Herman Li Says Dragonforce’s Biggest Song is ’Nothing Special,’ Reacts to People Saying Their Songs ’Sound the Same’

Recently, Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li chatted with Metal Sucks, discussing the band’s work and his musicianship. Well-known as a virtuoso and one of the most impactful metal guitar players, Herman and his band are still mostly associated with their biggest song, “Through the Fire and Flames.” When asked about this piece and what was the “special sauce” that made it so big, he replied:

“Well, that track is not special, funnily enough. It’s a very typical DragonForce song. So, the fact that it’s so well love is pretty funny. Because if you like that kind of music, then you should like every DragonForce song from the first three or four albums.

“On every album, we have songs with that signature sound and arrangement, but there was something about that song that was a hit. I think it was simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time in people’s lives. I can’t say there’s anything that I thought made that song special; it just happened that way.

DragonForce - Through The Fire And Flames (Live)

“I think we have better songs from that same album or the one before or after, but people liked it because it was part of their childhood and their lives. When Guitar Hero III came out, that song was so big that it’s become a part of people’s lives now and forever.

“And now it’s continuing as a meme song on the internet, and I’m happy about that. I love the song and appreciate what it’s afforded us, but I don’t think it’s our best song.

Next year, Dragonforce will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album “Valley of the Damned.” When asked about the record and what he thinks of it almost two decades later, he replied:

“I can say this until I’m blue in the face and tell people otherwise, but people always seem to say that we sound the same as the first album to this day. They tell me, ‘Oh, this new song sounds the same as the first album,’ and then there are people who say, ‘I don’t like the new stuff because every DragonForce song just sounds the same.'”

DragonForce - Valley of the Damned (Official HQ)

“But the fact is that you can see obvious evolution with our recordings, and if you listen to metal and understand this kind of music, you’ll realize that. We’re better musicians now and better performers on stage.”

“We still play some of the songs from ‘Valley of the Damned;’ on the last tour, we played several songs from the first album, and we always will. But honestly, there are big changes that have come with time from us playing them and growing as musicians.”

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“But if you look back, my playing on Valley of the Damned was not nearly as good as I play now. I guess you could say everything on there is a bit worse when you compare it, but that’s how it’s meant to be, right? If you don’t get better over time, you’re wasting your time.”

Photo: Sven-Sebastian Sajak (Nova2013 DragonForce Herman Li Sam Totman 0001)

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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