Sound — 8
Some worship them, others hate them with a burning passion. Ultra Beatdown is the latest offering from the speed/power metal band Dragonforce. The sound is very similar to 2006's Inhuman Rampage with a million guitar tracks, soaring vocals, cheesy keyboards and epic drumming in practically every song. Don't get me wrong on CD it sounds great (I'm not going to discuss the live sound as it isn't relevant) really full and over powering. The video games sounds make a return with some really weird effects going on which give Dragonforce their distinct sound. If your a fan of previous Dragonforce albums then this will sit somewhere between Inhuman Rampage and Sonic Firestorm with elements of both mixed in. However there is nothing new to attract new fans to Dragonforce and it bugs me that many of the new riffs and solos are basically recycled from previous albums. Melodies and chord progressions in certain parts give the feeling that Dragonforce may be running out of ideas. Mix wise I miss the bass from Valley of the Damned, something that really caught my ear on this and Inhuman Rampage is that the bass is boring and weak. Following the guitars and with a few octave runs, the bass is easily forgotten. The keys are pretty much what you would expect cheesy and at times overpowering. The only new elements I can think of are the breakdown in "Reasons to live" and the intro to "The Warrior inside".
Lyrics — 6
What is there to say about the lyrics on a Dragonforce album? cheesy as hell and seemingly getting worse on each album. ZP's voice is OK and he pulls off the epic delivery in most songs but it's what he is singing about that will irritate most people. "So far away", "Shining", "Flying", "Lost", "Tonight". I dare you to drink a shot every time these words come up on this album.
Overall Impression — 8
Reviewing this from someone who doesn't mind Dragonforce I would say it's just about worth picking up. It does get better with more listens and it just about gets away with being better than Inhuman Rampage. There are a few tracks that will grab your attention however most are mediocre and "been here before" will spring to mind. 01. Heroes of our time - a decent opener but soon forgotten. 6/10 02. the Fire Still Burns - really dig this track, however the lyrics scream TTFATFs. 7/10 03. Reasons to live - my favorite track on this album. Crushing intro and a cool middle bit. 9/10 04. HeartBreak Armageddon - very sonic firestorm, another decent track. 7/10 05. The Last Journey home - oriental sounding with a variety in structure. One song that does stand out as being different. 8.5/10 06. A flame for freedom - the intro reminds me of a Christmas carol. I really hate the Dragonforce "Ballads" that end up on every album. Boring as hell. 4/10 07. Inside the winter storm - sweet intro, again a nice dual harmony breakdown. 8/10 08. The Warrior inside - I love this song. It's techno intro is great and it's great way to end the album. 9/10