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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Dragonforce & Power Quest

Dragonforce & Power Quest, The Globe Cardiff

Dragonforce and Power Quest's histories go back a long time and have intertwined since then. When the opportunity arose to see both bands in one place I jumped at the chance. Both acts most recent albums are very good I knew that we'd get strong sets from each band and with no opening act elongated ones at that. Heading into the venue it was clear that this gig was 'sold out' the 350 person venue was packed to the gunnels meaning our photographer had to fight her way through the masses to get to front.

As the room started to get nice and sweaty the intro music hit and Power Quest (8) took to the stage one by one, obviously the loudest cheers were for founder member Steve Williams and Welsh guitar wizard Glyn Williams (ex-Triaxis) but all of the band were rapturously applauded as they launched into their set. Power Quest have always delivered excellent power metal built on the traditional British metal foundations and bringing in the European sound that features heavy keyboards from Steve giving the huge symphonic edge to Kings And Glory and Magic Never Dies. In the back room Rich Smith is a whirlwind beating the heck out of his kit as fill in bassist Bradley Edison brought the low end.

The crowd were jumping and singing along with the songs, even the ones from the most recent record which was only going to be officially released the day after this gig. Leading the crowd was vocalist Ashley Edison (also of Dendera, with brother Bradley) he's an ideal frontman commanding the stage with his energy and his insane vocals that I'll always liken to Michael Kiske in his Helloween heyday, he's certainly the most entertaining frontman Power Quest have had, air-guitaring along with Glyn and Andy Kopczyk who's synchronised shredding and soloing was a wonder to behold. They threw down a sizable gauntlet for the headliners to pick up, I urge you to head down to Fuel Cardiff at the end of the month to see a full headline show from them as they are probably the most vital they have been in their career.

On to the headliners, now I've seen the London based 'extreme power metal' band a fair few times, starting with the Sonic Firestorm tour. I've witnessed nearly all their line up changes and in many different arenas, however this was probably the worst showing by the band I've seen. Reduced to a five piece for this tour the lack of keyboardist Vadim proved to be a real bummer as the synths were heavily toned down meaning that Herman Li and Sam Totman's guitars were ramped up in the mix, this ultimately led to their downfall for me as it seemed that the volume increased with every song so that the drumming, bass and vocals were all eventually drowned out.

Now I realise this is a metal blog and there is the an old adage of "if it's too loud, then you're too old" but this was too loud, I mean ear splitting volume, people around me who had earplugs were complaining of the same issue. The music got distorted to the point of not being able to hear Marc Hudson's vocals and at certain times he couldn't hear himself falling a little too flat once too often.  it's a shame as they played some really deep cuts and the new songs fit better with their older material than anything else they've done with Hudson, it's just the overall presentation and noise level was too distracting. It seemed as if Li and Totman were just messing around on stage a little too much (it's bee a long standing tradition that these two are the real stars of the show) but with the chicanery and loudness they were trying to push the tolerance of the crowd.

As things progressed the set was broken up by a guitar solo of video game tunes from bassist Fred I left before permanent hearing loss crept in and the guitar nerds really started to salivate. I'm going to sound like a hipster here but I was a Dragonforce (5) fan before Guitar Hero and it seems that now they are trying to appease these newer fans rather than those in it for the music. Not the best show I've seen from them, they seemed out of sync on this showing I hope this was a one time thing as personally I'd love to see them back at their best.

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