• Cheeseballs crank it past 11.
While it seems impossible that power metal behemoths Dragonforce could actually ramp up the guitar pyrotechnics, hyperactivity and soaring vocals of tertiary full-length Inhuman Rampage, the prodigious quintet has done it again. Raging forth with tenacity, the eight songs that comprise Ultra Beatdown are an extraordinary blast of melody and flair hampered only by a modicum of cheesiness — even by their standards. Kicking in with seven-minute opus “Heroes of Our Time” and wailing through standouts “Heartbreak Armageddon” and “A Flame for Freedom,” the album is packed with dynamic (albeit long-winded) bouts of operatic dramatics, intertwining intricacies and excessive speed.
Still, even with this rampage of technical mastery, there is a circus sideshow element to Ultra Beatdown. It refuses to relent, becoming almost ridiculous by the halfway mark. The term modesty clearly doesn’t exist in the Dragonforce vernacular. Because of this, the album can wear down the listener, relegating Ultra Beatdown to something non-metal geeks or Guitar Hero fanboys would only spin to gawk at.