Track-By-Track Review: DragonForce – Ultra Beatdown [2008]

“Heroes Of Our Time” is the speedy opening track to Ultra Beatdown which could have easily fit on any DragonForce record to date. In fact, it sounds exactly like anything from Inhuman Rampage. If you loved the last record or the ending of Guitar Hero III, then you’ll love this tune as well. DragonForce still sounds like Journey on steroids, singing about eternity, star chasers, and colliding oceans. The guitar solo races at a ridiculously fast speed…or ludicrous speed to all you “Space Balls” buffs. 7/10

“The Fire Still Burns” begins with keyboards and vocals while the guitars enter at lightning speed. The song speaks of winter and fallen angels, and even a journey ever after. This band has kept to the formula that worked so well for them on the last record; if it ain’t broke then don’t fix anything. I am unsure how to express the different parts of the song in words; it’s just not worth trying. They play fast on record, real fast. 7/10

“Reasons To Live” does not have as great of a fast intro as the previous tracks but is still cool. One of the things that sets this band apart from other modern speed Metal bands is that the singer can actually sing, and that is something I really appreciate. DragonForce proves that a band can play fast and heavy without lacing death grunts throughout their songs. This tune has a really cool and twisted mid-section with a progressive feel; picture Dream Theater playing their instruments on a haunted old abandoned carousel. It is one of the best parts of the record. 7/10

“Heartbreak Armageddon” starts with a drum roll into keyboards and guitar. You think the song is going to be a ballad compared to the other tunes then, SMACK! all chaos ensues. I am unsure how the band can tell these songs apart because they are almost identical at this point. I guess this song would be the one with the mellow guitar break in the middle, or the one with the cool title. 7/10

“The Last Journey Home” also begins with a fast guitar intro and continues to go fast. There are some good sing-along “Woah-ohs” in this tune followed by a slower arpeggiated guitar part. The song stops 2:30 in for a refreshing lead guitar buildup. The riff towards the end reminds me of the main one in Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark At The Moon” [Bark At The Moon]. 7/10

“A Flame For Freedom” is one of the best songs on the record. It stands out with its vocal harmonies, a pleasant piano part, and glorious guitars. I guess we can call this one “the ballad.” If you were to buy just one song from this album, this is the one. It also happens to be the shortest on the record at 5:20. 9/10

“Inside The Winter Storm” goes back to speed demon guitars and drums. It has a softer interlude with clean and acoustic guitars, then goes back to the insanity. There is a great chugging-along riff at the 4:20 mark. You can tell this band has a blast playing these songs. 7/10

“The Warrior Inside” closes Ultra Beatdown. It begins with a funky keyboard intro in the style of Andrew W.K., then the song administers rapid fire assaults of guitars and drums. It really is an ultra beatdown. This song contains the most entertaining keyboards on the album and is my second favorite track next to “A Flame For Freedom.” 8/10

Average Track Rating: 7.4/10

DragonForce is ZP Theart [Vocals], Herman Li [Guitars], Sam Totman [Guitars], Vadim Pruzhanov [Keyboards], Frederic Leclercq [Bass], and Dave Mackintosh [Drums].

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