Sound — 8
Well, as we all know, Dragonforce have always had a unique sound that has changed in subtle ways with each album and Ultra Beatdown is no exception. Ultra Beatdown is definately a great new sound for the band. In my opinion, several songs stood out more than others. Said songs include Heartbreak Armageddon, Reasons to Live, and A Flame for Freedom. This album was exactly what Dragonforce needed to write to continue to evolve, but not lose their identity. The vocal production and harmonies are also miles above any of their other work. It's amazing to listen to ZP's incredible voice. His range soars up there with the clouds. The guitar solos are also very different. Many of them are actually slow, although not the majority. I think that Heartbreak Armageddon has the greatest DF solo ever written. I promise it will take many of you by surprise. The keyboards also saw a significant improvement. Much less of the traditional synth strings and more new age sounds. It sounds more futuristic to be honest. There are also a lot more keyboard solos. On a sadder note, the drums haven't changed much at all. I hear more drum rolls on the snare, but that's about it. Dave is a great drummer, but nothing about his drumming on this new album really caught my attention.
Lyrics — 5
Haha. Lyrics. Dragonforce lyrics have always been over the top, and yet again, Ultra Beatdown makes no exceptions. Riding through harsh winter storms, fighting the forces of evil, finding the truth in oneself. Ultra Beatdown has it all. My biggest complaint is that the line "So far away" appears in at least 3 different songs. I know that the lyrics aren't meant to be serious, but come on, Totman. You can do better.
Overall Impression — 8
Ultra Beatdown is on a whole different level than VotD, SF, and IR. I won't go so far as to say it's 'better', but I will say that it is different. Once again I will emphasize that it's still Dragonforce making the music, so don't expect 8 slow songs. I really liked this album. It's not ground-breaking, but it will entertain me for quite a while. I will, however, admit that some of the guitar parts were overproduced. I felt like the whammy bar sqeals were too much. I can take a few, but Ultra Beatdown gets a bit ridiculous with how much abuse that Edge Zero bridge takes. Anyways, it's a good listen for DF fans, and it may even win the respect of people who are not DF fans. It's definately worth buying.