See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ultra Beatdown

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Power metal gets a bad rep. No, it's not all Dungeons and Dragons fantasy bullshit, as some cranky critics suggest. Sometimes — that is, sometimes — power metal is done correctly, bereft of ridiculous histrionics and overblown melodramatic nonsense. Of course, DragonForce has always reveled in being overdone, outrageous and blatantly ostentatious. And these guys are showy, man. Sometimes this pretension works. But, unfortunately, this time, on Ultra Beatdown, it doesn't.

The band can't seem to break free of the chains left over from the derivative, grandiose swill of their previous release, Inhumane Rampage. Yes, Herman Li and Sam Totman are good guitarists — but what they do with that ends up being no fun to listen to.. In fact, after the initial two-minute shock of being bombarded with insane speed riffs, it quickly gets tiring and a bit overdrawn.

At least this time out, the band has introduced some dynamics (definitely missing last time out), but vocalist ZP Theart's overacted cries nevertheless often just fade into the background amid the blazing guitar runs of Li and Totman and the occasional noodling of keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov. Hell, there's so much guitar on this album at points, the damn thing just ends up sounding like a viscous, muddled mess. It does take skill to keep it up for the full eight-minute duration of most of these tracks. It also takes skill to make it all sound good. It's all about checks and balances in the end.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Kent Alexander

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit