DragonForce are a power metal band from London, England. They were formed in 1999, from the ashes of the black metal band Demoniac.
DragonForce fall into the genre of power metal, however the bands lead guitarist Herman Li states that they are more of extreme power metal. It’s hard to dispute the fact, considering their high tempo songs, lightning fast dual leads, completed with keyboards solos and uplifting choruses and riffs. On an Ozzfest tour, Ozzy lead guitarist Zakk Wylde said the band was “remarkable”, while an astounded Kirk Hammett (Metallica lead guitarist for the uninitiated) said that “Those guys from DragonForce are the fastest guitar players I think I’ve ever seen. They’re like Yngwie Malmsteen on steroids.” So that speaks volumes for their playing. As for my opinion, these guys are the carriers of the British Heavy Metal legacy, which has seen immortal legends like Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. And yes, I do concur with Kirk Hammett; these guys are just crazy fast, its insane to watch them go.
The band draws influence from various forms of melodic rock, as well as video games like the Final Fantasy series. Their lyrics are also inspired from the same. Bands have commented on their unique style, labeling them as “Nintendo Metal”, “Journey meets Slayer”, “Bon Jovi on Speed”. The style is melodic, yet has the auditory punch that one has associates with heavy metal. Whoever said heavy metal was just noise has just not heard this band… and if you maintain your views after listening to them, get your ears cleaned out, dear. You just don’t know how to appreciate intricately beautiful music.
Guitarist Herman Li has won the “Best Shredder” Award at the 2005 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. Along with Sam Totman, He has won Guitar World’s Reader’s Poll in the “Best New Talent”, “Best Metal”,” Best Riff” and “Best Shredders” categories, by whopping margins.
Their music is inspired by video game sounds, and the song Through the Fire and Flames is the most challenging song on the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
Herman Li – Lead and Rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Sam Totman – Lead and Rhythm guitars, backing vocals
ZP Theart – Lead Vocalist
Vadim Pruzhanov – Keyboardist
Dave Mackintosh – Drums & Percussion, backing vocals
Frederic Leclercq – Bass Guitar, backing vocals
1999 – The band is formed from the remnants of Demoniac, when guitarists Herman Li, Sam Totman decide to get together to form a power metal band. After recruiting Steve Williams on the keyboard, Steve Scott as bassist, and Didier Almounzi as drummer, they name themselves DragonHeart
2000 – DragonHeart releases their Demo tape, Valley of the Damned, with Clive Nolan (keyboard) and Peter Hunt (drums) as guest performers. The title track tops MP3.com’s heavy metal list. Following this release, bassist Steve Scott and keyboardist Steve Williams leave the band to form the power metal band, Power Quest. DragonHeart also faces possible legal issues over its name being similar to a Brazilian band, and changes to DragonForce.
2001 – Demoniac bassist Diccon Harper and Keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov are recruited into the stable lineup of DragonForce, as work commences on their first full-length album.
2003 – DragonForce releases their first album, Valley of the Damned, on February 20th 2003. The Song Starfire receives critical acclaim, because of its progressive metal nature. They tour extensively, opening for other metal outfits like Helloween, W.A.S.P, and Iron Maiden. At the end of 2003, bassist Diccon Harper leaves the band.
2004-05 – Adrian Lambert joins DragonForce as bassist, as the band releases their second album, Sonic Firestorm, on May 11th 2004. They follow it up with tours all over UK, the US and Europe. On October 28th, 2005, Lambert announces his departure from the band owing to musical differences with Herman Li.
2006 – DragonForce signed with Roadrunner Records on 23rd November 2005, and on January 9th 2006, they release their third studio album, Inhuman Rampage. The album goes on to become their biggest commercial hit, as videos of Through the Fire and Flames and Operation Ground and Pound receive heavy airplay. This led to wider viewership and extended tours. Frederic Leclercq was recruited as permanent bassist after his performance on tour with the band in 2006.
2008 – DragonForce is to release their fourth studio album, Ultra Beatdown, on 26th August. Watch this space for updates.