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Dragonforce: Maximum Overload

Power metallers toy with their comfort zone.

Once memorably described as “Nintendo metal”, largely due to the squeaks and squeals from the dog-hearing end of the sonic spectrum chirruping forth from Herman Li’s guitar sprints, for fans of such aural intricacies, there’s plenty here to savour.

Rousing choruses, blast beats and typically overwrought bombast are also present and correct, not least on opener The Game. Approaching 240bpm, it’s their fastest yet, and in terms of heart rate, quite a flutter. Elsewhere, deviations into thrash (Defenders), prog-tinged middle sections (Symphony Of The Night) and even a hint of funk (Extraction Zone) illustrate a minor willingness to push things beyond the usual, and it’s all the better for it.

Always a polarising band, ultimately there’s little on offer to snare a neutral. For the zealot, however, new heights of melody and assurance await.