HERMAN LI Explains How DRAGONFORCE Ended Up Partnering With NAPALM RECORDS For Next Studio Album

In an interview with EMP conducted at last month’s Summer Breeze festival in Dinkelsbühl, Germany, DRAGONFORCE guitarist Herman Li spoke about the band’s recent announcement that it had signed a new record deal with Napalm Records. Regarding how DRAGONFORCE ended up partnering with the Austrian label, Herman said: “We took the band VISIONS OF ATLANTIS on tour with us, and the guy from VISIONS OF ATLANTIS, the drummer [Thomas Caser], actually works at Napalm Records. And he saw how cool we were, and he thought, ‘We’ve gotta sign DRAGONFORCE.’ I ignored for him for, like, almost two years, like, ‘Ah, whatever. I don’t care. I don’t need a record label.’ And then it ended up these guys are pretty fucking awesome. So I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it together.’ Yeah.”

Li also addressed DRAGONFORCE singer Marc Hudson‘s recent revelation that the band’s follow-up to 2019’s “Extreme Power Metal” album was “basically finished.” Herman said: “Don’t listen to the rumors, man. Here’s the truth: it’s not finished. And even if it’s finished, I can’t tell you because then we don’t have a press release to say it’s finished.”

Last month, Hudson told Heavy Debriefings about the status of DRAGONFORCE‘s next LP: “I’m actually going into the studio probably tonight to finish off some stuff. But, yeah, we’ve been working on an album for a while now and, obviously, trying to play some shows in between. We’ve got a few festivals. We just did one last weekend, and then we’ve got one this weekend. Then obviously the big tour [in the fall]. So, yeah, we need to basically finish all that up. We’ve basically finished everything. It’s just a case of like polishing the final product and then hopefully playing some of the songs — well, we definitely will be playing the songs on the next tour, so [we’ll be] learning a new setlist and all that stuff.”

Formed in 1999, the London, U.K.-based unit has captivated audiences worldwide with its highly successful records and iconic singles, including the platinum-selling anthem “Through The Fire And Flames”. Renowned for their epic compositions, DRAGONFORCE‘s signature lies in their masterful and lightning-fast guitar solos, brilliantly crafted by the virtuosic duo of Li and Sam Totman. Comprising Hudson, bassist Alicia Vigil, and drummer Gee Anzalone, the five-piece ensemble draws inspiration from a myriad of heavy metal styles, fantasy realms, and video games, blending 1980s rock influences with infectious sing-along choruses and uplifting melodies.

Last month, DRAGONFORCE announced the North American headline leg of a world tour. Featuring special guests AMARANTHE with additional support from Napalm Records labelmates NANOWAR OF STEEL, as well as EDGE OF PARADISE, the tour will begin on October 20 in Mesa, Arizona. After visiting many major cities across the U.S. and Canada, the tour will culminate in a grand finale in Los Angeles, California on November 19.

Last November, DRAGONFORCE released a music video for the song “The Last Dragonborn”. The track is taken from “Extreme Power Metal”, which came out in September 2019. Produced in Los Angeles, California by Damien Rainaud at Mix Unlimited, the LP was also recorded, in part, on Li‘s livestream channel on Twitch with participation from the fans.

“The Last Dragonborn” was the first DRAGONFORCE music video to feature Vigil, who first joined the band as a touring member in January 2020.

DRAGONFORCE‘s platinum-selling single “Through The Fire And Flames” brought the London-based Grammy-nominated extreme power metal group international acclaim and was featured as the most challenging song on “Guitar Hero III”.

In March 2019, the “Through The Fire And Flames” music video reached a new milestone: it surpassed one hundred million views on YouTubeDRAGONFORCE‘s first music video to do so.

“Through The Fire And Flames” is the leadoff track from 2006’s “Inhuman Rampage” album, which was officially certified gold in July 2017 by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for sales in excess of half a million copies.

In August 2019, DRAGONFORCE parted ways with longtime bassist Frédéric Leclercq. He has since joined German thrashers KREATOR.


Herman Li – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Sam Totman – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Marc Hudson – Vocals
Alicia Vigil – Bass, Backing Vocals
Gee Anzalone – Drums, Backing Vocals

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

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