Some albums, its fair to say, are harder to review than others.

This one? I could probably do it in about two sentences: Here goes. “Dragonforce have released an album called Extreme Power Metal, what do you think it is going to sound like for goodness sake?

Frankly, you can say what you like about Dragonforce and it almost doesn’t matter. Across their 16 years and eight albums on this planet, they’ve just done their own thing and who cares what anyone else thinks?

I remember seeing them on one of those Black Crusade tours Slayer did about a decade ago, and their then singer, was racing about trying to trip the guitarists Herman Li and Sam Trotman up as they played their solos. It was schoolboy, knockabout stuff and for all the technical brilliance (and crikey, the pair are right up there) there is a bit in them that will never and has never taken anything too seriously.

Li himself reckons when speaking about the new record that: “This album again combines the best of DragonForce in an even bigger, more epic way than we have ever done before.”

And that, in fairness, is spot on. So you’ll either have your horns up at the thought, or you’ll be afraid.

Whatever, Dragonforce has never sounded better than this.

“Highway To Oblivion” does it from the off. Seven glorious minutes of slow-building, grandiose, epic, slightly bonkers lunacy, it is exactly what the band do so well. With one key difference. The keyboards are all over this. Now adding a real parping Euro (or maybe just Europe the band?) feel to things.

They are supplied by Coen Janssen of Epica and he’s done a fabulous job.

“…..Oblivion” is followed by “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine” (no, I am not making this up, I swear) and it soars. It pummels. And god alone only knows what they’ve done to Marc Hudson to make him hit those notes…..

“The Last Dragonborn” (again, no, I am not making this up!) would probably pass for a ballad in fairness. Slower and you can imagine a field of people swaying to this next summer. “Heart Demolition” starts with a riff at breakneck speed and then tries to be profound, thing is even when Dragonforce try to be sincere, they end up doing metal again. Which this does.

“Troopers Of The Stars” is genuinely heavy – those drums from Gee Anzalone, man alive! – “Razorblade Meltdown” ushers itself in on the back of a piano riff that is pure Queen, “Strangers” is essentially desperate to be on any AOR record from about 1985 and “In a Skyforged Dream” thunders in something approaching a “signature” sound.

“Remembers Day” begins with a matching pipe band – and its Celtic feel might have even Glorynhammer looking on enviously, but then, as if to prove that they are diva’s there’s a cover of “My Heart Will Go On” and the thing is, you aren’t surprised. In fairness, it isn’t bad either.

That’s sort of Dragonforce in microcosm. The most out there Power Metal band there is, really. The sort of band that says: “I know less is more, but if less is more, then think how much more, more could be”

“Extreme Power Metal”? You’ll love it. Or you’ll hate it. And there won’t be any inbetween.

Rating 8.5/10

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