|» Dragonforce 2006 10 27||
The Greek-Swedish constellation Firewind seems almost as eagerly awaited as the main band of the evening, considering how many fists there is in the air when they enter the stage. It's not hard to see why; their heavy metal is well played and easy to like, and the new singer Apollo (you got to love that name) Papathanasio is impressive enough to make you draw parallels to the character in the Greek mythology. But why does he mostly talk English to the audience when he resides in Halmstad on the Swedish west coast? Confusing. Guitarist Gus G should also be familiar to the Swedish audience considering the time he spent in bands like Dream Evil and Nightrage. It's a joy to finally see the guitar hero in action, and his band mate Bob Katsionis has just as deft fingers when it comes to playing the guitar as when playing the keyboards, which are tilted upwards Children Of Bodom-style.
The new material works best, with the duo of Allegiance and Insanity getting the concert a good start. Then the fire slowly starts to fade out, unfortunately. The concert is at its worst during the boring instrumental The Fire & The Fury which then for some reason segues into a pointless drum solo, during which vocalist Apollo leaves the stage for about ten minutes. Did he need a breather, or what? If that's the case, the band should have invited singer Tara up from Gothenburg to give Apollo some breathing space, since she contributed so successfully on the new song Breaking The Silence. Alas, this did not happen, which was a disappointment. The new single Falling To Pieces, arguably their best song yet, makes matters better again and ends the concert on a positive note. But you get the feeling that Firewind's full potential wasn't displayed this time.
6 chalices of 10
See also: interview with Gus G. prior to the gig
I was sceptic to say at least before coming to Dragonforce's show, knowing what kind of music they play (hyper-fast power metal) and what their lyrics is about (fantasy and dragons). Not exactly something to rave about, if you ask me. I managed to secure myself a great standing place at the balcony this time around, which turned out to be a good decision. Yes, it did made me a target of vocalist ZP Theart's wisecracks, but I learned tonight that Dragonforce is a band that you need to see rather than hear, so I could live with that.
The fact that the band got degraded from the considerably larger venue Arenan to this smaller club doesn't seem to inflict on their good moods. The interaction with the audience is constant throughout the whole show, like when Theart wants the audience to sing along to the music, and then stops the song because the response is to weak. Absolutely hilarious! The band members are all entertaining to watch, but Herman Li's and Sam Totman's guitar battles are something extra. They are reportedly big fans of the videogame Guitar Hero, so I wonder who actually is the better of the two?
Oh, that's right, they also play metal I have this idea that Dragonforce-fans are the same ones that are crazy about drag racing. However, while Dragonforce's music is extremely fast, contrary from drag racing their songs go on and on and never come to an end. Yes, songs like Valley Of The Damned, Through The Fire And Flames and Soldiers Of The Wasteland have potential to be terrific songs, if they would just cut back on the endless solos. Dragonforce's material also strikes me as being many similar versions of the same song, except for the compulsory ballad Trail Of Broken Hearts, which is a pure Spinal Tap-moment. The guys actually bring an acoustic guitar up on the stage, without even playing it - genius!
I must also mention Vadim Pruzhanov's videogame-influenced keyboard-solo, which he rounds off with an excerpt of the theme from The Simpsons. Worth a chalice on its own merits. This apparently makes the fans hunger for more, and asks the band to play drum- and guitar-solos as well. Who has ever heard about an audience actually WANTING to hear a solo at a concert? Madness! However, Sam declines and offers a "cock solo" instead and starts playing with his zipper. "Your cock is always solo", says Herman. The talking parts in-between songs usually sound contrived on concerts, but not this one. It feels natural and not forced at all.
Although I mentioned Spinal Tap before, there is one distinct separation
between the bands that should be mentioned. While Spinal Tap never realized
that they were a band of clowns, Dragonforce are fully aware of that they
are. They want us to laugh at their silly postures, they display a rare
sense of humour and never takes themselves seriously. I didn't become
a fan of their music over night (and probably never will be) but Dragonforce
deserve respect for doing there own thing and making people laugh. Nothing
wrong with that, is there?
6 chalices of 10