British extreme power metallers DragonForce return with their fifth studio recording, now featuring new lead vocalist Marc Hudson. My experience of the band is, either you love them or you hate them. Perhaps the band's trademark, first one to finish all notes wins the competition, is rather difficult to digest? The Power Within is produced by members of the band and in Europe, it's released through their own and newly started label, Electric Generation Recordings.
It's catchy, it's speedy as hell, it's computer game influenced, it's DragonForce yet again. Some of the songs are a bit slower though and actually could be considered regular power metal tunes and there actually are some diversity on The Power Within and not constant fast guitars, an explosive bass and double bass drums, even if I would call seven songs speed monsters.
The departure of ZP Theart have left no imprints, as the vocal performance of young Mr. Hudson is near flawless. If they haven't mixed his efforts too much, the older songs will probably go down well in a live set. If the other instruments will do so, is another chapter though, since this band often get well deserved negative critic about not being able to play their songs live in a correct manner.
This album is much better than their last release, Ultra Beatdown, which was a letdown with boring and monotonous songs. It's sounds like it usually do, but the songs have much better melodies and flow with Holding On, Fallen World, Wings Of Liberty and Last Man Stands as the absolute highlights.
The first video off the album, Cry Thunder, is a midtempo track, speaking DragonForce wise. It's a good song, but not a good benchmark, since it's not representative for the album. On the other hand it contributes to the diversity I mentioned earlier, so yet it fulfills a purpose. Another song in this tempo is Seasons, which has some kind of hit warning surrounding it. It has a goofy chorus, but it's catchy and hits you hard, just like it probably is meant to do.
One song feels misplaced; the acoustic version of Seasons. If they wanted to include a ballad on this album, why don't write one more song? Also I can't stop thinking of HammerFall's song Heeding The Call when I listen to the vocals in the chorus of Die By The Sword. Probably not deliberate, but a rip-off even if it's in a faster pace.
In conclusion, if you gave up hope for this band after the latest albums, I would suggest to have another go, simply because this is the best overall work they've done since the release of Sonic Firestorm in 2004.