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Dragonforce: Symphony of the Night

DragonForce will always be the champions of shredderiffic power-metal, but on new album Maximum Overload they spread their wings a bit, and cap it off with a surprising cover.


A new DragonForce album is always cause for celebration for prog, power-metal and shred fans. Few bands have managed to combine virtuosity, melody, energy and all-out epic-ness into a cohesive whole like this London-based quintet. New album Maximum Overload is their second with new vocalist Marc Hudson and last with drummer Dave Mackintosh, who finished his work on the record prior to announcing his departure from the band in June (replaced by former Braindamage and Kill Ritual drummer Gee Anzalone). Guitarist Herman Li is optimistic about DragonForce’s future as the band embarks on this new chapter.

You’re working with an outside producer for the first time on this album – Jens Bogren (Soilwork, Symphony X, James LaBrie, Devin Townsend).

We learned a lot from someone who was actually a pro, doing it that way. The approach was definitely different in that I don’t have to worry about all the production, checking other people’s stuff, making sure everything is done. So that was easier for me. It’s probably the easiest album I’ve made. It’s the least drama I’ve had to deal with, so I can just worry about playing properly.

How did you come to choose Jens?

I heard those albums like Opeth, Devin Townsend, and I really liked the sound he was getting. He was recommended by someone back in 2008 to work with us but it didn’t happen back then. This time, when we decided to work with a producer, that was my suggestion.

It’s an interesting point in your career; you could quite easily continue in the vein you’d been going but you’ve switched it up just enough to keep it fresh.

I guess a lot of people ask me, “What do you play at home?” I don’t play everything fast. Maybe when I was 16, 17, 18 I just tried to be shred, shred, shred. But now when I’m at home I listen to different kinds of music, and now we actually get a chance to show a little bit more of that on the album. It’s a different approach to playing than to just shred.

Matt Heafy from Trivium guests on three songs as well.

Yeah, it came about by accident. We were listening to the songs and we felt we needed somebody else on the backing vocals – different and more aggressive backing vocals – and it just came to our mind at that point. Me and Sam [Totman, guitar] were afraid to ask Matt, actually, because we knew he was on tour and he only had one week off so we didn’t want to ask him. So Fred [Leclercq, bass] asked him. I guess it just reflects us; if we have one week off tour I’m not going to go in and record someone else’s album! But he did it.

A lot of people are talking about your cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” on this album too.

It’s one of the really fast beats. It’s got lots of energy; I really like it. Of course the song got changed to a minor key and things like that. Y’know, I’ve never really liked doing covers but that was cool. Sam did the demo. I get to use a slide on the solo, at the end of the solo. I just couldn’t think of where else to put it. We’ll probably be playing that on the tour.

Do you have any plans to hit Australia any time soon?

Last time we were in Australia with Soundwave was really cool. It’d been so long since we’d been back, and it was our first time experiencing the summer and those hot shows. We’ll try to schedule some other shows as soon as possible. Maybe Soundwave again, that would be cool. We’ve started in the US for the last two albums so somewhere else would be cool. We’ve never started in Australia before and maybe we should do it some day. You guys never get the start of any band touring, I think.


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