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Valley of the Damned (2010 Edition) [Remastered]

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Album Review

The debut album from U.K. power metal giants Dragonforce is a polarizing affair. Valley of the Damned could be construed as a bloated, Spinal Tap-style tribute to early-'80s fantasy-metal, and in many ways it is; however, it's so well played and so joyously executed that it could very well reignite the entire genre. For a band that collectively cites video game music as one of its major influences — the nine blistering tracks do, on occasion, conjure up images of greasy-haired teens huddled around a Commodore 64 playing King's Quest — the multicultural sextet is a master of its craft. From the epic title track to the fist-pumping closer, "Heart of a Dragon," the guitar pyrotechnics of Herman Li and Sam Totman light up the sky like a third world war, bending riffs into melodic submission while never overplaying. Vocalist ZP Theart has no qualms about emulating heroes like Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Michael Kiske (Helloween), but his lupine howls have a character all their own. Dragonforce plays faster than most bands in the genre — this may be the first speed metal pop group — but the production is precision-tuned and never muddy, allowing the giant Slade and Andrew W.K.-style choruses the room they need to explode. Valley of the Damned may not be groundbreaking or cathartic, and lyrics like "In the land of desire with your heart filled with fire you live for the right to be free/We will sail on forever more to the land of the evening star" may cross the line into heavy metal parody, but it's undeniably entertaining, expertly played, and endlessly fun. [A Japanese version added a bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

valley of the damned

Awesome

The Best

Imo Dragonforce's best album,

Good but not the best

good, not as good as inhuman rampage and other future albums, but its still worth buying

Biography

Formed: 1999 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

U.K.-based power metal sextet DragonForce formed in 1999 around the twin-guitar assault of Herman Li and Sam Totman, keyboard player Vadim Pruzhanov, and the powerful vocals of ZP Theart; drummer David Mackintosh and bass player Adrian Lambert joined the lineup later. DragonForce had already toured with the likes of Halford and Stratovarius before the release of their debut, 2003's Valley of the Damned. The success of that record earned the melodic rockers a worldwide audience, resulting in a string...
Full bio
Valley of the Damned (2010 Edition) [Remastered], DragonForce
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  • £5.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: 25 February 2003

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