|Released|| Japan: August 20, 2008|
Global: August 26, 2008
Thin Ice Studios, Surrey
LamerLuser & BATMAM Studios,
65:42 (Japanese Bonus)
69:25 (Special Edition)
76:49 (Special Editon & Japanese Bonus)
|Label||Roadrunner, Universal, Spinefarm|
|Produced by||Karl Groom, Herman Li, Sam Totman|
Ultra Beatdown is Dragonforce's fourth album, released August 20, 2008 in Japan through JVC and on August 26, 2008 worldwide through Roadrunner Records and Universal Music. On July 4, 2008, Ultra Beatdown's first single, "Heroes of Our Time", was posted on their MySpace profile. Four days later, on July 8, 2008, Heroes of Our Time's music video was released onto their MySpace profile. The album's songs "Heartbreak Armageddon", "The Fire Still Burns", and "A Flame For Freedom" were all played on 106.1 Rock Radio during an interview with the band's lead singer, ZP Theart on July 15, 2008. On August 14, 2008, Ultra Beatdown was made available for pre-order in the DragonForce official web store. On August 18, 2008, the album also became available for streaming on the band's MySpace page. Also, the album's songs, The Fire Still Burns, Reasons to Live, and Heartbreak Armageddon are featured in METAL INVASION 25 podcast, also Heroes of Our Time being featured in METAL INVASION 24. Ultra Beatdown features DragonForce's excessive use of electronic sounds in the album's songs, especially E.P.M., and Heroes of Our Time.
Prior to Ultra Beatdown's release, the band's shortest recorded song, (excluding "Invocation of Apocalyptic Evil", the 14-second instrumental intro track of the band's Valley of the Damned album) was the song Dawn Over a New World, also being one of the band's least popular songs, (Sonic Firestorm), which clocked in at 5:13. This honour now goes to the Special Edition track Strike of the Ninja, which is 3:18. This song also holds the honor being the very first and, currently, only unedited song recorded by the band with a length of less than five minutes, although due to it being a re-recorded version of "Feel the Fire" by Sam Totman's side project, Shadow Warriors.
"Reasons to Live" was released as a single on July 2, 2009, almost a year following the release of "Heroes of Our Time". In 2009, when DragonForce was live at Graspop, ZP Theart performed while wearing a cowboy hat.
The album is so far the only DragonForce album to be released in a vinyl LP format.
"It's not going to be majorly different. But hopefully the melodies will be nicer, the guitar solos will be better, the production will be better. You just try to improve in every area." - Sam Totman
"There isn't much to change, but yet there is. The last three albums have been very much guitar-orientated, and this one probably will be as well, but I want to try to do some extra colouring in with the vocals." - ZP Theart
"Bands always say, 'Our new album is faster and heavier,' and then it's never true, so we're not gonna say that. But playing fast just works for us. People who say we play too fast are probably right, but guess what? There's a million other bands that play slow. People listen to DragonForce and go to the show because they know that we're doing something other bands aren't doing." - Herman Li
Ultra Beatdown was set for release first in Japan on August 20, 2008 then on August 22 in Germany and the day after, on August 23, in Australia before being released to the United Kingdom on August 23 and globally the following day.
The album's opening track "Heroes of Our Time" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance, losing to Metallica's "My Apocalypse". On August 28 2008, the album charted at #9 in Japan it also entered the Australian charts in the first week of September at #19 and in the same week at #18 in both the UK Albums Chart and the Billboard 200.
Initial critical response to Ultra Beatdown was generally positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Ultra Beatdown has received an average score of 77, based on 8 reviews. Both Allmusic and Alternative Press gave it four and a half stars out of a possible five. Allmusic gave it an "AMG Album Pick" and, in the opening sentence of the review, likened the band to a juggernaut.
- 1. Heroes of Our Time, Lyrics: Totman, Li, Music: Totman, Length: 7:13
- 2. The Fire Still Burns, Lyrics: Totman, Theart, Music: Totman, Length: 7:52
- 3. Reasons to Live, Lyrics: Li, Totman, Music: Vadim, Totman, Leclercq, Length: 6:25
- 4. Heartbreak Armageddon, Lyrics: Totman, Li, Music: Li Totman, Frédéric Leclercq, Length: 7:42
- 5. The Last Journey Home, Lyrics: Totman, Theart, Music: Totman, Length: 8:15
- 6. A Flame For Freedom, Lyrics: Totman, Music: Totman, Length: 5:20
- 7. Inside the Winter Storm, Lyrics: Totman, Theart, Lyrics: Totman, Length: 8:11
- 8. The Warrior Inside, Lyrics: Totman, Li, Theart Music: Pruzhanov, Totman, Length: 7:14
- 9. Strike of the Ninja (Special Edition Bonus Track) Lyrics: Totman, Theart, Music: Totman, Length: 3:18
- 10. Scars of Yesterday (Special Edition Bonus Track) Lyrics: Totman, Li, Theart, Music: Pruzhanov, Leclercq, Length: 7:49
- 11. E.P.M. (Japanese Bonus Track) Length: 7:24
Special Edition DVD:
- "The Making of Ultra Beatdown", Length:' 15:16
- "The Making of the E-Gen Guitar", Length: 9:35
Total Length: 24:51
- E.P.M. stands for "Extreme Power Metal"
- On the Special Edition of the album, there is a 30-second pre-gap between The Warrior Inside and Strike of the Ninja.
In the regular and special edition of Ultra Beatdown, a booklet comes with the album. In the regular edition it contains a chart of pictures, song lyrics (as well as in the lyrics, stating the writers of the music and lyrics of each song), line-up listings and other additional information.
Special Edition BookletEdit
The booklet's cover, is the same as the album cover art of the regular edition of Ultra Beatdown. Ther is four additional pages (13 - 16) in the booklet included in the Special edition of Ultra Beatdown, containing the lyrics page of Strike of the Ninja (page #13), and Scars of Yesterday (page #14). It also included a band image (#15, #16).
ZP would like to mention the following people: Saranntastic; Jolly Robertch; Pierre; Diccon; Relisia; Yster; Melissa; Ricci; Jakie; Jerry; Pete; Didier; My family; Ma; Pa; Etienne; Tanja; Markus; Luan; Barry(Grassy Hill)Hunter & PK; Tom & Ann O'Brien; Joolie; McT; Mole; John; Stewie; Bruce; Skitch & Family; Shaggy; Ally; Allen; Sonia; Andrea; Liggi Lou; GT; Fran(24 dollars)(nipple man)Strine; Chucky; Kyle; Jim; Brian; all the cool people we had the opportunity to tour with; everyone I mentioned on the last records and everyone I may forget this time around. A big shout out to our crew; and a massive wail for our fans, you guys keep this band's heart pumping! Here's to many more wild nights and crazy parties! See you all out there!
Vadim would like to thank: Igor Pruzhanov, Tatyana Pruzhanova, Clive Nolan, Jay Agudelo, Joe Bothamley, Katie Bruce, Hayley Codd, Biz Denton, Kate Etteridge, Stella Ferguson, Kay Frimley, Sabira Hud, Nick Knowles, Kirsten Lane, James Plummer, Hazel Savage, James Sharrock, Sami Westwood, Turkish Meal Studios and others I may have forgotten to mention.
Dave would like to thank: My family, Dave, Marlene, Julie, Karen, Davey, Abigail, Liz, Ragnhild and family. The Emerald sky family: Sioby, Ceara, Aislinn, Sean and Elaine, Rob(aka KOAG), Ian, Mark, Tony, Kenny. I simply would have failed without all your help, thanks! And of course all of you fans, many thanks!
Fred would like to say hi & more to the following: Sophie (I love you!) and my parents for their support and understanding; MaxPENico: MALADAPTIVE; toues mes amis à Charleville; Allen and all @ ESP...I was lucky enough to meet tons of interesting, clever, funny and/or talented people over the last 2 years, it would be horrible to start listing them 'cause I'll end up forgetting to mention YOU or YOU or even YOU. Instead here's a list of words / expressions that will bring smile on some friends' faces: "American Fred / Bella! / I came to defeat you / we suck / Chunk! / IFF / Sake / Wakakakak / theTruth / Ascenceur / der Friedrich / ze bus / KHTZ / Attack / cheerz matey / fish & chips / your mum". That's it. Bye!
Sam doesn't want to thank anyone because it's gay!
Herman's list for period January 2006 - June 2008: Mike Taft, Rob Nishida and everyone at the Ibanez - Hoshino USA in L.A. and Philadelphia. Chris Hirayama, Happy Yoshida and everyone at Hoshino Gakki, Japan for making the best guitars in the world. Larry DiMarzio + Steve Blucher and everyone at DiMarzio Inc for the pickups - second to none! Bob Waller - Rocktron, Hugh Gilmartim & Steve Lobmeier @ D'Addario/Planet Waves, David Ellefson & James Dunkley >>> Peavey, Mark Menghi - Samson Technologies, Darryl Wood @ Organ Works, Scott Uchida 4 Dunlop, Anthony Gordon: Digidesign, Leo Crabtree & Headstock Dist, Roger Smith + Source Audio, John Ferrante, Paul Muniz -> Digitech, Jenn Plonski for Korg USA, Lew @ Tour Supply NY, James Edlund of Telex Pro Audio Group, Tim McKee at Mesa Boogie, Paul Smith of PRS, Doug Doppler, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Branko Stefanovic, all my instructors and training partners at the Roger Gracie Academy and everyone on the DF list.
DragonForce sends special thanks to the following friends: Karl Groom and Clive Nolan at Thin Ice Studios. Cees Wessels, Jonas Nachsin, Madelyn Scarpula, Chris Brown, Dave Rath, Charles Dooher, Jon Satterley, Jessica Ricci, Amy Sciarretto, Harlan Frey, Tom Hefter, Mark Abramson, Austin Stephens, Ray Garcia, Sarah McKenzie and MichelleKErr, Austin Collins, Sami Westwood, Danielle Sammeroff and Jim Tattersall at Roadrunner Records, London. Iain Snodgrass, Dante Bonutto and Kate Farmer at Universal Music, London. Ryuji 'George' Takeno, Seigo Horiuchi, Tak Furiuchi and Aya Ohi at JVC Music, Tokyo. Riku Paakkonen, Nelli Ahvenlahti, Hannu Lehtonen and Sami Tenetz at Spinefarm Records, Helsinki. Rose Slanic and Dean Pogue at Roadrunner Records, Toronto. Wally van Middendorp and Kathy Sheasby at Roadrunner Records International, Holland. Thorsten Koenig, Sven Kilthau-Lander, Milijana Gojic, Thijs Mantel and Tim Wermeling at Universal Music, Berlin. Nora Partizpanian and Karine Sancho at Roadrunner Records, Paris. Bob Stevenson at Roadrunner Records, Australia. Andy Copping at Live Nation England, Thorsten Schauf at MLK Berlin, Onta at Creativeman Tokyo, Craig Armstrong at Scorpio Entertainment Australia, John Reese & Kevin Lyman in the USA, Denis Slepushkin, Pete Smirnov and Alexey at Spika Russia and all our promoters around the world, too many to mention here but thanks a lot! Rod Smallwood, Nick Robinson at at BMI London, Ron van Hal, Martin Haxby, Alexis Grower, Tim Borror, Declan Morrell & Rod Kotler at EMI Music New York, Zoe Godden, Wolfgang Rott, Leah Peterson, Marcus Skinner, Richard Royuela, Eberhard Kohler, Steve Busch at Myspace, Simon Rickman at Eva Air, Frank Strine, Alien Creation web design, Android Jones, Paul Harries. Inhuman Rampage Tour Crew: Kyle Sabel, Carl Acampora, Bruce Reiter, John Walsh, Stuart Murray, Adriano Sérgio, Dave Davies, Justin Garrick, Colin Clarkson, Richard Ehmcke, Laura Burton, Peter Dempsey, Greg Winn, Jeff Singh, Oliver Voges etc.
The bands we had a good time with on the Inhuman Rampage World Tour and some more: Sabaton, Protest the Hero, Sanctity, Black Majesty, Between the Buried and Me, Lacuna Coil, Atreyu, Strapping Young Lad, All That Remains, Horse the Band, Firewind, Freedom Call, Vanishing Point (band), Shadows Fall. Anyone we missed out, we actually did it on purpose. HAHA!
Herman uses Ibanez E-Gen guitars, DiMarzio HLM pickups, D'Addario strings, Rocktron Preamp, effects and MIDI pedals, Mesa Boogie amplifiers, Peavey speaker cabinets, Source Audio Hot Hand, Digitech Whammy pedals and Dunlop picks.
Sam uses Ibanez STM guitars, DiMarzio pickups, Peavey amps and lots of booze.
Dave uses Tama Starclassic drums, Roland electronics, Paiste cymbals, Civ Firth sticks and Evans drum heads.
Fred uses ESP guitars, Rocktron effects, Peavey amps, Samson mics & equipment, D'Addario strings and Mister Fof.
Vadim Pruzhanov uses Korg Keyboards.
Management: Steve McTaggart for McT Management, England.
Business Management: Mark Howe for Entertainment Accountancy International, London / Rob Shore and Kay Kaur for LL Business Management, New York.
Agency Representation: Paul Bolton for Helter Skelter, London / Josh Kline for The Agency Group, New York.
Legal Representation: Penny Ganz for Ganz Legal, London.
A&R Director: Mike Gitter for Roadrunner Records, New York.
Tour Management: John Walsh & Bruce Reiter.
Tour Technicians: Kyle Sabel, Adriano Sérgio, Stuart Murray, Dave Davies.
Travel Agent: Vicky Leviten for Media Travel, London.
Visas: Ron Zeelens for RazCo Visas, New York
Insurance: Health Currie for Arthur Doodson Insurance, Manchester, England.
All songs arranged by Sam Totman, Herman Li, Frederic Leclercq, Vadim Pruzhanov, ZP Theart.
All songs published by EMI Music Publishing, Inc.
THE 'FORCE' ZP Theart - Lead and backing vocals Herman Li - Guitars, backing vocals Sam Totman - Guitars, backing vocals Frédéric Leclercq - Bass, backing vocals Vadim Pruzhanov - Keys, Theremin, Kaoss Pad, backing vocals Dave Mackintosh - Drums, backing vocals
Studios: Thin Ice Studios, Surrey UK. LamerLuser & BATMAM Studios, London, UK.
Mastering: Mika Jussila, Finnvox Studios, Helsinki, Finland
'Cover Art: Android Jones, San Francisco, USA
Graphic Design: Matt Read, Universal Music, London, UK
Collage Photos: Frank Strine and DragonForce
Photos: Paul Harries
Touring and supportEdit
The first round of the band's Ultra Beatdown World Tour started on September 25, 2008 in The Dodiac, Oxford with Turisas. The US/Canada tour also includes Powerglove. DragonForce toured almost constantly up until April 2009 in several countries with support by Dååth and Cynic. The had planned to carry out their World Tour to Latin America in May 2009, but have delayed their arrival to November 2009 as a result of the Swine Flu Epidemic as well as "exhaustion" according to what Herman stated in a recent interview. The band plans to release a live DVD in Summer 2009.
- ZP Theart - Vocals
- Herman Li - Guitars, backing vocals, producing, mixing, engineering
- Sam Totman - Guitars, backing vocals, producing, mixing
- Vadim Pruzhanov - Keyboards, piano, theremin, Kaoss pad, backing vocals
- Dave Mackintosh - Drums, backing vocals
- Frédéric Leclercq - Bass, backing vocals, additional rhythm guitars, and Acoustic guitars
- Clive Nolan - Guest backing vocals, additional keyboard
- The Japanese edition of the album is referred to as the "Ultra Edition".
- The video game sounds are are used more in this album than any of their other albums.