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Live Reviews : DragonForce & Teramaze @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 21/06/2017

By on June 24, 2017

Words: Bailey Graham

Photos: Sonja Maglicic

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Throughout DragonForce‘s illustrious career, there are two things that can be said about them: one, that they have been absolutely killing it with quality material over the last seven years, and two; that they seem to have a love affair with the land down under. These two would culminate into what be DragonForce’s first national tour (outside of the ill-fated Soundwave Festival) since Ultra Beatdown. The U.K. power metallers gathered an 800-strong crowd in Melbourne’s 170 Russell, with not a soul in attendance lacking enthusiasm and excitement for the night’s proceedings to commence. With an incredible new album, Reaching Into Infitnity, in tow, and the addition of Melbourne’s own Teramaze to the night, expectations were as high as they’ve ever been. In short, expectations were met and left in the dust as DragonForce delivered what is perhaps the greatest live show they’ve put on in this city.

As the doors swung open and the room began to fill, Teramaze took to the stage in a rather professional and subtle style. The select few in attendance who knew of Teramaze (yours truly being one of them) struggled to contain their excitement as the Victorian natives belted brilliance in spades. A rager diverse setlist of their entire back catalogue, with a strong focus on their latest effort Her Halo, Teramaze delivered forty-five minutes of melodic hooks and face-melting leads. If there’s one thing to take from watching these guys live it’s that each and every member is a star in their own right, but the incredible guitar virtuosity of Dean Wells and the sublime vocal delivery of Nathan Peachey brought Teramaze to an upper echelon of melodic metal. Not a soul was left in silence upon Teramaze’s final note. If there was any band that would not only hold their own against a band like DragonForce, but push the bar of expectations higher than any support act could, it’s Teramaze.

The crowd filed into the pit mere minutes after the lights went dim, a clear sign of the impending madness to ensue. As the music began to envelope the crowd, one by one, the members of DragonForce made their way onto the stage in their usual charismatic fashion. Wasting no time, “Ashes of the Dawn” erupted, as a sea of bodies and hair flew across the venue in pure bliss. In what felt like a relentless assault on the senses, older classics like “Operation Ground and Pound”, “Fury Of The Storm” & “Heart Of A Dragon” intertwined with modern day hits “Cry Thunder”, “Three Hammers” and “Seasons” that left nothing but carnage in its wake; all while the speed metal sensations gave us all a night to truly remember. In what was an absolute joy to witness, and be a part of, the live delivery of tracks from Reaching Into Infinity were not only played exquisitely, but were received by almost universal praise from the audience below. In what felt like the highlight of the night, the addition of the 11-minute epic “The Edge Of The World” showed a side to DrgaonForce that many don’t: that of a band whose abilities as musicians stretch beyond the limits of technical ability and extend to the realms of pure creatively, songwriting, and thematics.

Besides what felt like an absolute banger of a setlist, there’s oh, but a few things that need to be said about their live delivery as a whole that night. If there was only one thing to say that bothered me about the night, it was the rather flat tone in the guitars and bass. Whether this was intentional by the band or a pure mistake by the hands of their technicians, I really hope this rather minor issue is addressed come their following shows. Outside of pure nit-picking, every member of DragonForce held their own in true, professional style. Frontman Marc Hudson commanded the crowd with absolute authority, unleashed piercing highs and devastating lows, all whilst retaining a sense of compassion and connection with the crowd. The twin-guitar attack of Herman Li and Sam Totman left jaws on the ground as they delivered what was potentially one of the tightest spectacles of live guitar playing I have ever seen. Bassist Frederic Leclercq completely erased all notions of the “typical bassist”, as he dropped the four string and went straight for the six and showed the world how good of an axeman he is. The latest addition to the DragonForce lineup, drummer Gee Anzalone looked as happy to be a part of the band as the fans below were to witness his energetic and impeccable sticksmanship. Whilst this marked the first (and hopefully only) tour where keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov was absent from these shows, the void had been filled by a five-piece who hasn’t flowed this well in their entire career.

As the final chords of “Through The Fire And Flames” announced the conclusion of their set, there was not a single person in attendance were was left disappointed or unfulfilled. Teramaze came, saw and conquered an audience who had no idea who they were, and I can only imagine they have left with hundreds of new fans in tow. As for the boys in DragonForce, they’re used to be the old statement (that unfortunately is still mentioned to this day) that they can’t perform live to the level of their studio albums. Whilst this statement may have resembled some form of truth in the early years of their career, over recent years, DragonForce has quelled the naysayers and have evolved into an unstoppable juggernaut of power metal. For all of those who are on the fence about witnessing DragonForce live, I can guarantee you that this is a band that has grown to become true masters of their craft, both in-studio and on-stage.

DragonForce wraps up their Australia tour tomorrow night in Queensland at The Triffid (with Chronolyth). Tickets available now through Destroy All Lines.