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Review: DragonForce - Valley of the Damned
Valley of the Damned

Label: Noise Records
Year released: 2002
Duration: 51:48
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: February 9, 2003
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
Readers Rating
Valley of the Damned

Rated 3.59/5 (71.72%) (29 Votes)

This is a band that has gained quite a bit of notoriety even before landing a record deal. Some of you may recognize this band by the name of Dragonheart. The band pretty much ruled the metal charts for the better part of two years. This notoriety led them directly to a record deal with Noise Records. So is all this praise and adulation among the masses of well founded? I would have to say a resounding …Yes and No (nothing beats being absolutely decisive…heh).

Let me start with what is good about the album, which gives me the yes side of my argument. You can pretty much tell from the name of the band alone that this is a power metal album (That is good…I like power metal). The music kicks in and within a short amount of time you can tell the musicianship is excellent throughout the entire band (Still good so far). The guitars are better than I would have expected from a debut with leads that are the textbook definitions of shredding (Still good). The vocals are worthy of note since they are clean but not overly high like the majority of power metal tends to be (Still on the good side here). All of this put together would make for a pretty good album except for one glaring factor (And now for the bad). There is a very obvious lack of variety through the length of the album. Almost every song is up-tempo with the double bass kick working overtime and the backing guitar riffs sounding very similar from one song to the next. It seems at times the band is teasing you into thinking there will be variety by starting out a song slower with a really nice groove and then all of a sudden BOOM hear comes that double bass kick again. It becomes very difficult to distinguish one song from another and this lack of depth is what really hurt this album in the overall rating.

Overall I would say that I expected a bit more from this band even though this is their debut. On the other hand it does show how talented these guys are as musicians and if their songwriting can blossom into some more variety this certainly bodes well for the future of the band. More variety and this band could easily be in the upper ranks of power metal. Hell, Blind Guardian had roughly the same problem when they first started and they are one of my favorite bands today as well as certainly in the upper ranks of the genre.

Favorite Tracks – They are all pretty good and since they are all pretty similar any of them are as good as any other…heh.

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