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Valley of the Damned (2010 Edition)

DragonForce

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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. [JVC Victor's 2007 reissue included a bonus DVD.]

Customer Reviews

song title mistake

i think the 10th tracks called "WHERE Dragons Rule" NOT "When".....

The Album That Started It All & How It Was Meant to Be Heard!!

In 2003, DragonForce released their first album titled, "Valley of the Damned." After much success from producing a demo record a few years earlier, the 2003 recorded offered a unique set of the songs that really began to put DragonForce on the map. As a fan of live music, I have seen this band perform about a half dozen times in the US. While this band gives great, energetic shows, I could not help but notice that the songs from the Valley of the Damned CD sounded different live than on the CD. Needless to say that this band has improved, matured, and progressed as time went on. All of their records were breakthrough's in their own ways, but Valley of the Damned always sounded poorly mixed.

For those who are a fan of this band and are familiar with the 2003 album; you are in for a real treat. From start to finish, this album shines above the orginally released album. The songs sound much more crisp and clean. The songs do not sound the same anymore, as many have critized this as a weakness to the original album. ZP's voice sounds much more controlled and matured on this record. Further, Vadim's keyboard can be more clearly heard throughout songs, and most of his solo's sound better and improved. Additionally, Herman and Sam's guitar work sound very clear and are finally distinguished from the background. All of the songs sound noticeably better, and it feels like listening to a new album from the band. I highly recommend this album to fans of the band, especially those who have the 2003 copy. Your favorite songs can now be heard the way they were meant to be heard. Those who have heard these songs live will finally be able to capture that sound on the album (minus Herman's whammy work and clever solo during the Valley of the Damned second verse which is a treat to hear live).

For those who are just getting into the band, I would recommend purchasing this one over the 2003 original. While the original should be heard, this album easily replaces it.

Great work by DragonForce! Looking forward to the rising future of this band!

Life is Good...Life is Good...

I've been anticipating this album for a few months now (for I'm a HUGE fan), and I'm so excited that it's here! I didn't think The Valley of the Damned could be any more epic, but once again DragonForce has proved me wrong about having a limit to their abilities. The keyboards are more audible, the vocals are clearer, everything just seems to have been remastered to an unimaginable level. Fantastic job, DragonForce! Luv ya! :D

Biography

Formed: 1999 in London, England

Genre: Rock

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

The 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...
Full Bio
Valley of the Damned (2010 Edition), DragonForce
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  • $8.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: Feb 25, 2003

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