Dragonforce @ o2 Academy Birmingham – 11 October 2017

Posted by Gig Junkies on Wednesday Oct 11, 2017 Under Metal, Power metal, Speed metal

Gig Review and Photography by Neale Hayes.

Tonight I visited the 02 Academy Birmingham to catch British Power Metal legends Dragonforce. The room itself was rammed from the get go; the audience gleaming with anticipation and getting the beers in early.

Dragonforce (7 of 29)

They arrived on stage in theatrical fashion; smoke and light strobes going crazy and Herman Li himself taking an opportunity to show us some early shreddage as the other members of the band took their places.

Dragonforce (11 of 29)

Dragonforce (14 of 29)

Tonight they treated the fans to 13 songs, 4 from their latest release ‘Reaching into Infinity’ (2016), 2 from ‘Inhuman Rampage’ (2006), 2 from ‘The Power Within’ (2012), 2 earlier tracks from ‘Valley of the Damned’ (2003) and a single one from ‘Sonic Firestorm’ (2004).

Diving head first into ‘Reaching into Infinity’ (2016), Marc Hudson’s refined and commanding voice giving an ethereal presence through Li’s shredding. They then threw in an older track, ‘Operation Ground and Pound’, featuring some speedy drumming from Gee Anzalone and some of the easily recognisable video-game inspired guitar bleeps from Li and Sam Totman’s perfect sync. We had some explosive lighting here.

“We are Dragonforce and we are from London. The UK sucks but Birmingham is pretty cool”, Marc Hudson of Dragonforce (2017).’Seasons’ from ‘The Power Within’ (2012), on of their less well known songs took the speed down slightly but the hammer-ons and fast sweeping was still present. This song reminded me of Dream Theater and even some Journey. ‘Curse of the Darkness’ chucked us back into newer material, Marc’s voice peaking in melodic terms; this song impressed me by being refined and easier on the ears.

Dragonforce (2 of 29)

Dragonforce (6 of 29)

‘Fury of the Storm’ (2004) gave us an epic intro solo by Li and Totman; the sheer velocity and speed comparable with John Petrucci’s unreal speed with finger picking notes; usually with both hands at the same time. The entire song has a much more dramatic feel to it which isn’t present in newer material as much.

A guitar and drum solo took place that seemed way to easy for Li playing with the guitar behind his head and while in mid-air after kneeing it up several times. Gee’s solo was equally astonishing; the only thing he didn’t do was start a fire.

Dragonforce (27 of 29)

Dragonforce (21 of 29)

Dragonforce (23 of 29)

The band closed their set with two older gems, ‘Heart of a Dragon’ and Valley of the Damned’ both from (2003). The style is much more mystical and fantasy themed here; evident from Vadim’s efficient keyboard work, with Frederic’s bass acting as a nice blend between that and the sharp guitar notes being fired at us from every direction.

Dragonforce (28 of 29)

Dragonforce (29 of 29)

The last song ‘Through the Fire and Flames’ came in all it’s glory. If you like metal, you’ve heard of it. If you’ve ever played Guitar Hero you probably have very frustrating memories attached to this song. I know I do. They performed it stunningly well and Li once again made it look easy. The mobile phones came out for this one.

Great showing tonight, their confidence and skill is hard to match.


Further images from tonight’s gig are available on our Flickr Page.

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