They've been called "speed metal", "Nintendo metal", "extreme power metal", and "those [expletive] [expletives] with their [expletive] impossible mother[expletive] solos" (the latter nomenclature bestowed upon them by poor bastards trying to five-star "Through the Fire and Flames" on Guitar Hero 3). They have not, to anybody's knowledge, ever been called "subtle". In any case, DragonForce have elevated the outlandishly complex, hyper-technical breakneck-speed guitar solo -- or what comedian Patton Oswalt referred to as "squibbly-flabbly-doo" -- to an absurd extent, making it the metal of choice for Red Bull-addled teenagers deep into the 12th hour of their all-night Super Smash Bros. Brawl marathon. This year's Ultra Beatdown is no different -- well, except for the unprecedented inclusion of a song that lasts less than five minutes (don't worry, it's just a bonus track). Herman Li and Sam Totman continue to make Yngwie Malmsteen sound like a shoegazer, ZP Theart belts out lyrics that'd do anime end-credit themes proud, Vadim Pruzhanov adds some synthesizer for that special epic boss-fight flavor, and the bassist resigns himself to being almost entirely vestigial. Ridiculous? Maybe, but it sure as hell doesn't hold back. With Turisas; Powerglove. All ages.
Fri., Dec. 12, 7 p.m., 2008