DragonForce - Valley Of The Damned

Disc I
01. Invocation Of The Apocalyptic Evil
02. Valley Of The Damned
03. Black Fire
04. Black Winter Night
05. Starfire
06. Disciples Of Babylon
07. Revelations
08. Evening Star
09. Heart Of A Dragon
10. Where Dragons Rule [Japanese bonus]

Disc II [Remixed and Remastered Edition Bonus DVD]
+ Valley Of The Damned: LIve Performance, Japan 2004
+ Backstage Footage
+ Video Interviews
+ Behind The Scenes
+ In-Studio Video Footage
+ Video Commentary

DragonForce have come a long way from their first album titled "Valley Of The Damned" but this was where the success started. Its easily their fastest album overall and usually the most widely accepted. The album kicks off with pace and fury (apart from the 13 second intro) with songs Valley Of The Damned, Black Fire, and Black Winter Night. The first two are arguably their two favoured tracks off the album, and are always played live. Black Fire is the fastest song to date they have written, which gives you an idea just how fast this song is!

We then follow up with a ballad "Starfire." They have quite eccentric ballads actually, not your common Power Metal ballads; see, with DragonForce, I picture holding a lollpop, and dancing under a gleaming rainbow of endless happiness… ok no I don't but it does remind me of something from the 80's, perhaps an old Power Ballad.

This is where repetition starts as the next 5 songs are really not all that different; DragonForce seem to be plagued with that burden of repetition. The songs one by one are not actually terrible, but played as a whole, it justs gets too boring, I can only seem to get through around three DragonForce tracks at a time before I get bored.

Herman Li and Sam Totman are wizard guitarists and that is evident through all songs on the album. What I don't like is the endless aura of solos… you hear a solo for one minute thinking, gosh, that was a good solo - two minutes later you're thinking the same thing, with a few yawns. What about a solo that's lasts a week? No not that much, but it feels like it, believe me. The drumming is another point I have to note. In any given standard Power Metal song drummers are known to use the double bass in parts, perfectly normal - in DragonForce they use it ALL the time!!!

The album is unfortunatly one of the worst produced albums I have heard, their songs sounded far better in the DragonHeart days, even on the demo. The artwork, however, is quite good, and stands out.

Pros: Speed, Melody, Heaviness, Cover.

Cons: Production, Repetitive, Solos, Ballads.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 5

Band profile: DragonForce
Album: Valley Of The Damned


written by Dark Cornatus | 06.06.2006

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by

I originally got this cd as a data cd with mp3s and b sides. But after listening to the mp3s and B sides I decided this band is worth buying the cd. I have placed an order off the internet to buy this cd. I was simply amazed at the skill, and talent displayed by DragonForce.

The first track like most power metal cds available these days begins with an intro. A Very short 13 second intro, that quickly brings you into the 2nd track.

published 12.02.2004 | Comments (2)


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Hyvaarin - 06.06.2006 at 09:31  
I largely agree, but I'd say the drums are perfect. They're insanely fast and pounding, but they're not as mechanical as the drums on the last two albums. That point aside, a very good review .
ThunderAxe1989 - 12.06.2006 at 18:35  
Where Dragons Rule? omg i've seriously never ever heard ov that song, i must hear!
Bas - 15.06.2006 at 13:35  
i certainly wouldnt call DragonForce´s drumming perfect, not at all, actually i´d say it gets boring very fast, the guitars, thats the talented point of the band, certainly not the drums

and i also think the review is quite nice, i agree with almost everythign you wrote
Baz Anderson - 25.08.2006 at 14:01  
i dont think the production is that bad
the album does get a bit repetetive though
Dark Cornatus - 26.08.2006 at 11:28  
Written by Baz Anderson on 25.08.2006 at 14:01

i dont think the production is that bad
the album does get a bit repetetive though

I think its probably one of the most poorly produced albums ive heard, there are alot of others, but this one stands out to me, probably also because i heard their demo first, which was perfect.
TheSlaughter - 06.09.2006 at 05:30  
Production? I listen to Xasthur, so I couldnt care less about the production... however...

I noticed you commented about the Solos... i think Dragonforce is a band based entirely on solos... so If they didnt have as many as they do, they would suck and sound just like any other power metal band.

ps. good review.
Dark Cornatus - 06.09.2006 at 10:32  
@Slaughter: That is true about the solos, but i still think it can be avoided the way they use them, perhaps cut them shorter etc. Or insert a bridge into the music structure.
Talvi - 02.01.2007 at 18:59  
This band is quite horrendous. And imo they should rate much lower on originality... playing faster isn't more original.
Dark Cornatus - 02.01.2007 at 21:27  
Written by Talvi on 02.01.2007 at 18:59

This band is quite horrendous. And imo they should rate much lower on originality... playing faster isn't more original.

Thier originality comes with their guitar work, Herman Li's solos are one of a kind and the twin guitar work between them both is a trademark with Dragonforce, Iron Maiden did it, but it was more like Daves solo, Adrians solo kind of thing, DF blends it into one solo, if that makes sense haha.
I was agree i rated it a little high, perhaps an 8 or high 7.

As for deing horrendous, couldnt agree more, this album was alright, not great, but listenable, but the next two were so shit for me.
RavenLord - 03.01.2007 at 18:40  
I wholeheartedly agree. Although DragonForce get you quickly with the speed, it quickly wears off. After getting into them, my reactions went something like this;

'Holy shit, this is amazing! How the fuck can they play so fast?! And listen to the solos. That's phenomenal!'

Some time later
'Okay, another DragonForce song. Hey, this one seems to have the same basic structure...and it's really cheesy. But, hey, cool solo! ^_^'

Roughly 5 weeks later
'God, this is boring.'

The good songs on here are very good (VotD, Black Fire, Disciples of Babylon), and if you take them singly, DragonForce would be a half-decent band. Unfortunately, they then give you rendition after rendition of this one basic song...*shudder*.
Dark Cornatus - 03.01.2007 at 21:40  
exactly man, your thoughts are the same as mine.
Bitch Boy - 04.01.2007 at 01:47  
I agree with you, but I think that the production is bad if compared to the two others, but it's still not that bad. The grade is very accurated.
Noel Sonic - 05.07.2007 at 16:45  
High Speed,High Skill, Extreme Power Metal......It's Greaat because of the skill and melody.But its composition...is not good enough indeed.
Ellrohir - 18.09.2009 at 11:28  
Old good times of DragonForce
JÄY - 03.03.2010 at 23:47  
I realize that sometimes an album is great for me based more on emotion, than skill...because youre mostly all right and i agree with you....but this shit makes me feel gooood
Dark Cornatus - 04.03.2010 at 00:30  
I cant believe no one really agrees with the production being shit. It actually HURTS my ears to listen to it again! Its all high pitched, especially with the vocals.
Ellrohir - 04.03.2010 at 00:35  
So dont listen to it again and it wont be hurting your ears...
Dark Cornatus - 05.03.2010 at 01:11  
Written by Ellrohir on 04.03.2010 at 00:35

So dont listen to it again and it wont be hurting your ears...

Haha, but i like listening to the song Valley of The Damned!!!! But its painful at the same time!
Uirapuru - 19.05.2010 at 06:26  
I do like lots of cheese on my Power and Speed metal... but I did not like Dragonforce.

It just tires me, and all songs sound the same. Althou I do like the slower ballads like ''Starfire''.
Milena - 31.08.2011 at 22:24  
I think this album is a lot better than the later ones - I can actually listen to it

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