Dragonforce – Warp Speed Warriors (Napalm)

Wednesday, 13th March 2024
Rating: 8.5/10

Hard to believe it’s been five years since we’ve gotten new material from Dragonforce, the band that was unfortunately saddled with ‘that band from Guitar Hero’ tag that seemed to follow them everywhere for quite some time. While it brought them lots of attention, the band has been up to plenty of great things since then, building up a catalog that’s extreme, fun, and full of over-the-top instrumental gusto. In short, Dragonforce know exactly what they are doing with new material and attempt to spice it up here and there with some new tricks and techniques. Warp Speed Warriors is about what you’d expect from the monster shredders, but it doesn’t make it any less endearing.

Embracing that same sort of retro-esque aesthetic that 2019’s Extreme Power Metal seemed to capture, the ‘have a good time’ factor stays consistently high as you move through Warp Speed Warriors. Opener “Astro Warrior Anthem” hits those traditional triumphant marks from the band, diving into virtuoso shredding and rampant speed with Sam Totman and Herman Li’s distinctive playing leading the way, soaring into a more melodic chorus that’s sure to grab any power metal fans with delight. “Burning Heart” employs this same shred-tastic and blastbeat-ridden approach and gives out those thrills with glee, but it’s not without its fun factor. Marc Hudson’s vocals continue to soar high, providing the hookiness to counter the vicious guitarwork, which is also tempered by some enjoyable synths as the song progresses. On the more melodic side, we have the Zelda-inspired cut “Power of the Triforce” that melds the happy-go-lucky chorus and mid-tempo riffing with some high-octane bursts of shred. And while it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, “Doomsday Party” has to be a major highlight, with it’s more ’80s inspired synths and melodies done in a very melodic Dragonforce way, something that’s bound to be a fun break in the live scene in between more furious bouts of extreme power metal. It’s a very hooky, danceable track that proves, yet again, that the band can still write a potent song even when they don’t go at mach 5 speeds. To close things out, there’s another classic Dragonforce cover song, this time it’s Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” getting the visceral power metal overhaul, and it’s a fun and frantic track to close the album on (unless you get the special edition, which has guest appearance versions of a few songs and an instrumental cut).

Dragonforce continue to be unabashed about their approach to having fun within the power metal space, and shredding circles around their competition. Warp Speed Warriors is exactly what you’d want from the speed-happy veteran act – dizzying explosions of guitarwork, soaring melodies and choruses that hook you on the first listen, and above all – excitement and FUN. It might be too much for traditionalists to handle, but for the rest of us, Dragonforce continue to set a glorious high bar that’s easily worth the cost of admission.

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