Power Metal entry above), is done in 8-Bit chiptune style.
    • As is the synth in the first verse of "Through The Fire and Flames".
  • Rousing Speech: "Heroes of Our Time": "Call on us! The power in all of us! Forever more, with us! We are victorious! And so aliiiiiiiive!"
  • Rule of Cool: Quite possibly the driving force behind the entire band. Why the extravagantly long guitar solos? Why is every song about warriors charging into glorious battles at the end of the world? Why not?
  • Sampling: The theme to Double Dragon is played during the guitar solo in "Black Fire".
  • Self-Deprecation: "Bleeding ears hear the cry!" anyone?
    • Also, the intro to "Fields of Despair" is actually the Winning Run theme from Super Hang-On.
  • Short Run in Peru: The group's albums are typically released in Japan a full week before the rest of the world gets them.
  • Shout-Out: It's not uncommon for one song's lyrics to reference the title of another, or refer to a place described in an earlier song. For example, "Through the fire and the flames" is mentioned in the lyrics of Cry For Eternity.
    • Also of interest, parts (all parts, to some) of some songs very similar to others - if you've heard the chorus of Storming the Burning Fields, then Heroes of Our Time's intro will sound very familiar indeed. Also, the intro to My Spirit Will Go On is the same as Once in a Lifetime, only sped up quite a bit.
  • Sir Swearsalot: ZP Theart, normally. Averted in their actual songs though.
  • The Something Force
  • Subdued Section: Quite frequently.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Subverted in Evening Star.
  • Three Chords and the Truth - completely averted.
  • Troperiffic
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Done rather unashamedly in "Heart of a Dragon". Also, "Fury of the Storm".
  • Wham! Episode: It might fly over the heads of anyone not looking for deep messages in a Power Metal song (i.e. most normal people) , but when you look at the lyrics of Scars of Yesterday, it's pretty clearly about rape.
    • That's not all. Heartbreak Armageddon is about a man spiraling into depression after being divorced, and Reasons to Live is about a counselor failing to prevent suicide. Wow.
      • All of these songs are from Ultra Beatdown, making it something of a Wham Album
    • And from The Power Within, "Give Me the Night" is about drug addiction and "Seasons" is a fairly dark Break Up Song (it has a hopeful ending, though).
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Virtually Anything can be made more epic with the addition of a DragonForce song.
  • The X of Y: Used in some of their song titles: "Fury of the Storm", "Soldiers of the Wasteland", "Valley of the Damned", "The Flame of Youth", "Trail of Broken Hearts", "Scars of Yesterday", etc.

Tropes used in their music videos:[edit | hide | hide all]