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DragonForce Played To Their Biggest NYC Crowd To Date!

On November 3rd 2023, DragonForce brought their Warp Speed Warriors Tour to the Big Apple where they played to their largest NYC crowd to date at one of New York's biggest underground venues; Palladium Times Square. Support came in the likes of Amaranthe, NanowaR of Steel, and Edge Of Paradise.

First up was Edge of Paradise. Edge of Paradise is a hard rock/symphonic metal band that was formed in Los Angeles, California in 2011. Its members currently consist of Margarita Monet (vocals), David Bates (guitar), David Ruiz (guitar), Kenny Lockwood (bass), and Jamie Moreno (drums). They’re known for their use of heavy guitars, mixing them with elements of industrial, classical, power metal, and creating addictive melodies to create this massively epic sound that’s considered ‘out of this world’. The icing on the cake though, is Monet’s wide, power earth shattering vocal range that leaves listeners mesmerized. Just recently, on October 20th they released a reimagined Smashing Pumpkins cover of "Disarm" in collaboration with production team, Judge And Jury and well known YouTube musician Caleb Hyles. The epic cover currently sits at #1 on Spotify with over 75,000 streams. Prior to this, they released their fifth studio album, Hologram on July 14th and its title track, “Hologram” has accumulated over 270,000 streams.

They kicked things off with "Soldiers of Danger", taken off their latest album Hologram. Right from the start, the band took the whole place to another world. With ambient guitar riffs and Monet's operatic voice, everyone was instantly amazed by the band's performance off the first few notes of the song alone. Right after that, Monet informs the crowd that they are "now going to step inside the 'Hologram'" and begin to play the album's title track "Hologram". Monet hit the high notes on this one, which I knew she could do on the track but hearing it live caught me completely off guard. I stopped for a brief second and just stood there in astonishment because of how she switched so smoothly from softly whispering the verse to just belting out the chorus with pure strength and emotion.

The next song they played was "This Is Personal", another banger track taken off of Hologram. Everything about this performance was indescribable. With Monet's rich, infectious vocal tone, spacey guitar solo from Ruiz, and tribal drumming from Moreno, I was still feeling like I was being transported from one world to another like I was exploring space. I turned to look at the crowd for a brief second and everyone at the front looked like they were in a trance. Monet thanked the crowd for coming out and even pointed out that she used to live in New York City so in a way, it was almost like a welcome home party for her.

The show stopped for a very brief second so Ruiz and Moreno could fix a piece of the drum set that fell apart. While this was going on, Monet encouraged everyone to stop by their merch set after to they could meet the fans and pick up a shirt. Ruiz took the mic briefly and said "and so we can also hire stagehands next time we're in town" which the crowd chuckled to.

Visually, Edge Of Paradise was on another level. Monet wore this dark, alien-like looking dress with a cape on it that she wove around a few times and Bates was wearing this big battle vest that shot green lasers up to the ceiling. At some points during their set, small amounts of fog was dispersed throughout the stage to give it a more mysterious feel. The lighting was dark, mainly purple or a dark reddish color, however it was used in a way that matched their sound and performance to set this mood that was so atmospheric and so spacey, you'd forget that you were in New York City and not in some other galaxy.

Edge Of Paradise is one of those bands where you don't just listen to them, you get immersed into them. I wouldn't say I'm a person that isn't easily impressed, however its very rare a band would pull me in and amaze me as much as Edge Of Paradise did. Their combination of many elements from multiple sub-genres of metal, complemented by Monet's incredible vocal range, helped them create this epic sound that creates their own universe and really made them stand out. I can't wait to catch them again, hopefully on a headlining tour of their own.


Next up was the Italian comedy metal quintet, NanowaR of Steel. NanowaR of Steel, which consists of Potowotominimak (lead vocals), Mr. Baffo (co vocals), Mohammed Abdul (guitars), Gattopanceri666 (bass), and Uinona Raider (drums), is a parody band that formed in 2003 in Italy. Their name is a pun on the power metal bands Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire, and are known for their aim to parody power metal bands that take themselves way too seriously, as well as poke regular fun at metal in general.

NanowaR of Steel was definitely the most hilarious set of the night. Before getting into it, all the members got on stage and Mr. Baffo turned around, bent over and faced his backside at the crowd while a voiceover played over the loudspeaker which introduced "NanowaR of Steel's continued mission to find the joke that no man has made before". This was a play on the "Where No Man Has Gone Before" phrase that was made famous from the Sci-Fi TV Series Star Trek. As soon as the voiceover ended, they kicked off with "Uranus" taken from their 2018 album, Stairway To Valhalla. I couldn't help but laugh at how they kept saying "Uranus" over and over again and I loved how the bridge was a complete parody of "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees.

I can respect their ability to not take themselves seriously at all when it comes to both their songs and their live aesthetic. You can tell just by looking at them they they have a lot of fun doing what they do live and it radiated off the crowd as they were having a good time singing and dancing along to their set. For the second song, "The Call of Cthulhu", from the same album, Potowotominimak came out in a Cthulhu costume while holding a giant phone. For the whole song he kept waving it around and would hold it up to his ear, trying to make it look like he was on call with someone but couldn't hear them and would pass it to the other members to see if they could hear. For the next song, "Il cacciatore della notte", he switched wardrobes again but this time, he came out in an owl costume and was dancing around the entire time, flapping his wings too during the phase "Barbagianni".

Even though NanowaR of Steel is a parody band and jokes around a lot, you can't deny their excellent performance as musicians. Especially Abdul who showcased insane guitar solos for almost every single song and the way Potowotominimak and Mr. Baffo bounced off each other vocal-wise worked flawlessly. While not the most serious band of the night, they were definitely the most amusing band of the night.


Next comes Amaranthe. Amaranthe is a metal band hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden that was formed in 2008. Its members make up of Nils Molin (co male vocals), Elize Ryd (co female vocals), Mikael Sehlin (unclean vocals), Olof Mörck (guitars), Johan Andreassen (bass), and Morten Løwe Sørensen (drums) and became known for their unusual blend of multiple genres of metal music ranging from metalcore, power metal, to melodic death metal and even pop metal. They are gearing up for the release of their seventh full length The Catalyst which is due for release on 2/23 of next year.

Before hitting the stage, an ”AMARANTHE! AMARANTHE!“ chant broke out, getting everyone hyped for the band’s performance. It’s clear that they have a massive following especially in New York for the crowd to start chanting their name so quickly. An epic classical piece played over the loudspeaker before the band took the stage. Right after the short piece ended they got right into it with “Fearless” which is off their 2020 album, Manifest. I have seen bands with multiple vocalists before but what really stood out to me was that they had 3 vocalist, one male, one female, and one doing uncleans/screams and the coordination between all 3 of them was completely on point. They bounced off each other so smoothly that they had my attention on them the entire time.

At one point in between songs, Molin told the crowd that for every city on this tour, they were testing to see what city was the loudest and that so far, Baltimore was the loudest city. The New York crowd did not take kindly to that as they booed probably louder than Baltimore cheered. At that point, New York was given the chance to one-up Baltimore and they let it all out, claiming the title of loudest city. The crowd then started chanting "NEW YORK! NEW YORK! NEW YORK!'.

They closed out their set with "That Song" and "Drop Dead Cynical" taken from the albums MAXIMALISM in 2016 and MASSIVE ADDICTIIVE in 2014 respectively. They started off "That Song" with a snippet of the beat to "We Will Rock You" by Queen to which fans recognized immediately. This song was definitely the poppiest one of the night which was a nice change of pace from the heavier stuff they were playing. The chorus was very infectious, having everyone singing along while clapping their hands at the same time while Mörk played a short but very attention-grabbing guitar solo. "Drop Dead Cynical" was a very bouncy and catchy song that everyone was clapping their hands to. I always felt it would be weird hearing electronic elements mixed with unclean vocals and heavy guitar riffs for something that's structured like a pop song but Amaranthe made it work magnificently.

Amaranthe was definitely a unique band, they were heavy, groovy, melodic, you name it. They had the ability to pull off metalcore style guitar riffs and mix them with symphonic, power metal vocals and complement them with pop, electronic, and rock elements which is not something you would see from your average power metal band. I can tell they are a band that doesn't want to stick to one style and it only makes me excited for what they can do next.


With all that said and done, now comes the main event; the mighty DragonForce. DragonForce is a power metal band from London, England and consists of members Marc Hudson (vocals), Herman Li (guitars), Sam Totman (guitars), Alicia Vigil (bass) and Gee Anzalone (drums). DragonForce became a force to be reckoned with since forming; with insanely fast guitar solos, fantasy-themed lyrics and overall sound that draws from old school video game influences, DragonForce have carved out their own style that separates themselves from the typical power metal band. Despite their already growing reputation, it wasn’t until the release of their most successful song, “Through The Fire And Flames”, the lead single off their third album, Inhuman Rampage, that the world would know who DragonForce really is. The song made its debut on the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as an unlockable bonus song and is considered one of the hardest songs to complete. The song, to this day, still sits at #1 on Spotify with over 226 million streams and peaked at #86 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2008 and has sold over 1.1 million copies in the US.

DragonForce is touring in support of their upcoming ninth studio album, Warp Speed Warriors which will be released on 3/24. So far only two singles have been released off the album, “Power of the Triforce” and “Doomsday Party”. “Power of the Triforce” currently sits at #3 on Spotify with over 360k streams.

The lights go out and the curtain drops; dark blue lights is all I see while over the PA, they played a score from the movie TRON: Legacy called "End Title" which was composed by Daft Punk. This was enough to get me and the crowd hyped up for what's about to come. The band begins to make their way on to the stage with Totman and Li standing on arcade machine on opposite sides of the stage. They begin to play a little guitar intro and then go right into the first song, "Revolution Deathsquad" off their third album, Inhuman Rampage. Right when the song starts, steam pops out and the lights come on. The whole band is playing and the adrenaline rush kicks in. I've never seen such an intense, scenic and visually pleasing performance before.

The next song they played was "Cry Thunder" from their fifth album, and first one with Hudson, The Power Within. "Cry Thunder" is a fan-favorite as the fans chanted during the chorus; "CRY THUNDER!" at the top of their lungs. I was singing along to every single word as its one of my personal favorites.

If there's one thing DragonForce is known for, is the insane guitar solos performed by Totman and Li. The chemistry between them both live and in studio is amazing. Watching them play their solos live, you can tell it isn't a competition on who can play the best guitar solo, but two incredibly talented musicians combining their skill to give the audience something they've never experienced before. During the solo for "Cry Thunder", both Totman and Li took center stage to do exactly that and all eyes were on them. Totman even played some sweep notes on Li's guitar while doing it on his own guitar as well. Mind you, Li was doing sweeps of his own as well. It was incredible seeing them pull that off without messing up a single note. I can't think of any other guitar duos that can do something like that.

As an avid gamer myself, I couldn't get over the stage design they had. The entire stage setup was inspired by old school video games. On opposite sides on the stage were two arcade machines that acted as platforms for Totman and Li to stand on. They featured arcade games such as Galaga, Rampage and Phoenix. Two mic stands were designed as swords, with the one left being the buster sword from Final Fantasy VII and the one on the right being a chainsaw sword from Warhammer 40K. DragonForce is band that's heavily inspired by retro video games so it was really cool seeing them convey it in this way. It even reminded me of my childhood, playing Final Fantasy on the PlayStation.

Hudson took some time to speak to the crowd and mentioned that the next show after was in Boston, New York's rival city. Instantly, the crowd broke out into a "BOSTON SUCKS" chant. Hudson replied with "I will tell them you said that tomorrow" which made the crowd laugh. They are actually playing in Worcester which is close enough to catch the performance twice for New Yorkers as its an hour outside of Boston.

The fourth song they played was "Power of the Triforce" which will be featured on their upcoming album, Warp Speed Warriors. The song is dedicated to the video game, The Legend of Zelda, specifically A Link To The Past which came out in 1991. For this song, the band threw stuffed chickens out to the crowd to toss around. Hudson instructed the crowd to throw the chickens around for the whole song and wanted all 3 of them back on stage by the time the song ended. He told the crowd that "the rules are this; don't stab the chickens, because that's what happened in Baltimore" getting a nice laugh from everyone. Hudson also pointed out that 5 shows in, they managed to get the chickens up to the balcony and proceeded to point to the upper areas on the sides, saying they had no choice but to participate and that if they didn't, he would tell Boston that New York sucks which for sure, got the fans riled up.

During the entire song, fans were throwing the chickens everywhere, from side to side, all the way to the back and just as Hudson requested, it even made it up to the balcony, a few times as a matter of fact. Everyone was having a fun time tossing the chickens around and all 3 made it back safely to the stage. If you've played Legend of Zelda before then you know the role of chickens in the game, and why you SHOULD NOT attack them. Hudson congratulated the crowd for getting all 3 chickens up to the balcony and the crowd responded with another "BOSTON SUCKS! BOSTON SUCKS" chant. Totman took to the mic to remark "I thought the English were bad at hating other towns, but you guys took it".

For this tour, DragonForce recruited a third guitarist and backup vocalist named Billy Wilkins whose actually from New Jersey. Li brought Wilkins up to the front and introduced him to the crowd. Wilkins was invited by DragonForce to go on tour with them after Li discovered him in 2021 doing a cover of "Through The Fire And Flames" which went viral on TikTok and has amassed over 17 million views. The crowd gave Wilkins a warm welcome and he thanked the crowd and the band for having him.

Li talked about how much he loved New York and that every time he plays here, he wants to live here. He told the crowd that the whole show was being filmed and that they had to get crazy for this next song in order to be captured on it. The next song was a parody song called "How To Sabaton" that he wrote live on Twitch which parodied Swedish power metal band, Sabaton. Li wanted some help on this one so he brought out Potowotominimak from NanowaR of Steel and Dave Davidson from Revocation. Totman put his guitar away and took up vocal duties for this one. Li instructed the crowd to say one thing in the chorus and that's "War! War! We Love The War!" to which the crowd repeated back instantly. The whole song was Potowotominimak and Totman marching back and forth chanting that one phrase over and over again while wearing army helmets. The crowd was clapping and chanting along for the whole song, it was easy to given that it was the same line over and over again, while Davidson played a guitar solo.

The next song was "Doomsday Party", another single off the upcoming album. The song really turned the show from a metal show, to a disco with colorful, flashing lights and the song's departure from the band's usual power metal sound to an 80's type beat. Even the pit turned into a dance floor.

Next up was "Valley of the Damned" taken from the band's debut album of the same name. Old school DragonForce fans were pleased to hear this as they sang along to every word and a massive circle pit broke out for it. I've always been impressed with how Hudson could hold his own when it came to DragonForce's older material and its great that he could pull them off just as good as former lead vocalist ZP Theart. Li and Totman continued to do their dual guitar solos which never gets boring to see live. Towards the end of the song; Li, Totman and Vigil did something I didn't think would be possible, all three members played each others notes on each others guitars at the same time. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was one thing seeing just Li and Totman do it, but seeing both guitarists AND the bassist pull that off, one can only wonder how long it took to practice that. It goes to show that DragonForce really is full of surprises.

Before the encore took place, a "DRAGONFORCE! DRAGONFORCE!" chant erupted. The curtain drops and we noticed a change of scenery took place. Two large dragon heads were placed on stage on opposites sides of the drums. The band takes the stage and with that, the encore begins with "Highway Oblivion". Everything from the instrumentation, to Hudson's epic vocals, to more of Li and Totman's solos was on point as the band pulled all the stops to wrap this show up.

The next song was a cover song, though, an unusual one. Li said its gonna be on Warped Speed Warriors and didn't care if the fans knew it or not, but that they were gonna go crazy for it regardless. He joke that the artist is a big DragonForce fan and it was actually a cover of "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. I wouldn't call myself a Taylor Swift fan but this was a fun song to watch them cover. It definitely wasn't the slow melodic sound the original song has but DragonForce took it and made it their own style and it worked brilliantly.

Now here we are, the moment every single guitar hero fan (including myself) has been waiting. Its not a proper DragonForce show without them closing with their most famous song, "Through The Fire And Flames". The vibes for this song was absolutely energetic. EVERYONE gave it their all, from the pit to the bands performance. The circle pit that formed before got bigger and more rowdy and fans started crowd surfing in masses to the front. I saw there were only three security guards up there so I hope they didn't have too much trouble catching everyone. The crowd sang along to every single word that Hudson sang and he even let them finish part of the first verse for him.

By the time the song reached the part where the solos took place, you just hear the whole crowd chant "WHOOOOAAAAA" and then Li, Totman, Vigil and Wilkins all hoped on the center platform for a solo jam where Li, Totman, and Wilkins all played their own respective guitar solos. After that, Li and Totman did one final guitar solo duo battle that lasted for a few minutes. Every time I hear those solos I think back to Guitar Hero and how impossible it was to complete the song on Expert. I couldn't even get pass the first few notes so I had to use a 'no fail cheat' just to see how bad the rest of the song was. Spoiler alert, it was worse. After the solos ended, Hudson took to stand on one of the arcade machine to sing the bridge and allowed the crowd to finish out the final chorus.

DragonForce has been growing rapidly in the US as of late and it has shown in their live performances. Their performance had everyone's attention as they did not want to miss a single thing. Whether it was the circle pit, crowdsurfing, jumping up and down, singing along, tossing the chickens around or just simply waving their hands, no one was standing still for them and how could you not with the energy radiating off of the stage? There are no words to describe how energetic, and chaotic they were and I can't wait to see them again sometime soon in the near future. Even if power metal isn't your thing, I promise you that DragonForce is definitely worth your time.


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