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DragonForce 

Inhuman Rampage (Sanctuary)

This is one shredtastic power-metal album. Like a rocket launched straight from the heart of '80s Land (or Europe), DragonForce has stuffed every nook and cranny of this CD with guitar and keyboard solos, barely leaving room for high-pitched vocals declaiming about glory, struggle, "the flame of youth," and broken hearts. There's a token ballad to close the disc, and you can tell they're serious about their pain, because on that, they can't even bring themselves to solo. But other than that, it's solos, solos, and more solos, arpeggiated, squealing, and generally making Yngwie Malmsteen sound restrained.

Music this bombastic and theatrical may seem like a terrifying prospect to listeners weaned on the slow fumbling of stoner bands or the dissonant rumble-and-screech of death metal, but power metal has virtues no band concerned with being "real" could ever understand or equal. Abandon all preconceptions and slap this one into the player; its pummeling, lightning-speed riffs and rhythms will have you grinning and banging your head long before the first of its 1,000 guitar solos ends.

More by Phil Freeman

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