Dragonforce - Maximum Overload (2014)

It's been more than a decade since Dragonforce debut album and the game are still on. Dragonforce may not be change completely but they ain't the same young kid with ultra high adrenalin in their music. They no longer some kids need to show off their speed and skill. Starting at least yesterday's album, The Power Within, the band has starts to grow in significant mature melodic power. For starter, they no longer want to do it by them self, they are hiring a pro. Producer Jens Bogren (Opeth, Paradise Lost, Symphony X) is the lucky guy needs to manage this hyper boys. As the result, the band seems like just reach their second puberty. The album has now sailing to heavier sounds, there are still much cheesier power metal.

You may want to hold the breath for several moments, as we race the beat from opening track "The Game", "Tomorrow's Kings" and "No More". All these three combined the classic Dragonforce over-clocked power metal riffs, duo killer guitars in almost every notes, video game influenced keyboards mimicry, and hell level drum beat. The Game itself starts without much intro, it is a darker power metal from Dragonforce, with Matt Heafy, perhaps behind the mic for the 'growling' backing. Tomorrow's King, required no introduction as it is Dragonforce in blood with its tech-qie intro and duo melodic prelude. The most classic should be in No More, where Herman and Sam in sync for most of the guitar parts. Not to mentioned Marc Hudson is growing stronger ever since his debut in previous album. Only then "Three Hammers" hammered the pace down to what we called Dragonforce's "mid tempo" song. "Symphony Of The Night" is kind of Blind Guardian type with its folk rhyme situation. Jump to "Defender" this time we got post-Andy Derris Helloween type of power metal song. "Extraction Zone" back to ultra fast beat, but with bite of progressive texture in it. For a regular package the album finished with Johny Cash cover of "Ring Of Fire", maybe be well listen while watching the movie as well.

And here we bid farewell to drummer Dave Mackintosh, he will always remember as drummer of Dragonforce, a title that everybody in the business will know what it mean. He will replaced by Gee Anzalone.  Marc Hudson vocals seem works to its maximum since all song is seem trying to reach the edge of his throat. For first half of the album we can definitely feel the continuation of Dragonforce power metal music, very much the same we heard for past decade. Then the other half may offer something new, Dragonforce did try to differs their stuffs. What Maximum Overload speaking is, there still area that can be explorer by their style. This album combined most what we expected from the name Dragonforce with slightly new experiments. It is lesser 'epic' than The Power Within where there are still massive of song written to fill the epic power metal field, but Maximum Overload is darker and heavier, lending to the dark side of something.

Favorite track: No More, Symphony of the Night, Extraction Zone

Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

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Dragonforce - Maximum Overload (2014)

01. The Game (feat Matt Heafy)
02. Tomorrow’s Kings
03. No More (feat Matt Heafy)
04. Three Hammers
05. Symphony Of The Night
06. The Sun Is Dead
07. Defenders (feat Matt Heafy)
08. Extraction Zone
09. City Of Gold
10. Ring Of Fire (Johny Cash cover)
11. Power and Glory (bonus track)
12. You’re Not Alone (bonus track)
13. Chemical Interference

Marc Hudson – Vocals
Herman Li – Guitars, Vocals
Sam Totman – Guitars, Vocals
Frédéric Leclercq – Bass, Vocals
Vadim Pruzhanov – Keyboards, Vocals
Dave Mackintosh – Drums, Vocals
Produced by Jens Bogren


Adrian Weiss - Easy Game (2014)

Adrian Weiss is the recent hot guitar hero hailed from Germany. He was gaining fame from his hometown in Duesseldorf, playing guitar in many local progressive metal bands. "Easy Game" is actually his second solo instrumental guitar album. The first one released in 2011 which titled "Big Time" . Both albums surfs in the world of progressive metal vocabulary. Highly interesting for those who looking for quality guitar playing as in Marco Sfogli, Daniele Liverani, Andy James and Christian Muenzner. Those are new generation guitar shredder that shared the same fate in rising their fame. Their similarity not only in the music genre, but also in how they rise as independent solo artist, first associated with major bands, then released their music via  the digital form and promote using online social media power.

This album stretch the genre quite wide. We got "Awkward Silence" with interesting muted string lick in the intro. Song is laid down in progressive feel but yet strong melodic line enable us to follow it. "Instant Relief" is rather standard "minor" progressive scale we used to listen in Dream Theater or Symphony X solo. The next interesting point is "Hacienda" which is play as a duet with Christian Muenzner, the song interestingly highlighted the wild west / movie chasing like soundtrack with big chorus steel string voice. "Camel's Dance" is oriental / desert theme with nice wah-wah voice. "Second Sunrise" is a thick groovy composition, relaxing theme and playful. The album close with offbeat minor scale composition in duet with Manuel Franken, so understandably titled as "Offbeat Frankenstine".

Overall, Easy Game is truly easy listening instrumental album yet comes with interesting progressive and many other musical ideas. Song are straightforward but yet display creative guitar playing. You can drained lots of inspiration from each song, which is the main point in listening instrumental  ... to listen for fresh ideas. In term of production this is a big leap from Adrian's first album. You also can tell that from the number of guest contributors also, which throws in contrasting licks in many tracks. We welcome Adrian as the latest hero in the jungle of guitar shredder around the world.

Metal Harem class: ********* eight stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon
Adrian Weiss - Easy Game (2014)

01. Awkward Silence
02. Instant Relief
03. Aim to Please
04. Immediate Measures
05. The Last Days
06. Hacienda (feat. Christian Muenzner)
07. Camel's Dance
08. Second Sunrise
09. The Offering
10. Easy Game
11. Night Owl
12. Offbeat Frankenstine (feat. Manuel Franken)

Adrian Weiss - Electric guitars
Lars Zehner - Drums
Marcel Willnat - Bass

Demian Heuke (These Are The Days)
Manuel Franken (Korsakow)
Christian Muenzner (Obscura, Spawn Of Possession)
Thorsten Praest (GUT)
Jens Basten (Gloryful)
Vito Papotto (Exotoxis, Gloryful)
Jens Schaefer (Thought Sphere, Moment Of Detonation)
Mischa Lenz (Kinski´s Eyes, Forces At Work)
Mf-C (Kinski´s Eyes)
Tim Schulte (Stigma)


Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls [2014]

Exactly 40 years ago in 1974, "Rocka Rolla" marked the debut album for a group that going to be heavy metal legend, Judas Priest. That mean they had passed through almost the entire era of heavy metal genre up to day. Times flies by with no compromise, forty years later Judas Priest is seventeen albums stronger. "Redeemer Of Souls" is their latest album released in 2014. This album fights all along the modern sounds and taste, straightly goes back to their root with catchy simple riffs and signature Rob Halford voice. On the net, Glen Tipton found saying that this album will has no too adventurous moment, they had listen to their fans regarding the luke-warm reception on their "Nostradamus" album. "Redeemer of Souls" is kind of back to what Judas Priest in "Painkiller" era.

The first three songs are simple, strictly open with power riffs. Noted that KK Downing position is now to relay Richie Faulkner. You going to find most remain same, the band keep everything familiar as before. "Dragonaut" is powerful opener, mid tempo song, feel very much in the '80s, Rob Halford has enough moment to exercise his vibrato elsewhere in the song. Almost the same thing can be said with "Redeemer Of Souls", this time the tempo is faster slightly, song writing are very melodic as Judas Priest always done. "Halls Of Valhalla" is finally something epic with longer musical opening. We jump to "Down In Flames" as the twin melodic intro is something different than others. "Hell & Back" is dark guitar ballad leads to mid tempo rock song. Something conceptual a la Queensryche is in "Cold Blooded". The band still get more song to make up a total of 13 songs + 5 in the bonus CD. Good productivity.

Redeemer Of Souls bring along many nostalgic Judas Priest moments. This album didn't have zenith scale song to reached all old fans to have it. Yet, there exist minor spikes to notice about the Judas Priest legacy. I would say the band were kind to releases large number of songs, where the first quarter of the album already can do well actually. Rob Halford comes still with his unique vocal character, while the guitars duo brings all classic licks and riffs to make up new songs. Come and listen once again to Judas Priest.

Favorite tracks: "Halls Of Valhalla", "Cold Blooded", "Metalizer", "Dragonaut", "Redeemer Of Souls"
Metal Harem class: ******** eight stars out of ten

Buy it Here - Amazon

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls [2014]

CD 1:
01. Dragonaut
02. Redeemer Of Souls
03. Halls Of Valhalla
04. Sword Of Damocles
05. March Of the Damned
06. Down In Flames
07. Hell & Back
08. Cold Blooded
09. Metalizer
10. Crossfire
11. Secrets Of The Dead
12. Battle Cry
13. Beginning Of The End

CD 2:

01. Snakebite
02. Tears Of Blood
03. Creatures
04. Bring It On
05. Never Forget

    Ian Hill – bass
    Rob Halford – vocals
    Glenn Tipton – guitars, keyboards, synthesiser
    Scott Travis – drums, percussion
    Richie Faulkner – guitars

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