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Guitars are for "show." "Bass and drums are for "go." The rhythm sections drives a band. The longer they play together, the better. Bands that have personnel changes on bass and drums often dig a hole for themselves.

Herman Li and Sam Totman's twin guitar attack, ZP Theart's dramatic vocals and Vadim Pruzhanov's keyboards are Dragonforce's most recognizable elements. But each of the group's three albums has had a different bassist. '03 debut "Valley Of The Damned" had Diccon Harper. A year later, for "Sonic Firestorm," Adrian Lambert played bass. He left in '05 to raise his son. "Inhuman Rampage," released in January of '06, saw Dragonforce dispense with a permanent bassist using Frederic Leclercq for shows.

Meanwhile, drummer Didier Almouzni played on the debut but was replaced by Dave Mackintosh on "Sonic Firestorm" and beyond. At least he stuck around.

Interestingly, Dragonforce is a global band. Li hailed from Hong Kong. Totman was born in England but moved to New Zealand at an early age. At age nine he started his musical training on classical guitar. Pruzhanov, born in the Ukraine, began his musical training, on piano, a year younger than Totman. Like his bandmates Mackintosh was another child prodigy starting on drums at age eight. As for Theart, he has been singing as long as he can remember attacking everything from Blues to Thrash Metal.

The group formed in '99 and originally called themselves DragonHeart. Turns out, there was a Spanish group with the same name. So rather than hire lawyers to fight trademark disputes they became Dragonforce, which sounds better for a Metal group.

Dragonforce Discography

Dragonforce is both dramatic, thanks to Theart and Pruzhanov, and surprisingly melodic. "Valley Of The Damned" is a solid start but "Sonic Firestorm" is far better with "Fury Of The Storm." Lyrically dark but not real dark, songs "Soldiers Of The Wastelands" and "Prepare For War" impress. There's even an arena ballad, "Dawn Over The New World " which is far better than "Starfire," from "Valley."

"Inhuman Rampage" is another solid effort, though not as compelling as "Firestorm." Still. "Through The Fire And Flames" is a powerful dose of Speed Metal.

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