Ultra Beatdown

Last updated

Ultra Beatdown
Dragonforce - Ultra Beatdown.jpg
Studio album by
Released26 August 2008 (2008-08-26)
RecordedNovember 2007 – April 2008
StudioThin Ice Studios, Surrey, LamerLuser and BATMAM Studios, London
Genre Power metal, speed metal
Length58:11
69:15 (Special Edition)
76:39 (Japanese Edition)
Label Roadrunner, Spinefarm
Producer Karl Groom, Herman Li, Sam Totman
DragonForce chronology
Inhuman Rampage
(2006)
Ultra Beatdown
(2008)
Twilight Dementia
(2010)
Singles from Ultra Beatdown
  1. "Heroes of Our Time"
    Released: 4 July 2008
  2. "The Last Journey Home"
    Released: 21 January 2009
  3. "Reasons to Live"
    Released: 15 June 2009

Ultra Beatdown is the fourth studio album by English power metal band DragonForce, released on 20 August 2008 in Japan through JVC and on 26 August 2008 worldwide through Roadrunner Records [1] and Spinefarm Records. [2] Ultra Beatdown is the last studio album to feature ZP Theart on vocals and the first one to feature Frédéric Leclercq on the bass guitar.

Contents

Overview

On 4 July 2008, the first single from the album, "Heroes of Our Time", was posted on their MySpace profile. [3] On 8 July 2008, the music video for Heroes of Our Time was released onto their MySpace profile. The songs "Heartbreak Armageddon", "The Fire Still Burns" and "A Flame for Freedom" were all played on 106.1 Rock Radio during an interview with ZP Theart on 15 July 2008. [4] On 14 August 2008, the album was made available for pre-order in the DragonForce official web store. On 18 August 2008 the album became available for streaming on the band's MySpace page.

The music video for "The Last Journey Home" premiered on the Xbox Live Network on 21 January 2009. [5] Frédéric Leclercq announced that they may release a live DVD in 2009–2010. [6] This did not happen however, though in September 2010 a live CD was released titled Twilight Dementia .

Ultra Beatdown is the final album featuring lead vocalist ZP Theart and the first album to earn the band a Grammy nomination.

Sound

Before the release of Ultra Beatdown, the band members were interviewed upon the topic of the album's structure and deliverance. Totman, Theart and Li all generally stated that the sound of Ultra Beatdown would not very much differ from their previous records but would improve in some categories.

It's not going to be majorly different. But hopefully the melodies will be nicer, the guitar solos will be better, the production will be better. You just try to improve in every area.

Sam Totman, [1]

There isn't much to change, but yet there is. The last three albums have been very much guitar-oriented, and this one probably will be as well, but I want to try to do some extra colouring in with the vocals.

ZP Theart [1]

Bands always say, 'Our new album is faster and heavier,' and then it's never true, so we're not gonna say that. But playing fast just works for us. People who say we play too fast are probably right, but guess what? There's a million other bands that play slow. People listen to DragonForce and go to the show because they know that we're doing something other bands aren't doing.

Herman Li, [1]

Touring and support

The first round of DragonForce's Ultra Beatdown World tour started on 25 September 2008 in The Zodiac, Oxford with Turisas. The US/Canada tour also includes Powerglove. The band toured almost constantly up until April 2009 in several countries with support by Dååth and Cynic. They had planned to carry out their world tour to Latin America in May 2009, but delayed their arrival to November 2009 due to the swine flu epidemic as well as "exhaustion" according to what Herman Li stated in an interview.

The band had planned to release a live DVD in summer 2009 but instead released a series of videos entitled "DragonForce TV" which showed the band on tour as well as pro-shot footage of their performances at Graspop 2009 and Loudpark 2009. It also featured backstage footage of the band rehearsing and just hanging out. The rumoured DVD was never released due to lack of time when the band was touring. The DragonForce TV: Season 1 footage was uploaded during a break before the next-to-final leg of the tour in Latin America and North America. However, to make up for the false DVD, the band recorded the audio from every show on the final leg of the Ultra Beatdown World Tour to release the best cuts on a live compilation album. Herman Li stated in a 2010 interview regarding the album:

"The idea was to record every single show from the last leg of the tour, so we could pick the best take of each song without needing to do any overdubs in the studio; keeping the whole thing ‘LIVE’ like all the classic live metal albums.

"These recordings really capture the raw sonic energy of a Dragonforce show in fine detail. It is so real that you can hear the noise of the crowd and experience the show as it was that night – you can even hear the guitar pedals being stepped on!"

The album's official announcement was made on 22 June 2010. Titled Twilight Dementia , it was released in September 2010.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic 77/100 [7]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [8]
Alternative Press Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [9]
IGN Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [10]
Metal Hammer Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [11]
Now Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [12]
PopMatters Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [13]
Sputnikmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [14]
Thrash HitsStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [15]

The song "Heroes of Our Time" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, losing to Metallica's "My Apocalypse". [16] On 28 August 2008, the album charted at No. 9 in Japan [17] it also entered the Australian charts in the first week of September at No. 19 [18] and in the same week at No. 18 in both the UK Albums Chart and the Billboard 200. [19]

Initial critical response to Ultra Beatdown was generally positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 77, based on 8 reviews. [7] Both AllMusic and Alternative Press [9] gave it four and a half stars out of a possible five. AllMusic gave it an "AMG Album Pick" and, in the opening sentence of the review, likened the band to a juggernaut: "Look up the word "juggernaut" in the dictionary and you may just find Dragonforce's photo alongside the definition. Not only does it aptly describe the nature of their hyperkinetic "extreme power metal," but also their vertiginous ascent from utter music community obscurity to new media, errr...juggernaut, when their breakthrough single, "Through the Fire and Flames," became first a YouTube sensation and later a keystone of the Guitar Hero video game phenomenon". [20]

Track listing

The ultra edition physical copy of the album contained a bonus DVD with the music videos for "Heroes of Our Time" and "The Last Journey Home", as well as videos The Making of Ultra Beatdown and The Making of the E-Gen Guitar.

No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
1."Heroes of Our Time"Totman7:13
2."The Fire Still Burns"
Totman7:50
3."Reasons to Live"
  • Li
  • Totman
6:25
4."Heartbreak Armageddon"
  • Totman
  • Li
  • Li
  • Totman
  • Leclercq
7:40
5."The Last Journey Home"
  • Totman
  • Theart
Totman8:12
6."A Flame for Freedom"TotmanTotman5:20
7."Inside the Winter Storm"
  • Totman
  • Theart
Totman8:11
8."The Warrior Inside"
  • Totman
  • Li
  • Theart
  • Pruzhanov
  • Totman
7:14
Total length:58:11
Ultra and special edition bonus tracks
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
9."Strike of the Ninja" (Cover of "Feel the Fire" by Shadow Warriors)
  • Totman
  • Theart
Totman3:18
10."Scars of Yesterday"
  • Totman
  • Li
  • Theart
  • Pruzhanov
  • Leclerq
7:46
Japanese bonus track
No.TitleLyricsMusicLength
11."E.P.M." (Extreme Power Metal)
  • Leclerq
  • Totman
  • Li
Leclercq7:24

Note: On special and ultra editions of Ultra Beatdown, the length of The Warrior Inside is 7:44 as there is a 30-second gap of silence before Strike of the Ninja.

Personnel

Band members

Guest musicians

Production

  • Karl Groom – mixing, engineering
  • Mike Jussila – mastering
  • Android Jones – artwork
  • Matt Read – graphic design
  • Frank Strine and DragonForce – collage photos
  • Paul Harries – photos
  • Steve McTaggart – management
  • Josh Kline – agency representation (North America, with the Agency Group USA Ltd.)
  • Paul Bolton – agency representation (United Kingdom, with Helter Skelter Agency Ltd.)
  • John Walsh and Bruce Reiter – tour management
  • Penny Ganz – legal representation (P Ganz & Co. London)
  • Mark Howe – business management (Entertainment Accounting International Ltd.)
  • Ron Zeelens – visa paperwork (RAZco Visa's, New York)

Charts

Chart (2008)Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA) [18] 19
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) [21] 62
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) [22] 25
French Albums (SNEP) [23] 119
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) [24] 28
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) [25] 50
UK Albums (OCC) [19] 18
US Billboard 200 [26] 18

Release history

RegionDateFormatLabelCatalogue #Notes
Japan20 August 2008CDVictor EntertainmentVICP-64299All bonus tracks [17]
United States26 August 2008CDRoadrunner1686-179372 [27]
United States26 August 2008LPRoadrunner1686-179371Free download coupon
United States26 August 2008CD, DVDRoadrunner1686-179378Special edition [28]

The album was set for release first in Japan on 20 August 2008 [29] then on 22 August in Germany [30] and the day after, on 23 August, in Australia[ citation needed ] before being released in the United Kingdom on 25 August and globally the following day. [29]

Related Research Articles

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DragonForce are a British power metal band from London, England. The band was formed in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman, and are known for their long and fast guitar solos, fantasy-themed lyrics and retro video game-influenced sound. DragonForce's current lineup comprises Li, Totman, vocalist Marc Hudson and drummer Gee Anzalone. The band have been through a number of lineup changes throughout their career; longtime members in vocalist ZP Theart, keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov, drummer Dave Mackintosh and bassist Frédéric Leclercq are among the former members of the band.

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