British epic power metallers DRAGONFORCE will release their new album, "Maximum Overload", on August 19 in North America via Metal Blade and August 18 in Europe through earMUSIC, the Hamburg, Germany-based international rock label which is part of Edel Group. The CD was recorded at Fascination Street studios in Örebro, Sweden with Jens Bogren, who has previously worked with OPETH, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, AMON AMARTH, KATATONIA, SOILWORK and SYMPHONY X, to name a few. It marks the band's first-ever album involving an outside producer, having historically opted to record themselves in association with Karl Groom.
"Working with Jens gave us a different perspective on the songs and a different sound dynamic," said DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li. "We always previously recorded in our own studios, but recording in Sweden made us focus and maybe drove us harder. Jens certainly did; he doesn't believe in days off!"
He continued: "The album title and album cover artwork is inspired by the constant bombardment of information we are subjected to during our daily lives.
"We were in an airport departure lounge surrounded by TV screens, flight information screens and advertising screens. We then looked around and no one was saying a word, they were all looking at more screens on tablets, laptops and mobile phones. There's no escaping it; it's complete information overload!"
"Maximum Overload" will be released on standard CD, standard digital version, special edition CD with five bonus tracks and a bonus DVD, special edition digital version (same bonus material as special edition CD), and vinyl. The effort features a couple of surprises, notably a guest appearance on some of the songs from TRIVIUM's Matt Heafy.
"We've always gotten on really well with the TRIVIUM guys and it was great when Matt had a couple of days to spare and agreed to weigh in on some of the songs," said DRAGONFORCE bassist Frédéric Leclercq.
"Maximum Overload" also features an all time first for DRAGONFORCE... a cover version! Guitarist Sam Totman explained: "Just before the last Australian tour, our manager suggested it might be interesting to do a cover for the next album, something we've always refused even to consider. Because we had all had a couple beers, every bandmember wrote down three songs each and we compared them all, just for a laugh. I wrote down 'Ring Of Fire' by Johnny Cash, an idea which the rest of the band loved, so we've DRAGONFORCE-ized it."
"Maximum Overload" is the follow-up to 2012's "The Power Within", which was the band's first with vocalist Marc Hudson. Since his live debut with the group in July 2011, Marc has gone on to front over 100 shows with DRAGONFORCE in 32 countries across the globe, including arenas with IRON MAIDEN as well as a mammoth headlining world tour to support the CD.
A demo version of a new DRAGONFORCE song called "Defenders", featuring a guest appearance by TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy, can be streamed below.
In a 2013 interview with Bring The Noise, Leclercq stated about DRAGONFORCE's forthcoming CD: "We've always been recording in the U.K. and this time we decided to have an external producer, so we've been working with Jens Bogren; he's been working with OPETH, Devin Townsend, and he's been great so far. He's been putting in a lot of input in and it's great, it's been very cool."
He continued: "I've been co-writing everything with Sam this time. Usually Sam will do most of it, and then I would contribute to some songs, or we do more harmonies sometimes. This time I've been working together with him, so there's more of me; expect something French, I guess! Well, I'm more into thrash metal and also prog [metal], so it's going to make the sound a bit more diverse."
Aked if he has noticed DRAGONFORCE head in a different musical direction since he joined the band, Hudson told Bring The Noise: "I'm not entirely sure that it's changed because of me, but I think 'The Power Within' and this next album are definitely different from the previous four. I don't know whether that's because of me, or because Fred is writing stuff. Obviously, my singing style is different to the old singer, so there's going to be some influence there, with the limitations and what I can do with my voice compared to him."
DRAGONFORCE will embark on a massive 20-date U.K. and Ireland tour in September under the strapline "….this time it's personal," alluding to the fact that instead of playing a handful of larger venues, the band is playing many shows geographically spread out across the country. Commenting on the nature of the tour, Herman Li said: "We did a tour like this in between the 'Sonic Firestorm' and 'Inhuman Rampage' albums and have wanted to repeat it ever since but couldn't because of touring commitments elsewhere in the world. This time we were determined to make it happen, so we're going to some cities we haven't visited for years and some we've never visited at all. One of the venues is a boat and one is a deconsecrated church! It will be great to see the fans up close and personal again. It's going to be very hot, very sweaty and great fun!"
"The Power Within" sold 5,800 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 74 on The Billboard 200 chart.