"Wacky avalanches of overripe gorgonzola delivered with the band’s trademark OTT exuberance and virtuosic flair": Dragonforce's Warp Speed Warriors might be more meme than music, but it still delivers the goods

Dragonforce prove they are still guitar heroes through and through

Dragonforce 2024
(Image: © Travis Shinn)

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Videogames have been good to Dragonforce. There was always a hint of malfunctioning Nintendo about the UK superstars’ ultra-hyper power metal rampage, and they’ve been a reliable soundtrack presence since their appearance on Guitar Hero III made them a household name. 

Previous songs referenced Skyrim, Castlevania and Starcraft, and this ninth album gives us Power Of The Triforce, tackling The Legend Of Zelda head-on with fearless conviction. It also perfects a song style that Dragonforce have struggled to nail in the past: a concise, unfussy, mid-tempo nugget of earnest, melodic pop-metal in the Stratovarius vein. 

It’s the only song of its kind here, on an album that continually zigzags between euphoric high-speed metal epics and ludicrous 80s stylistic mash-ups. Semi-sophisti-pop ballad Kingdom Of Steel, despite its metal-as-fuck title, sounds like it’s trying to seduce a roadie into letting it backstage at a Prefab Sprout concert, while disco metal abomination Doomsday Party – a brave/ foolhardy choice of advance cut – is more meme than song, with its bouncy boyband chorus and over-eager hexagonal e-drum fills. 

It vies with Space Marine Corp for the band’s goofiest ever tune, the latter song’s tepid chugging and ungainly gang vox inducing cringes even before the mid-section’s comedy marching chant begins. For any with the deluxe edition, there’s even a Taylor Swift cover to contend with. Even so, these flamboyantly wacky avalanches of overripe gorgonzola are delivered with the band’s trademark OTT exuberance and virtuosic flair. 

Each note is crammed with enough charismatic joie de vivre to put your fist in the air, even if the other fist is in your mouth. Besides, the four or five highest-velocity mega-bangers – especially Burning Heart, The Killer Queen and Pixel Prison – more than confirm this wayward quintet’s continual pushing of envelopes and mastery of craft.

Warp Speed Warriors is out March 15 via Napalm. Dragonforce's co-headline UK tour with Amaranthe starts in Bristol on March 22 - for the full list of dates, visit the band's official website

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.