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Dragonforce & The Sword Live @ Billboard, Melbourne, Australia

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Armed with endless riffs, orange amps and a pounding drum beat, The Sword kicked off the night with one incredible set. Blasting through 45 minutes of heavy stoner rock and sounding like a cross between Kyuss and Black Sabbath, The Sword’s return visit to Australia shows their sound has grown to monstrous proportions. They just didn’t stop; riff after riff after motherf**king riff, they just kept delivering the goods and the crowd lapped it up. Most impressive. Being that this was indeed my 3rd time seeing them, I can safely say that this is one band who are always impressive. They have the songs and the sound to make them key players within the genre.

Dragonforce are completely the opposite end of the scale to The Sword but it didn’t matter. They came on stage on fire and began to tear the place apart. For those in the know, Dragonforce are known for their exceptional guitar playing. For those who aren’t yet familiar with the gaming experience that is Dragonforce (and yes, it is like watching Guitar Hero or something similar), let me let you in on what to expect from these power metallers from the UK. Guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman are machines on the fretboards. Their extended epic solos of speed and precision are enough to make any guitarist weep. They’re so fast and over the top that at times it doesn’t even seem real. At one time, both guitarists Totman and Li along with keytarist Vadim Pruzhanov and bassist Frédéric Leclercq all played each other’s instruments AT THE SAME TIME! It was amazing. They didn’t miss a note. The crowd was in awe and I couldn’t help but appreciate the efforts this band go to to put on a great show for their audience.

Power metal might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t fault that Dragonforce play it just as well as their peers. Whether the band is trying to outdo each other with their respective instruments or vocalist Marc Hudson is whirring you into a frenzy with note perfect wails, you will be entertained. Hudson commands you to chant along with him in a honourable nod to the founding fathers of british power metal, Iron Maiden. Hanging on to every word, the crowd did as their faithful leader asked them to and there were smiles right across the room.

Having never seen Dragonforce before and only knowing a few songs here and there, I was really impressed with their show. They brought it and they kicked serious ass for 90 minutes of high energy metal. A jolly good show.

Whilst Billboards was far from capacity, it didn’t stop the bands from delivering their all tonight. A great show by two bands who are both leaders in their chosen field, yet also both entirely different styles of music with an appreciation of each by all those that attended. A top notch night!

All photos by Scott Boelsen

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