In terms of metal evolution, few phenomena have left as indelible a mark as Guitar Hero did on a generation of metal enthusiasts. DragonForce‘s renowned axe-wielder Herman Li recently sat down with Metal Hammer, and during the interview, he reminisced about the seismic impact this rhythm game had on the metal scene during the 2000s and early 2010s.

Li spoke fondly of the game’s influence, and highlighted its pivotal role in catapulting both metal and DragonForce into the limelight: “Guitar Hero was very important for metal – not just for DragonForce, but all guitar-driven music.”

“With guitar music, the waves come and go; it’s popular, then it’s not popular, and it’s hard to say why. But Guitar Hero definitely got a young generation to hear guitars, and gave them a choice actually, between what they hear on the radio and what they don’t hear on the radio. Tim Henson [of Polyphia] is an example from that generation; he played Guitar Hero as a kid, and now he’s a guitar hero himself!”

So all that fame meant a big paycheck, right? Nope. Li once revealed on his TikTok that the band only got paid around $3,000 for the use of the track… and that’s before splitting the money between band members and management.

“How many millions of dollars did I get? Well, I’ll tell you this. Guitar Hero actually only paid a one-off fee to use the song. So [it was] less than $3,000. Maybe even less.”

Li said that even though Dragonforce didn’t get paid much, the exposure was huge for the band. “At that time, guitar music wasn’t really that popular,” later adding “Letting the audience hear our music and decide if they like it or not was really special, because we definitely don’t play music that fits the radio. You’re not gonna hear seven minutes of shredding melodic metal on the radio.”

For DragonForce, the game was more than just a cultural phenomenon; it was a platform that propelled their music to new heights. Tracks like “Through the Fire and Flames” became legendary within the Guitar Hero community, known for their blistering guitar solos and challenging gameplay.

Other anthems from the band, such as “Fury of the Storm,” “Operation Ground and Pound,” “Heroes of Our Time,” and “Revolution Deathsquad,” further solidified DragonForce‘s presence in the game and cemented their status as icons of the extreme power metal genre.

Here’s to Guitar Hero – the game that shredded its way into the hearts of millions and helped change the landscape of metal music for the better.

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