DragonForce: Extreme Power Metal in Vegas with Dance With The Dead & Starkill

The British power metal band, DragonForce is out on tour in support of their recent September release, Extreme Power Metal, and on this leg of their tour they brought along Dance With The Dead and Starkill to Vinyl Las Vegas inside the Hard Rock Hotel, and I had the pleasure of covering the show.

As I entered Vinyl Las Vegas it was obvious that this crowd was here to see the headliner. The line at their merch table held a steady flow throughout the night, hardly slowing down during the openers’ performance. Looking around at the people rolling into the club it is hard to believe that DragonForce has been around for twenty years. That’s longer than a lot of these people have been alive! There is a simple explanation for this fact, and it has to do with video games. One of DF’s most popular songs, "Through The Fire And Flames", has been used in video games such as the massively popular Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, and Brutal Legend. DF has always had a connection with video games and gamers, using retro gaming sounds in a lot of their music and deriving inspiration from video game themes, especially those in the fantasy realm. Looking around the crowd it looked more like a gaming convention than a heavy metal concert, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the majority were wearing DragonForce t-shirts, I would have thought I was in the wrong place.

American melodic death metal band, Starkill, had the honor of being first to take the stage and warming up the crowd. Out of Chicago, Starkill released their first studio album in 2013, Fires of Life, and has since released three more including their 2019 release, Gravity. Starkill is Parker Jameson on lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards, and programming, Tony Keathley on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Shaun Andruchuk on bass, Sarah Lynn Collier on vocals, and touring member John Terry on drums. In all honesty I had never heard of Starkill before they showed up on a list of shows that my editor was interested in covering, and I’m always one for checking out a new (to me) band so I pulled up their music on Spotify while reading up on their FaceBook and Wikipedia pages, and in no time at all I was very interested. Their set, understandably, leaned heavily on their new album with four of their seven songs from Gravity. Their newer music has evolved from their first album, Fires of Life (2013), to a more melodic sound with th