DragonForce - Reaching Into Infinity

DragonForce Reaching Into Infinity cover
Reaching Into Infinity
Somehow, no-matter if I tried, I found it difficult to like DragonForce more than a bit, mainly due to their formulaic approach to songwriting that seems to prefer fast riffing over anything else… while most of their songs can have nice parts, they predictably end up going into a flurry of notes that almost always sounds nearly identical. Live they also sound even “thinner” than in the studio, which is not really much to go on, if you like things a bit heavier and meatier.
On this, their third album with Marc Hudson behind the microphone things have not changed perceivably, but I must say that while I dismissed most of their recent material I did seem to like more parts of this newest effort, maybe even a couple of songs as whole entities…
“Reaching Into Infinity” is an intro to the ambitious, swift and well executed “Ashes of the Dawn” that plays on the strengths of the band, with a healthy amount of variation in its duration.
“Judgment Day” uses the same formula pretty much, but goes even faster, using even the same breaks as the band uses on previous songs… it feels really like j-rock on 45 RPM! I know I’m showing my age, with the second one, being easier on the ears.
“Astral Empire” tries to push things in even further, to the point of ridiculousness. Obviously the song is still heads and shoulders over some BS that hapless bands like Gloryhammer mass produce as well, but I wish it was “much slower”. In fact the whole, song does slowdown in the middle in a very predictable way, only to reprise its initial ideas towards the close.
“Curse of Darkness” is so much better, because it is, in fact, performed at a speed much closer to normal and it sounds heavier (as heavy as it could) at this rate. I wish more songs followed suit, with only bursts of breaknecking speed here and there…
“Silence” is a ballad that thankfully, is as it should be… slow and beautiful.
Not to forget, who we’re listening to, the band speeds things up again to slightly above normal, but still not to annoying levels on “Midnight Madness”.
“WAR!” is bizarre since it start of in the most heavy way imaginable for the band, but midway it goes into the usual high pitched singing and it progressively speeds up – a hybrid track that catchy enough, but also pretty repetitive after its first invention.
“Land of Shattered Dreams” goes back into Nintendo-core on 45 RPM, with an extra emphasis on melody…
“The Edge of the World”, thankfully, is again down to normal speeds and while there are a couple of nice ideas; it’s just trying to mix too many things, even unconvincing growl vocals, in a track that doesn’t seem able to rise above mediocrity and at more than eleven minutes, quite frankly tires.
“Our Final Stand” also manages to avoid extremities, in-fact being one of the better songs on the album, in terms of being balanced.
Finally, “Gloria” is not a cover, but an original that’s actually pretty neat a poppy love song… better than it sounds “on paper”…
A somewhat better and more mature album by the wimpy Brits that seem to be slowly graduating past their ultrafast (read – ultra-similar no bends or slides, whammy the funk out of everything to sound flashy) style into a somewhat more mature and well-rounded band. They are ample proof that most people dunno which side to hold the guitar from, let alone play, or appreciate… but I still have got to give it to them for managing to reach the level they have, commercially, because artistically it’s a whole different story…