ragonForce was founded in 1999 by guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman under the original name of DragonHeart. Totman and Li were both formerly of heavy metal band Demoniac. The two later found vocalist ZP Theart via an advertisement for such; soon after another former Demoniac member Matej Setinc joined the team, along with bassist Steve Scott and keyboardist Steve Williams.
As DragonHeart they had released a demo, and toured with Halford and Stratovarius, as well as headlining their own shows. The name change occurred when they found another power metal band with this same name already existed, so in 2002 they renamed to DragonForce.
Setinc left the band in December 1999 to continue his studies in Slovenia, to be replaced by Didier Almouzni. The next year, the band also parted ways with Williams and Scott. Williams returned later that year but left once again by December 2000, days ahead of the band's tour with Halford and Stratovarius. Bassist Diccon Harper joined the band in November 2000 with keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov likewise joining in February 2001 to complete the line-up for recording their debut album, Valley of the Damned that arrived in 2003 on 'Noise Records'. Harper left before the release, however, in 2002 because of a tendon problem that required surgery. The title track, re-released in promotion of the album, however, is one of the best-known DragonForce songs to date and is a staple of their live performances to this day. The band's tour for Valley of the Damned lasted until 2004; ending in Tokyo, Japan.
DragonForce's second studio album, Sonic Firestorm, proved to be even more successful than their previous album, with the help of the album's lead single, Fury of the Storm. The album featured new bassist Adrian Lambert and drummer Dave Mackintosh. It was when Mackintosh entered the band in 2004 that they began referring to their style of music as "extreme power metal" due to his fast blastbeats and double bass rhythms.
Line up changes were frequent before settling with the six-man line-up that they would retain until the departure of Theart. The mainstream finally got wind of the band with their third album, Inhuman Rampage, released in January 2006 after signing with 'Roadrunner Records'. The first song on the album, Through the Fire and Flames, is perhaps their most famous song to date, and is featured on the video games guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, guitar Hero: Smash Hits and Brutal Legend, and as downloadable content for the Rock Band series. Lindsay Dawson, former frontman of Demoniac, appeared as a guest backing vocalist for the album. In November 2005, however, Lambert left the group to raise his newborn son, shortly before the album's release and was replaced with Frédéric Leclercq for the remaining of the Sonic Firestorm Tour; Leclercq later becoming an official member of the band in January 2006, and also featured in the music video for their second single from Inhuman Rampage, Operation Ground and Pound".
DragonForce toured with Disturbed and Slipknot during the inaugural Mayhem Festival in the summer of 2008. The band returned in autumn with the release of their fourth studio album, Ultra Beatdown. The album's lead single, Heroes of Our Time, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance December 2008, losing out to Metallica with their song My Apocalypse. A short version of Heroes Of Our Time also got featured in the video game Skate 2 and, the full version, in NHL 10.
February 22, 2010, the band re-released their first two albums, Valley of the Damned and Sonic Firestorm. Valley of the Damned included newly remixed and remastered tracks while both albums included bonus tracks, updated packaging and DVDs featuring live footage, commentary and more. Both albums were also released in a box set which featured a T-shirt, a card of guitar picks, and an inflatable guitar. March 2010, saw DragonForce part ways with Theart due to "insurmountable differences of musical opinion".
March 2011 saw DragonForce adopt their new vocalist and frontman, Marc Hudson. He had previous experience performing in a band, but was not a professional musician before joining DragonForce.
Maximum Overload (expected to arrive in August 2014), is expected to feature Trivium's Matt Heafy would make some guest appearances on the album. The album also contains a cover of the Johnny Cash song Ring of Fire. Although Mackintosh is on the album, he since left in June to be replaced him with former Braindamage and Kill Ritual drummer Gee Anzalone.
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DragonForce performing at the Victoria Hall, Hanley on December 1st 2009. Photo by: Balthazar.
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