On an unseasonably cool summer evening, Dragonforce reached into infinity with their second Canadian stop on this tour – an intimate Toronto performance at the Opera House.
The recently released seventh studio album Reaching into Infinity is the third Dragonforce album to feature vocalist Marc Hudson and progresses on the Frédéric Leclercq / Sam Totman writing styles established on their last studio effort Maximum Overload. Keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov was noticeably absent at this show, having stepped back for a spell to spend time with his young daughter.
I missed Vadim’s keyboarding (and keytar) work this evening. I remembered reading about him stepping back for this album and tour cycle, but had forgotten about it until only five bodies walked out on stage for the first track – Frédéric Leclercq jumping up on the riser at center stage for the beginning of “Ashes of the Dawn”.
Dragonforce has long established that they can perform blistering fast riffs and solos – as far as I’m concerned they are untouchable in their class. What’s been great to see over the past few years is a conscientious effort from the band to work on material that adheres to more traditional genres of metal. As great as their early albums are – Reaching into Infinity and Maximum Overload are my favorite Dragonforce albums. Tonight was a showcase of the new material on Reaching into Infinity with over 50% of the evening being material from the album. Kudos to the band for delivering “The Edge of the World” live on stage. At eleven minutes long, it is their longest song to date and was a treat to see performed live.
Halfway through the performance, Gee Anzalone and Frédéric Leclercq delivered a lengthy free-form solo that felt a bit too long for my tastes. It featured Leclercq on a lead guitar, Marc Hudson on bass for a portion of the solo, and touched on material included on Street Fighter/Super Mario Bros. 2/Sonic the Hedgehog Green Hill, and was certainly interesting for these tidbits alone.
At almost two hours long, tonight’s performance was a total bargain at only $25. Seeing a Dragonforce show is always a bravura celebration of the genre of metal, tonight being no exception. Herman Li and Sam Totman can shred like no others. Along with Frédéric Leclercq, Marc Hudson and newest member, drummer Gee Anzalone, they all bring their amazing showmanship to every live show and leave the audience wanting more.
Ashes of the Dawn
Operation Ground and Pound
Curse of Darkness
Fury of the Storm
Guitar Solo / Drum Solo
Heart of a Dragon
The Edge of the World
Valley of the Damned
Ring of Fire (Merle Kilgore cover)
Through the Fire and Flames