Dragonforce / Moonstone
22 March 2003
Camden Underworld, London
Having lost a replaced their singer Shadow Keep continue to haemorrhage members, this time the lack of a drummer causes their cancellation.
France does not have a history of producing quality metal and that`s not about to change with Moonstone. This is the sort of gumby metal that your mates used to play down the local pub back in the 80s and it wasn`t clever then either. With their female vocals they come over as a poor man`s Warlock with no quality tunes. It`s not pretty to watch either with half the band looking like roadies with no cohesive image and other then the enthusiastic singer the rest look like rabbits caught in headlights. Nothing to see here Sir, move along please!
There is quality metal tonight however in the form of Dragonforce. It`s probably incorrect to label them as a British band due to the multinational membership covering Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand, Ukraine, France and er, …Brighton! With London as their adopted base, they are however the best thing in power metal we`ve had to offer in a long-time, if ever.
The thing that initially strikes you about the Dragonforce live experience is the amount of on stage activity and outward enjoyment from the band, which is more akin to a thrash band than the rooted to the spot persona of a lot of bands in the power metal genre. True metal posing is certainly not frowned upon either, step forward guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman.
Opening with Revelations the crowd warms quickly to this lively performance encouraged by vocalist ZP Theart lively stage presence. Black Fire is next and with six members the small Underworld stage is very crowded offering only brief glimpses of Didier Almouzni hammering away at his kit with incredibly fast double kick work.
Starfire see`s the pace slowed down and a few lighters held aloft. Johan and I are particularly vocal when "The warrior stand`s on top of the hill in the snooooowww!!!".
Japanese album bonus track When Dragons Rule is next and we`re treated to the whole of the Valley Of The Damned album. The album title track closes the main set seeing Herman and Sam playing over their guitar necks then on each others - very metal!
Adrian Lambert is performing bass duties tonight with a view to becoming a full time member and he certainly impresses with his five string bass work. Vadim Pruzhanov, having provided keyboards throughout then gets to show us his guitar skills during a closing cover of Iron Maiden`s The Evil That Men Do. Copying the new Maiden line up with three guitars, Vadim also provides the solos.
It`s all smiles after, though Herman apparently wasn`t happy with the onstage sound, out front we have no complaints. With the right push, perhaps as support on a larger bands European tour, Dragonforce have all the credentials to rise to the top of this genre.
Dragonforce Set List:
Revelations / Black Fire / Black Winter Night / Evening Star / Starfire / Where Dragons Rule / Disciples of Babylon / Heart of a Dragon / Valley of the Damned / The Evil that Men Do