Personnel: Marc Jacob Hudson (vocals, background vocals); Fr‚d‚ric LeClercq, Herman Li, Sam Totman (guitar, background vocals); Vadim Pruzhanov (piano, keyboards, background vocals); Dave Mackintosh (drums, background vocals); Clive Nolan, Emily Ovenden (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: DragonForce; Karl Groom.
Recording information: Lamerluser; Thin Ice Studios; X-OR Studios.
Arrangers: Fr‚d‚ric LeClercq; Herman Li; Sam Totman; Vadim Pruzhanov.
Power metal champions DragonForce's fifth studio album, The Power Within, is the first outing to feature new vocalist Marc Hudson, who replaced ZP Theart in 2010 -- Theart's split with the group was blamed on "insurmountable differences of musical opinion." If it was Theart's opinion that the band should explore new sonic territories, then he was wise to leave, as The Power Within certainly doesn't deviate from the likeable yet generic fantasy-metal foundation that the group has been building on since 2003's Valley of the Damned, but with that said, when it comes to crafting melodious, impossibly expeditious mini-epics that blend radio-ready pop melodies with the double bass drum-powered cacophony of neo-classical heavy metal, DragonForce truly wields the mightiest broadsword. Like Theart, Hudson can belt out inane lyrics like "Steel of our brave hearts trapped inside in frozen illusion" with blistering conviction, and cuts like "Fallen World," "Cry Thunder," and "Seasons" feel musically purposeful as well, firing off enough Iron Maiden/Helloween-inspired guitar and keytar harmonies to bring down an entire army of marauding Orcs. Like all DragonForce albums, The Power Within is to be taken at face value (pretty much every song is about fighting for what you believe in), and while it may lack the dark, muscular, apocalyptic machismo that permeates the majority of metal's subgenres, it's more often than not a hell of a lot of fun. ~ James Christopher Monger