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Reaching Into InfinityPressed On 2x Colored Vinyl
Long running Grammy-nominated extreme melodic power metal band DragonForce are set to release their seventh album, 'Reaching Into Infinity.' Once again recorded with Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Soilwork), the producer extraordinaire who helmed the UK-based group's now three-year-old previous record 'Maximum Overload,' it will be available via Metal Blade Records in the United States.
'Reaching Into Infinity' introduces Italian drummer Gee Anzalone, who joined the band for their first ever 'best-of' collection, 'Killer Elite: The Hits, The Highs, The Vids', released in 2016. It's the third DragonForce album to feature frontman Marc Hudson, whose reign at the mic now enters its sixth year.
Musically speaking, 'Reaching Into Infinity' continues where DragonForce left off with 'Maximum Overload', the band's faster material becoming even faster still, while the melodic parts head even further in that particular direction. The band offers no apologies for the inclusion of a 1980s rock-style ballad entitled 'Silence' and, at the other end of the spectrum, there's even an 11-minute multi-tempoed monster called 'The Edge Of The World'.
"'The Edge Of The World' is DragonForce's longest ever song," says Li proudly. "In some ways, this album is more epic than anything we've done before."'The Edge Of The World' is extremely ambitious, channeling growled vocals from Hudson and fusing them with a stunning arrangement that twists and turns like the proverbial dragon's tail. The 'Force go prog-rock, anyone?
"Why not?" Li responds. "Marc's favorite style of music is prog, and I'm a massive fan of Dream Theater, so there's an element of that going on. With each album that we make, the band reveals more and more if its influences, constantly adding to what we can do."
"We have proven that playing fast is something we were good at, so this time I wanted to bring even more diversity into our music," Fred elaborates. "It's great to challenge ourselves instead of staying in a comfort zone, and I really wanted to experiment with Marc's vocals. I think people are going to be surprised at his brutality."
The title corresponds with the album's highly impressive sleeve art, which features a dragon bursting through a wormhole into a hi-tech, futuristic cityscape.
"The dragon represents us - DragonForce - and a form of music that's been around for a very long time, emerging into an outside world that's infinitely more crazy and chaotic than it was ten years ago," Li explains, using considerable understatement. "Everyone is saying that there's no future and there's a lot of fear and uncertainty, especially for younger people, but our music is an escape from it all."
The bulk of the album was laid down at Fascination Street Studios in Sweden, though additional parts were cut in studios around the UK and in California. They had to be - "Since 'Killer Elite' it's been non-stop for us," Li comments.
Adds Leclercq: "We flew out, played a festival, headed back into the studio, then went back out again. It was very intense and tiring. I obviously played bass but also a lot of rhythm guitar, electric and acoustic, and lost my temper a few times - I think we all did at some point because we wanted to deliver nothing but the best."
Expect many of these songs to become firm live favorites, particularly the super-fast 'Midnight Madness' (feted as the album's second video track), when DragonForce hit the road again. As usual, their itinerary will take them to the four corners of the world.LP 1
1. Reaching into Infinity
2. Ashes of the Dawn
3. Judgement Day
4. Astral Empire
5. Curse of Darkness
7. Midnight Madness
2. Land of Shattered Dreams
3. The Edge of the World
4. Our Final Stand
5. Hatred and Revenge (Bonus Track)
6. Evil Dead (Bonus Track)$33.99Colored Vinyl LP -2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Venus On Earth (Awaiting Repress)Three albums in the novelty has worn off, but Dengue Fever has smartly chosen to keep evolving. While that means their unquestionably unique offering no longer startles, it's no less riveting -- Venus on Earth is at once the band's most accessible and most varied release.
A recap: when first heard from in 2003 on their self-titled debut, Dengue Fever was like no other band, a bunch of L.A. hipsters fronted by a Cambodian-born woman, Chhom Nimol, who paid homage to that Asian nation's pre-Pol Pot cheesy psychedelic-cum-lounge-surf-garage pop sound of the '60s/early '70s, music obscure enough that only a tiny handful of Americans could honestly claim to have known the first thing about it -- certainly, the source material spun outside of the orbit of the so-called core world music audience.
By the second album, 2005's Escape from Dragon House, Dengue Fever had tossed in a few more disparate elements, and with Nimol's high-range vocals riding atop this internationalist admixture and a basic alt-rock sensibility as a guiding force (minus the faux alt-rock attitude), Dengue Fever attracted an audience and garnered critical praise. For Venus on Earth, the mainstream beckons, or comes as close to beckoning as it's ever going to for a band as non-mainstream as Dengue Fever.
Nimol's vocals are as beguiling as ever, Ethan Holtzman's Farfisa organ still swirls, Zac Holtzman's guitars still chime and chunk, and Paul Dreux Smith's drums clang happily along. With horns provided by David Ralicke and bass from Senon Gaius Williams, Dengue Fever has softened some of the rougher edges, injected some serious soul, and added more swing to their thing. Oceans of Venus could be an outtake from the first B-52's album, Clipped Wings a lost Blondie tune, and Woman in the Shoes is just one of the most cuddly pop songs in ages. The groovelicious Nimol-Zac Holtzman duet Tiger Phone Card, a tale of a long distance Phnom Penh-NYC romance, is the pop smash Yoko Ono might have had in an alternate universe.
Drenched in reverb, soaked in sweat, marinated in some phantom historical moment yet tethered to the now, Dengue Fever is more innovative and resourceful than 99-percent of the bands that receive 99 times the publicity.
- Jeff Tamarkin (All Music Guide)1. Seeing Hands
2. Clipped Wings
3. Tiger Phone Card
4. Woman in the Shoes
5. Sober Driver
6. Monsoon of Perfume
8. Oceans of Venus
9. Laugh Track
10. Tooth and Nail
11. Mr. Orange$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Balls To PicassoThe key moment in Bruce's
evolution as a solo artist
unfolded following his
departure from Maiden in 1993, after which he
joined forces with guitarist and producer Roy Z for
1994's sophomore triumph Balls To Picasso. Backed
by Roy's noted Latino rock crew Tribe Of Gypsies, he
began to spread his compositional wings, edging
towards a noticeably heavier sound - despite,
rumour has it, pressure from Bruce's label to be more
radio-friendly - and flexing those metal muscles with
renewed vigour on the likes of "Cyclops," "1000
Points Of Light," the exhilarating :Laughing In The
Hiding Bush" and towering prog-tinged power ballad
"Tears Of The Dragon," a somewhat oblique, but
undeniably affecting paean, to Bruce's feelings upon
leaving Maiden to forge a new path.1. Cyclops (2017 - Remaster)
2. Hell No (2017 - Remaster)
3. Gods of War (2017 - Remaster)
4. 1000 Points of Light (2017 - Remaster)
5. Laughing In the Hiding Bush (2017 - Remaster)
6. Change of Heart (2017 - Remaster)
7. Shoot All the Clowns (2017 - Remaster)
8. Fire (2017 - Remaster)
9. Sacred Cowboys (2017 - Remaster)
10. Tears of the Dragon (2017 - Remaster)$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now