There aren’t many bands who owe their fame to a videogame. Ever since Guitar Hero III, the mainstream crowd has associated DragonForce with the plastic guitar wealding-game, along with the “hit single” ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’. Ironically, the band has always been partly inspired by the 8 bit-videogame music they grew up with.
The last time I attended a DragonForce
-show was right after the release of their third album, Inhuman Rampage
. Much has changed since then. Four years ago they played the small stage at the Melkweg, now they’re facing a sold-out 013 in Tilburg. The fans have gotten younger, the crowd has more than doubled, and the band have switched from drinking Heineken to Corona. The six rascals have since become superstars, with the shredding duo Sam Totman
and Herman Li
demanding the centre of attention.
Witnessing DragonForce live to me has always felt more like watching a freakshow at a carnival or attending the World Championships of athletics. No doubt the band contains six outstanding musicians, but they’re all athletes in their own discipline. Naturally, not every discipline is as entertaining. Sam and Herman are stars at the hundred meters of sprint, whereas drummer Dave Mackintosh participates in the marathon. That makes singer ZP Theart a mere competitor in the less attractive triple jump. He seems to have a hard time accepting his fate, and resides to distracting the attention from the ultra-fast and ultra-melodic guitar attack Sam and Herman release upon Tilburg.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the evening. The band mixed up songs from every album, which to me was a relief, since the last album was more of a letdown than an Ultra Beatdown. As recording artists, DragonForce have hit their peak a few years ago, but the largely flawless live show is as entertaining and ‘fun’ as ever. And just when you’re about to have enough of the endless shredding, the band brings out the acoustic guitars to close the evening with ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’. It’s the ultimate closer to an evening that was both satisfactory and exhausting. The band takes a bow, knowing it’s only the start of their upcoming European tour, as I go home tired, a bit drunk, but mostly fulfilled.
Written by Arthur van Vliet
Pictures by Bert from Metalshots.com