Dragonforce in Tempe w/photos

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Monday, October 9, 2006 @ 9:14 PM

The Force is with Us (as revie

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Thursday night - off to the Marquee Theater in Tempe Arizona to check out what (I am sure) promises to be another bunch of bands full of guys hiding in the shadows of a darkly lit stage. It always seems they are attempting to conceal the fact that while they stand in one place and play, that they also must stare at what their fingers are doing on the fretboard as if doing their first music recital in front of a bunch of proud but anxious parents. Most of these groups usually have a front man with as much vocal tenacity of a warthog in heat with nothing more than screaming, growling and screeching into the microphone disguising the fact that their songs have no lyrical content. Thank God this time I was wrong.

The stage preparation for DragonForce was actually pretty entertaining. Each microphone stand was equipped with its own double malt beverage receptacle complete with bendable straws for easy access. Also included in the stage set were two mini-trampolines and a front stage riser. Before the show started, the guys in the audience got a “show” of their own when a well-endowed beauty was sent on stage to simply… well… bounce on the trampolines. Let’s just say, it seemed to be a huge hit!

The lights dimmed and a red, digital timer on stage counted down from 3:00 and while waiting for DragonForce to finally hit the stage you could literally feel and see the tension building the crowd! Almost every person in the packed venue was trying to be as up front and close to the stage as possible without fear of the crush-factor. The barriers in the front of the stage actually appeared to bow behind the weight of the crowd crushing forward. The clock continued to countdown and as it got to 10… 9… 8… the crowd chanted with it 7…. 6…. 5…. fists pounding in the air. Even louder 4…3…2….1 – Lights on and each member came out on stage one at a time, each shredding out a riff as they musically introduced themselves to the crowd.

I have to admit, that before this show, I had no idea what “Power Metal” was. Wikipedia Encyclopedia simply reads “DragonForce”:

  • Emphasis on speed, twin-guitar harmonies
  • Lyrics of a fantastical or epic nature
  • Use of background choral singing throughout
  • Optimistic and uplifting chorus sections (musically and lyrically)
  • Video game influenced melodies and guitar noises
From the moment these guys came out on stage it was 220 miles per hour for the entire show! I have no idea how they do it, but the only way I can describe the energy of this band is to say that they are the Tazmanian Devil on speed. The music is turned up to 15 and goes faster than any NASCAR driver I have ever seen while also being very melodic.

While this band had a very limited set at this year’s OzzFest, they seemed to win over the Arizona crowd. The parking lot was packed just 40 minutes after the doors opened and there were huge lines of people still trying to get into the, already standing room only, Marquee Theater. The crowd seemed to feed off every minute of this high-energy performance which was demonstrated as body after body surfed the crowd.

The members of this group are:

  • Lead vocals – ZP Theart
  • Lead and rhythm Guitar/backing vocals – Herman Li
  • Lead and rhythm Guitar/backing vocals – Sam Totman
  • Keyboards/backing vocals – Vadim Pruzhanov
  • Drums/backing vocals - Dave Mackintosh
  • Bass/backing vocals – Frédéric Leclercq
  • ZP Theart has more vocal flexibility than any 80’s hairband and carries off the look of the Knights of the Round Table/Lord of the Rings fantasy–style lyrics comprised by this group! The oddity of it all are the sounds that accompany this lyrical style which has been described by some as “video-game” inspired with complex dual riffs from both Sam Totman and Herman Li. Not to be outdone, the manic playing of the keyboards by Vadim Pruzhanov is simply awe inspiring and the thunderous bass and hard-hitting drums usually associated with the hardcore genre such as Death metal, provided by Frederic Léclércq and Dave Mackintosh keep all the high-pitch riffs and vocals in check and nicely rounds out the band’s sound.

    This is the group’s first year for US touring and is in support of their third release, Inhuman Rampage on Roadrunner Records. If you seriously want to get your money’s worth out of a show, go see DragonForce. Their personalities are larger than life on stage! With the synchronized double-jumping back spins of the guitarists off of the risers to the guitar vs. Key-tar riff battle that takes place center stage. That with the fantastic laser light show and the absolutely amazing musical ability by this group of 6 guys from the UK, I can personally guarantee, you will certainly get what you paid for – A Kick-your-ass show that you can’t stop talking about the next day!

    Thank you to DragonForce for turning me on to “Power Metal”! I haven’t stopped cranking this band’s CD since the show and have since told everyone who will listen about the amazing show I saw at the Marquee on October 5.

    All Photos (c) 2006 David Svendsen
    Click on any image to enlarge

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