Sound — 8
Let me get this out of the way first. If you're an absolute Dragonforce hater, like a lot of you are, "Ultra Beatdown" probably is not going to change your mind. However, if you're someone who's been on the fence about Dragonforce, this is the album that will knock you down onto Dragonforce's side of the yard. This is easily Dragonforce's best album. No longer can you say all their songs feel like "Through the FIre and Flames V.2." Almost every song, while still following the usual Dragonforce formula, have a unique touch that will make you say, "Oh yeah, I remember this song." So, if you've been iffy on Dragonforce, this is the album that will change your mind. But if you absolutely hate them, there's nothing here that will radically change your mind and turn you into a hardcore Dragonforce fan.
Lyrics — 6
All right, well, to sum up the lyrics in a few words: It's Dragonforce. They're certainly not winning any awards for their lyrics, and you will still find an abundance of fire, flames, and waiting for the day that is so far away. So if you're expecting some major change in their lyrical themes, you will be sadly disappointing. However, with that said, the lyrics, while nothing special, are different enough from their past albums to feel a lot fresher. ZP Theart's voice sounds as good as ever. Oh, and briefly I'd like to talk about the title of the album itself. "Ultra Beatdown" sounds sort of like a generic NES beat 'em up, and was definitely a turn-off to the album, but if you can get past all that, it's not bad at all.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, Ultra Beatdown is a really good album. Almost all the songs have something to offer, each with it's own touch of uniqueness to make it more memorable than the last. So, in my opinion, this would be Dragonforce's best CD yet. It really is an Ultra Beatdown. But again, it's nothing so amazing that if you hate Dragonforce I'd say "Oh pick up Ultra Beatdown, it will change your mind." But if you just don't like them very much or you're on the fence, this CD is at least worth a try. In closing, allow me to give you a little track-by-track breakdown of the songs on Ultra Beatdown. 01. Heroes of Our Time: this is a decent opening track, not the best on the album, but certainly not the worst either. 7/10 02. The Fire Still Burns: an enjoyable track, but nothing too special. The intro is pretty cool. 6/10 03. Reasons To Live: definitely my favorite track on the album. It has a strong, crazy Dragonforce intro you won't soon forget, and halfway through breaks into an amazing slow sort of bit in the middle, with a great solo. And who said Dragonforce can't play slower? This song is a little hard to describe, I strongly recommend you give it a listen. 9.5/10 04. Heartbreak Armageddon: this one is another of of my favorites. The intro again has some cool, heroic feeling guitar work going on. It's another strong song with another, cool, slow solo in the middle. And I actually like the lyrics on this one, too. 9/10 05. The Last Journey Home: this song sounds like the title, if you can understand what I mean. The song feels like a long journey home. This is another good track, and the solo, while not slow per se, is still great, making some use of the "video game" sound effects Herman Li loves so much. 8/10 06. A Flame For Freedom: a ballad type of song, similar to Trail of Broken Hearts. Some excellent guitar on this track, again disproving the notion that Dragonforce can only play fast. 7/10 07. Inside the Winter Storm: another powerful track, that hits you hard from the beginning, with another "epic" sounding solo in the middle. This song again, sounds like it's title. 7/10 08. The Warrior Inside: well, this is really the one track I honestly disliked. Same old Dragonforce here, not much to say really. 5/10 Bonus Tracks: 09. Strike of the Ninja: wow, only 3 minutes? On a Dragonforce song? This is a really cool little song, with very ninja-like guitar playing. 8/10 10. Scars of Yesterday: the intro feels very old-school video game like, almost like Ninja Gaiden. For me, the is definitely not a bad thing. It's one of the strongest songs on the whole album, which makes me wonder why it's just a bonus track. 9/10 11. E.P.M. if the intro to Scars of Yesterday sounded like an old-school video game, the intro to this IS an old-school video game. This is another really good track, makes it worth buying the bonus edition of Ultra Beatdown. 9/10