DragonForce lays waste to SPB

The British extreme power metal band DragonForce, best known for guitar riffing that seemingly defies the laws of motion, landed in St. Petersburg last night.

My friend Anton took this video of some cuss word-laced between-song banter on his cell phone.  Skip to the end to hear singer ZP Theart speak-sing “This song is called ‘Soldiers of the Wastela-a-a-a-a-a-nd” in a true metal frontman’s full-throated warble.

I have to hand it to the band; they were one of the most active acts I’ve ever seen, bounding across the stage as if they were playing on a multi-level expanse LiveAid, not the rinky-dink, glorified podium in Club Orlandina.  Dynamic guitar duo Herman Li and Sam Totman, the force behind the YouTube hit and Guitar Hero III song “Through the Fire and Flames,” wore out every inch of that stage, climbing the monitors like kids on playground equipment.

Visually, it was “potryasayushii” — “stunning.”  DragonForce’s biblically proportioned sound, however, was just too overwhelming for the mere-mortal metal club.  All the intricate fluttering of the guitar solos and melodies was lost in the chiming din, and keyboards only emerged in rare moments of calm.  It wouldn’t have been bad if the band had a more dynamics built in to the roaring squall, but that will have to wait until the next album, when they will hopefully have settled into a more peaceful middle age.  Probably the only time I’ve actually wished that on the band.

As you can here in the video, Theart had a good time cussing and manhandling the crowd, at one point pulling a Moses move and parting the tide of people for a yelling match.  The Russian fans were clearly miffed by the scattershot brio of his stage banter, which was further confused by profligate use of expletives and a slight Scottish lilt in his British accent, but nevertheless got the picture after a few bright ones picked up on his hand-gesturing.  During a lull in the action, someone even gave it right back to Theart with a cheerful “Fuck you!”

Check out the concert preview I did after an interview with Ukrainian band member Vadim Pruzhanov for the St. Petersburg Times.

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