DragonForce Maximum Overload

DragonForce Maximum Overload
So many technical metal bands seem to forget that metal was originally prefaced by "heavy" and play music that is anything but. They get lost focusing on playing ability and it becomes more a vessel for showing off than a natural consequence of the songwriting.

DragonForce were victims of this self-inflicted problem for much of their career, but the loss of vocalist ZP Theart mandated a switch in focus. While Marc Hudson's first effort on the mic, 2012's The Power Within, showed growing pains with the constrained vocals leading to constrained leads, the band turn that curse into a blessing on Maximum Overload. They match and enhance remarkable vocal strides with remarkable riffs, replacing the messy riff-raff that once cluttered the songs.

A heavier thrash (and occasionally melodeath) influence really helps bring about that titular overload, building on the band's traditional power metal, while still maintaining shredded solos that allow the band to keep one foot in the realm of technicality.

In the end, the album loses steam throughout, something that is only accentuated by all the potential bonus tracks. Sonically, it even occasionally slips into Super Mario territory, but what good video game doesn't have a ravenous reptile rear its ugly head here and there? (Metal Blade)