Marmite Metal

Dragonforce have come a long way since 'Valley Of The Damned'. They've established themselves as a potent British metal act commanding a dedicated and loyal fanbase. They've been propelled into worldwide notoriety by 'Through The Fire And Flames' being included (but rarely mastered) on Guitar Hero. Some people with very little to do managed to get good scores on the highest difficulty but if you've got time to waste becoming that good at Guitar Hero then you've got the time to learn guitar itself.

Let's face it Dragonforce are incredible. As musicians they're simply outstanding. The technical prowess they possess, the speed at which they play and the sheer unrelenting style of extreme power metal are all factors that make you warm to their style of music. It almost makes you overlook the fact that as songwriters they can't write for shit.

The band have hit upon a winning formula. This involves playing melodic power metal extremely fast, adding a disposable vocal melody and throwing in a bucket load of lighting fast solos. They repeat this repertoire on almost every song, they did on the last album and the album before that. Why should they change? They've developed a large fanbase who don't care that they're listening to the same song over and over. My only worry is they'll soon reach a peak and unable to get any bigger due to the limitations of the music.

I must admit that 'Ultra Beatdown' is a more entertaining listen than 'Inhuman Rampage'. There seems a little more to it than their last effort in regards to ideas, but this still doesn't get away from the fact that the songs on the last three albums are pretty much interchangeable. 'Heroes Of Our Time' and 'Heartbreak Armageddon' are quite exhilarating as far as power metal goes. The pace and musical wizardry are spellbinding and you can't help becoming absorbed. Even though you know what you're going to get this still happens, and thus is the appeal of the band. For myself, the love affair lasts for up to three songs before I crave something different, I mean, you wouldn't want to listen to an hour of back to back power ballads would you?

'Ultra Beatdown' is as likeable as every other Dragonforce album. It plays to their strengths and it packs that wow factor several times across its running time. Their fans will wet their pants because the band has delivered just what they want. The rest of us will just hear a bunch of extremely well played cheesy, one-dimensional lightweight metal. But I don't think the band care, good luck to them.