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Concert Review: Dragonforce w/ Between the Buried and Me, Metadox (July 31, 2006)

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I have to say, Poughkeepsie is a lucky town. The past two years have brought great shows from bands on their day off from Ozz-Fest. Thank you to those bands who continue playing shows when they don't have to, giving us fans who cannot make it to the festival an opportunity to see you live. We really appreciate the opportunity to bear witness to your live performance.

Last year brought Rob Zombie, who I am a big fan of, and Mastodon. It was my first experience with Mastodon, and it was a memorable one, they are one sick band. This year brings Dragonforce and Between the Buried and me, along with local act Metadox, to my town.

This show brought in the biggest crowd I have seen there since the Zombie show last August. I got there about 7:15 and took my place in the ever growing line to get in. I got past the security pat down and went inside. Metadox was two songs into their set by the time I got inside. I pushed through the crowd and found a decent place to get a view of the stage and settled in for the night.

I join Metadox already in progress. This is the second time I have seen them in their current incarnation. I will also admit to not paying terribly close attention to their performance here, but what I heard sounded very good. Over the past year they are developing into a strong local act.

Their sound has gotten heavier, seemingly triggered by the lineup shakeup. Metadox was loud and tight, featuring a two guitar assault backed by a solid bass and drum unit. They have an Iron Maiden style base, and put there own stamp on it, bringing in a heavier, rougher angle. I couldn't get a real handle on the crowd, but the reaction seemed to be split. That didn't surprise me, as I overheard a few people in line outside commenting they'd never heard of the opener. In any case, I like these guys and wish them the best, it has been fun watching them develop.

After Metadox's half hour set, the stage was quickly redressed for Between the Buried and Me. This was my first experience with this band, I had heard of them, but had never heard them prior to 9:11pm on July 31, 2006. After their 45 minutes onstage, I can say that they are not for me. That isn't to say they are bad, I found a lot to like in what they are doing, what I would call experimental hardcore.

While I wasn't enthralled by the music, I found the various elements to be very interesting. The drummer was fast, tight, and mixed in many interesting fills and clever transitions. In short, he is a good drummer; he takes chances and adds a lot of flavor to the overall sound. Then there is the guitar work, there is a lot of lead-work, more than I am used to hearing in hardcore style music.

Granted, my experience with hardcore is pretty limited, as it is not the first style I go to. Still, there was some very cool leads integrated into the songs, as well as an extended solo section where a lot of technical precision was put on display, but it was technique with feeling. Lastly, there is the use of keyboards, the lead singer also played the keys which were used primarily as intro/outros to the songs, but they sounded good and just added another dimension to the sound. It was an odd thing to see all of these elements combined into something that I did not care for, but it is good to see the experimentation.

Now, the primary reason for my attendance was preparing to melt the collective face of the audience. It was time for the mighty Dragonforce to take the stage and show us they can do live what they do on CD. I was first exposed to the Dragonforce experience with their US debut release, Inhuman Rampage. That disk opened my eyes to a new player in extreme power metal. The speed, the intensity, I had to know if they could do it live. The answer to that is a resounding "YES!"

I can't tell you the song names, but I can tell you they are one of the most proficient and fastest bands I have ever witnessed live. They came out at 9:35 and proceeded to rip through their songs and have a good time. The fact that they were having a blast was clearly evident, they were smiling, having fun with the crowd, leading us in cheers, and just playing their hearts out.

Each of the band members had their moment to shine, trading solos between the two guitars and keyboards. The drums kept a frenetic pace, never tiring, never wavering, a solid stream of drum bashing. It was sheer joy to have my head pounded in. After about 30 minutes, the band left the stage, but it did not last long as the keyboardist returned, by himself.

He then had a highly comedic solo segment, again, the fun was clearly evident, not to mention the ability. Soon after, the rest of the band came back to the stage and the set continued. I do recall a few song titles in their set, "Storming the Burning Fields," "Revolution Deathsquad," and "Fury of the Storm." They did slow the set down for "Trail of Broken Hearts," which sounded fantastic. They closed their set with "Through the Fire and Flames," to a resounding ovation from the full house. They came back and played a three song encore, but I do not recall the song titles.

After the performance ended, we were expelled into the hot summer night, sweaty, exhausted, and thirsting for more. Dragonforce is an amazing band, technical ability, heart, and great songs. This is a band to experience live.

Overall, this was an excellent concert. Metadox did a good job getting things started, the next step in their development. Next up, Between the Buried and Me may not have floored me, but they had a lot to like. Finally, Dragonforce is simply a force to be reckoned with.

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About Draven99

  • Guppusmaximus

    Nice Review… Between the Buried and Me aren’t experimental hardcore but a more accurate fusion between hardcore & death metal. Especially nowadays with Death Metal acts like Necrophagist where the drum & guitar riffs are furious with technical precision and complex timing. Hardcore bands have been trying to do this style with some success since Earth Crisis but BTBAM are actually blurring the lines which is rather interesting,Plus, they are very talented. Neuraxis is another band that does the fusion thing rather well.

    As for Dragonforce… I’m not a fan because they sound like Stratovarius on crack.

    Anyways, Nice Review…

  • As much as I enjoy metal and its subsidiaries, I can never keep al of these genre distinctions apart. There are too many of them, ya know? They weren’t my cup of tea, but they did have a lot of interesting elements.

    The best way I’ve described DF to those who don’t know is Dream Theater on speed, which seems accurate. They really impressed me live.

  • so Guppus, how do you characterize bands such as Slipknot and Mudvayne?

    i’m like chris in that i like some of this stuff but really have a hard time attaching labels.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Well, I would characterize bands like Slipknot and Mudvayne as pretentious & overrated. Those bands are like the Glam Rock of today. But that’s getting off point… Slipknot & Mudvayne alone are perfect examples of Pop. There are quite abit of varying influences and yet no real commitment to any of them. If I had to refer anyone to music that are good examples of different genres, Slipknot nor Mudvayne would make any of those lists because in my opinion they really don’t showcase any real musicianship nevermind a true appreciation for Metal.

  • nugget

    yea Dragonforce is fast. big deal.

    I have a 12-year-old girl playing through the segovia scales SCARY fast. (i’m a guitar teacher)

    As for Dragonforce’s content, they’re ok if you like Lord of the Rings-esque metal.

  • DragonForce is probally the most skilled and talented band in todays age. When you look at today’s music, everyone is signing hardcore, emo, and rap bands. Leaving all the good music back in the 80’s and once in a while a band like dragonforce will come along, they are certainly not LOTR metal. Yes rapping and being a gangster is very hard huh? and so is screaming untill you get a callous in your throat accompanied by 2 guitarists playing barchords in drop D, thats very challenging stuff, almost as hard as playing what i call the green day chords. 🙂
    have a nice day

  • Aaron Parish

    I think Dragonforce is a awesome band. I trying to learn how to play fast like David Macintosh

  • Chris H

    I’m suprised by this review. Dragonforce, well the guitarists atleast, are very untight, I’ve been watching live videos and instructional videos on youtube and seem to forget parts of solos and just play random scales instead.

    I would definately not called them Dream Theater on speed, coz they’re already on speed. XD

    I find them a bit too immature, in the sense of making strange video game effects and stuff that really takes away from the music. Though a handful of their songs appeal to me, I can’t say I’d want to see them live, after videos I’ve seen of their playing.

    As for BTBAM, they are amazing. I know what you mean about the style, it doesn’t really appeal to me either, but they are extremely talented, especially for just some not-so-well-known metalcore band. The solo in the song Selkies is like a masterpieces, I wish they’d make more songs/solos like that.

  • Kirsty

    Dragonforce are, like, possibly one of the most amazing bands i have ever heard.
    The speed.
    The intensity.
    It definitly sounds like one that i would want to see live.
    !! Black Crusade – 20th November – Glasgow !!
    Get in!!

    And as for the whole LOTR style they seem to have, that just makes them more original than your average metal band, does it not?

  • Ryan

    Dragonforce is simply amazing. I think it impossible for anyone other than the guitarists from dragonforce to play harmonics and scales(at the same time) at the speed it is performed. Utterly amazing.

  • Moontifa

    Dragonforce is amazing They keep the roots where it belongs. Now it’s like emo, rap, wannabe idie people trying to be metal. It’s… frustrating anyways I’m going to their concerts in October 2008. It will be awesome.

  • roger

    dragonforce sounds fantastic in the STUDIO!!!!!
    But from live vids on you tube its seems as if they just flat out cant play live. from what iv seen from you tube the tone,timing, notes and just overall sound is totally off but i do love the studio recordings i wish i could have seen the performance reviewed here to see if they really sounded that good