HOLY FORCE – Holy Force (2011)
Holy Force is a new band with a notable line-up founded by the Taiwanese guitar virtuoso Ango Chen, who already collaborated with none other than Mike Vescera (among others ex-Loudness and ex-Yngwie Malmsteen).
Furthermore also ex-Malmsteen best vocalist ever Mark Boals is aboard, completed by bass player Mike LePond, who is most known of his work with Symphony X and Paradise Lost, and drummer Kenny ‘Rhino’ Earl who has played in Manowar’s album The Triumph of Steel in 1992.
Two things standout immediately after a listen to Holy Force self-titled debut; of course the guitar talents of Chen, but the extraordinary voice of Boals is simply astounding. His range is jaw dropping, and even more remarkable is how long he can hold a note in the highest of octaves.
So it must be said, being able to have a capable guitarist playing alongside of a vocalist such as Boals is, there is little that a band can do wrong.
And for the most part, Holy Force does everything right.
The guitar riff heavy opening track, “Holy Force”, played alongside synthesizers, joins the furiously speed of the double bass drums. It is almost brings up the question: how exactly does a person move his feet so quickly? But it is better to digress from such a subject and just enjoy what is heard.
The moody, brooding “Breathe,” is colossal, “Seasons,” is where the signature Boals comes to life, for it is on this track that accurately showcases his multi-octave range.
Almost in the vein of the classic/metal approach of Artension’s keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij, the piano playing heard on “Sky Etude,” is beyond phenomenal.
“We Are The Warriors,” “Moonlight Fantasy,” “Wings of Forever,” Chasing the Dream” and “Emperor,” while all well played, perhaps are a bit much and almost over the top, do have images of sorcery, fantasy and the imagination of the listener can go wild, picturing themselves traveling into dark forests where mythical creatures reign.
And the also short instrumental “Waiting,” again with some excellent synthesizers and the neo-classical shredding of Chen, come together strong.
Heavy vocal harmonies open the closing track, “See You In The Future,” a pulsating, banner held high melodic metal outing.
Holy Force has released a strong contender in today’s melodic metal field.
Ranging from neo-classical power heavy tracks to more oriented hard rockers, all of them with good melodies and cleverly added keyboards, most hit the mark. In a time or two a few tracks sound similar to a song heard previously to it, but there is no escaping the talents of Mark Boals.
As has been already stated, he is one of the world’s best, and with this band Boals has found the perfect platform that better fits to his style. The Ohio-born monster vocalist hasn’t lost an inch of his power and really shines here, his best recording in years.
Guitar player Ango Chen certainly acknowledges his reputation with fluid and versatile solos and riffs, very melodic but angry when needed, and also proves to be a skilled keyboardist. The bass work of Mike LePond is stunning (especially as that heard on “See You In the Future”), while the drumming is precise and tight.
Very well produced and mixed, “Holy Force” is a convincing and entertaining album in this genre, and a new opportunity to listen again the great Mark Boals pipes.
01 – Holy Force
02 – Flying
03 – Breathe
04 – Seasons
05 – A Country Good or Bad
06 – Power Of Life
07 – Sky Etude
08 – We Are The Warriors
09 – Moonlight Fantasy
10 – The Wings Of Forever
11 – Chasing The Dream
12 – Emperor
13 – Waiting
14 – See You In The Future
Mark Boals – Vocals
Ango Chen – Guitars, Keyboards
Mike LePond – Bass
Ken ‘Rhino’ Earl – Drums, Percussion
BUY IT !