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DragonForce was formed in 1996 from the remnants of the band Demoniac under the name of DragonHeart, but they changed their name to DragonForce before releasing any commercial albums due to possible issues with Brazilian band Dragonheart. Their career began with the publishing of their early songs on the first incarnation of, claiming the top of the site's heavy metal charts. The hit song "Valley of the Damned" reached over 500,000 downloads in the first few months. Two of the original members, Steve Williams and Steve Scott, left the band to form the power metal outfit Power Quest. Sam Totman also started a side project called Shadow Warriors featuring himself and ZP Theart. Sam has confirmed many times that Herman Li was not involved with Shadow Warriors.

he band's first successful song was "Starfire" off of their debut album, Valley of the Damned. It was most noted because it starts off with a light piano intro, which is atypical among DragonForce songs. DragonForce have released three albums and toured extensively while supporting Helloween, W.A.S.P. and Iron Maiden. Their 2005 tour in support of the Sonic Firestorm album included support from Angra and Mendeed during their passage through the UK. On October 28, 2005 bassist Adrian Lambert announced his departure from the band in order to focus more time on raising his young son[1] (Lambert later revealed in an interview that he had left due to musical differences with Herman Li and Sam Totman[citation needed]). Less than a month after Lambert's departure, on November 23, 2005, DragonForce were signed to Roadrunner Records in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia and New Zealand, who released their most recent effort, Inhuman Rampage on January 9, 2006. Lambert was replaced in 2006 by Frédéric Leclercq, who was made an official member after a performance on tour.

A master track of the song "Through the Fire and Flames" is featured in the video game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and is generally considered to be the most challenging track in the Guitar Hero series. The developers used the song to demonstrate the game at E3. After Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock was released, the band's music sales reportedly increased dramatically.