• Misael Ruiz

Dragonforce and Friends at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California

Dragonforce announced their first USA tour in two years. Before that, their last tour was March 2020 when the world shut down due to the pandemic and that tour was cut short because of that. Now that the world is slowly recovering, it's time for bands to get back on the road and deliver beautiful music to their loyal fans. For this tour, they brought back Visions of Atlantis from the previous tour and newcomers Seven Spires. A package like this was not to be missed and should be seen by all metalheads. The first stop on the tour was the Observatory in Santa Ana, California. What a way to start the tour than with a packed venue to show the bands that they were happy to hear live music again. The band to start the show was Seven Spires. They're a metal quartet from Boston, MA. In 2021, they released their third album, Gods of Debauchery. The already packed venue was talking amongst themselves when the lights went out and the fans started cheering. Three of the four members made their way to the stage to start the instrumental beginning to Wanderer's Prayer, the first track from the new album. Not too long after, the band's lead singer Adrienne Cowan came out and the band was now complete. Their music easily makes you wanna bang your head and raise your horns. Cowan proves herself to be a great singer. She alternates between siren-like vocals and death metal growls. The rest of the band played their music to perfection without missing a note. The rest of their setlist included songs from their second and third album. Song like Gods of Debauchery (https://youtu.be/_O7LUgm9JKw) and the live premier of Oceans of Time gave the fans plenty of metal to let loose to even on a Monday. With a short setlist, their performance came to an end with Dare to Live. Their set ended and fans responded positively to their performance as they had surely made themselves plenty of new fans. The show was just getting warmed up and already things were looking promising.

Visions of Atlantis are a symphonic metal band from Austria. In 2019, they released their seventh album, Wanderers. On May 13, 2022, they will release their eighth album titled Pirates. The first single titled Legion of the Seas has been released along with a music video (https://youtu.be/NN7eGh86-WQ). The lights once again went out and the fans once again cheered as the members of Visions of Atlantis came out one by one with vocalists Michele Guaitoli and Clémentine Delauney being the last two. The band members were dressed in traditional pirate clothing to fit the theme of the upcoming album. They started the show with Master the Hurricane, one of the songs from the upcoming album. Visions of Atlantis played some beautiful music and the duet between the two singers was the cherry on top. Visions of Atlantis treated the fans to plenty of new music like Melancholy Angel and Clocks. They also played fan favorites like Return to Lemuria and The Deep & the Dark. The show came to an end with the new single, Legion of the Seas. The band said their goodbyes, then left the stage. Only one band was left which was the headlining band of the night.

If you're in the metal scene, then chances are you know the name, Dragonforce. Dragonforce's popularity skyrocketed when their signature song Through the Fire and Flames was released on the 2007 video game, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. In 2019, they released their eighth album, Extreme Power Metal. In 2019, it was announced that longtime bassist Frédéric Leclercq would be leaving Dragonforce in order to join thrash metal legends, Kreator. Dragonforce would then recruit Alicia Vigil who fronts her own band, Vigil of War. As of February 2022, she is the new permanent bassist of Dragonforce. The stage was set for the arrival of Dragonforce with the stage having lots of props. starting with two huge arcade machines and a big dragon behind the drum kit. The lights turned off once more and the now super packed venue screamed the loudest scream of the night as the intro to Highway to Oblivion (https://youtu.be/Rn5CsAs798I) started. Singer Marc Hudson went up on stage and started singing the song as guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman stood up on top of the arcade machines. Once the song got going, cannons fired off confetti into the crowd and a mosh pit broke out in the middle of the floor, naturally. Dragonforce was off to a great start with an energetic performance. Li and Totman shred away with extreme precision and their guitar work sounded amazing. After a blistering start, the show continued with the fan favorite, Fury of the Storm. Instead of confetti, the fans were this time treated to CO2 cannons. For the third song, Hudson asked if they were familiar with the video game, Skyrim. The third song was based off that game and it was called The Last Dragonborn. One of the highlights of the night was when Hudson took some time to talk to the audience and asked them if they liked video games. Most of the crowd cheered and agreed. Being that there were two arcade machines, Hudson went on top of one, grabbed a guitar and played guitar covers of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Final Fantasy VII. The fun didn't stop there. Li came out next and insisted that everyone's favorite game was Farming Simulator which was apparently the most popular game in Germany. Totman came out dressed as a farmer complete with banjo to play a banjo cover of the theme song, but he wasn't alone. He had two guests with him and those guests were Kiki Wong from Vigil of War and Scott Carstairs from Fallujah. A very comedic moment in the show. Dragonforce kept up the speed and energy as they shred through classics like Black Fire and Cry Thunder. Dragonforce announced the last song of the night and with that, announced a song from their first album which was Valley of the Damned. Dragonforce left the stage and all was quiet for a few minutes. After a small break, Dragonforce came back for a couple of encores. The first encore was the final song on the newest album which is hilariously a cover of My Heart Will Go On from Celine Dion. It's a song you have to hear to believe and the audience had no problem moshing to it. For the show's grand finale, it was obvious what the last song would be. Many people most likely broke their guitar controllers to this song. It was none other than Through the Fire and Flames. The song started and fans went ballistic. This song never gets old whether you're listening to it live or the studio version. Dragonforce finished up their show, thanked the audience and left the stage for the final time. This is a show to not miss and should be seen by anyone and everyone who loves live music. The tour is still going strong so catch them if they come near you!


Photos and review by Misael Ruiz


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