In two months U.S. record stores will, at long last, be able to stock an album by British power-metallers DragonForce. While the band’s been around since 1999, the sextet’s presence in the U.S. hasn’t been felt much, considering DragonForce’s three albums – 2003’s The Valley of the Damned, 2004’s Sonic Firestorm and 2006’s Inhuman Rampage, which was issued four months back — haven’t been released here. Hell, the band has yet to set foot on American soil, so DragonForce fans here have been deprived to say the least.
But that’s all about to change, guitarist Herman Li said. Visa problems kept DragonForce from performing at New York’s CBGB club back in November, but Li said that’s not going to happen again on April 30, when the band plays its first U.S. gig at the New England Hardcore and Metal Festival. But he did warn fans that DragonForce shows aren’t like most metal shows.
“We’re famous for accidents onstage now,” he said. “We have trampolines we jump on and four different boxes of different heights, which allow us to jump in the air and spin around. Even though the music is really fast and complicated, we’re jumping in the air, playing the guitar upside down … it’s fun. We finish each tour with bruises on our legs and everything.”
Eight additional U.S. club dates have been lined up: May 2 (New York), May 3 (Philadelphia), May 4 (West Springfield, Virginia), May 5 (Cleveland), May 6 (Chicago), May 8 (Denver), May 10 (San Francisco) and May 11 (West Hollywood, California), with Protest the Hero and Sanctity. Most of those shows have already sold out, but Li did mention that the band’s working on securing a spot on an American festival tour, like Sounds of the Underground or Gigantour 2 — so fans who miss them this time around might be able to catch the ‘Force this summer. But Li said the band hopes, in time, to be headlining tours in the U.S.
First, though, there’s the matter of getting an album on store shelves. On June 20, Roadrunner Records will release Inhuman Rampage in the U.S., but DragonForce have already begun writing new material for that record’s follow-up. Fans, Li said, can expect the new stuff to be just as fast, frenetic and technically perverse.
Most of Li’s guitar stylings have been inspired by video game music, he said. In fact, on Inhuman, he tweaked and scratched the strings to create sounds he claims he borrowed from “Pac-Man.” And those sounds are difficult to replicate live.
“When we finish an album, it’s like, ‘Whoa — we’ve got to learn these songs? It’s going to be tough,’ ” Li said of the recording process. “But it’s better that way because it makes you a better player afterwards.”
Dragonforce Concert Dates
Dragonforce Tickets – 9/8/2006 – Wiltern LG – Los Angeles CA
Dragonforce Tickets – 9/9/2006 – Warfield – San Francisco CA
Dragonforce Tickets – 9/19/2006 – The Pageant – Saint Louis MO
Dragonforce Tickets – 9/22/2006 – Bogarts – Cincinatti OH
Dragonforce Tickets – 9/23/2006 – Harpos – Detroit MI
Chris Harris and Jon Wiederhorn
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