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Holy Force: Holy Force

Holy Force is the epynomous debut album by Holy Force which is a bit of a supergroup in a way, comprising members from prominent prog and power metal acts. The style on this album combines traditional metal and power metal, but strikes me as being more on the power metal side. The music is generally epic and melodic with catchy power metal style epic choruses and lots of neoclassical elements. Interestingly, while most of the band's members are, or have been, involved in more progressively oriented power metal acts, Holy Force's style doesn't strike me as being particularly progressive although there are the above-mentioned neoclassical elements and a 10/8 instrumental passage in 'A Country of Good or Bad'. The style is more anchored in European power metal and inherits things from that genre, some of which I like (like the energy and the catchy vocals) and some of which I do not like (like over-the-top neoclassicisms and a bit of cheesiness).

Being primarily the project of guitarist Ango Chen, there are of course guitar solos aplenty on this album, and they are performed in a classic metal manner with shredding and technical skill as well as feel and melodyc, and I really like classic 80s metal epic reverb/delay-filled sound that Chen uses on his solos. While the guitar is in focus, the other musicians are also woth noting, as Mark Lepond (of Symphony X fame) and Rhino (of Manowar and Angels of Babylon fame) constitute en incredibly solid rhythm section on bass and drums respectively, and vocalist Mark Boals (known for his work with acts such as Yngwie Malmsten, Royal Hunt, and Seven the Hardway) delivers a perfectly controlled vocal performance which suits the catchy vocal melodies perfectly and adds an epic dimension to Holy Force's brand of traditional/power metal. There are also keyboards on this album, although I am not sure who plays them, and, while Holy Force sometimes opt for some cheesy sounding sounds here, I actually kind of like it for some reason (although I think that perhaps the neoclassical overkill on 'We Are the Warriors' , 'Chasing the Dream' and 'Emperor', while impressive, is a bit over the top).

If you like melodic power metal with more than just a nod to the great metal of the 80s and top notch classic metal guitar solos and plenty of guitar leads of various types, then Holy Force's eponymous debut album certainly is worth checking out.


Track Listing:
1. Holy Force
2. Flying
3. Breathe
4. Seasons
5. A Country Good Or Bad
6. Power Of Life
7. Sky Etude
8. We Are The Warriors
9. Moonlight Fantasy
10. The Wings Of Forever
11. Chasing The Dream
12. Emperor
13. Waiting
14. See You In The Future

Added: September 24th 2011
Reviewer: Kim Jensen
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2107
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Holy Force: Holy Force
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-12-26 11:43:09
My Score:

The brainchild of Taiwanese guitarist Ango Chen, who has previously worked with Mike Vescera (Yngwie Malmsteen/Joe Stump/Loudness), Holy Force, whilst not exactly a super group are certainly comprised of names well known to followers of metal music. Featuring the ever reliable vocal talents of Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen/Ring Of Fire/Royal Hunt), bassist Mike Lepond (Symphony X) and drummer Rhino (Kenny Earl) (Manowar) dispenses with the need to explain that this is an album infused with precise and powerful musicianship of the highest order. Style wise this project fall into the melodic side of power metal and while of the more European bent of that genre, there isn't too much in the way of the symphonic tendencies which most bands in that genre now conjure up.

Made famous during his time with Manowar for his stunning double bass work, drumming machine Rhino illustrates that he is still a master of the skill and while his double pounding is evident on most of the songs on show here, he does so in such a precise and understated manner so as not to dominate the songs. That said if you are not a fan of this style of drumming, there's little here that's going to convince you otherwise. However with this being Ango Chen's project, it would be fair to say that his dextrous and flurried guitar work is the main focus here, with solid, busy riffs being punctuated by solos which blur past, aided by the equally manic Lepond. Also high up in the sound is some pompous keyboard and piano work (which was uncredited on the download I received), which plays a large hand in shaping the bold and strident brand or power metal that Holy Force provide. Mark Boals as ever illustrates why he is a vocalist in such high demand, with an imperious performance that soars above the gargantuan riffs and frenzied bursts of guitars, to bring a more theatrical side to Holy Force and while it is more usual to hear a gruff roar in this style of music, Boals is more than a match for everything going on here.

Less progressive and more straight-on than the line up of Chen, Lepond and Boals may have suggested, Holy Force have still come up with a power metal album that offers up a few interesting twists and turns, that will satisfy any fan of the genre, without quite blowing anyone away.

Holy Force: Holy Force
Posted by Jeff B, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-09-24 10:58:23
My Score:

Holy Force is a relatively new power metal supergroup consisting of accomplished musicians from acts like Symphony X, Manowar, Yngwie Malmsteen, and a host of other metal bands. This impressive lineup have crafted some really killer power metal tunes for this self-titled debut album, and people who enjoy heavy-edged American power metal with influences from traditional heavy metal and European neo-classical power metal should get this one in their collection immediately. Holy Force obviously don't set out to re-invent the wheel with this album, but the quality of the musicianship and compositions are high enough to make Holy Force worth a look from fans of the genre.

The music here is a cross between power metal, neo-classical shred, and 80's heavy metal. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but Holy Force delivers the style with an immense amount of professionalism and craftsmanship. Ango Chen's intricate guitar work never ceases to amaze the listener, and this album is filled with powerful riffs, soaring solos, and mind-blowing shred antics. The rest of the band is always tight and precise, and Holy Force is an extremely well-playing act across the board. The compositions themselves - despite always being well-written and professional - seldom reach a level of excellence, and most of the album strikes me as "very good, but not excellent". There are exceptions, but most of the album remains at a constant level of compositional quality.

All in all, Holy Force have crafted an album here that's professional and impressive, even if it rarely makes my blood boil. If you enjoy power metal and are okay with a somewhat "by-the-books" approach, by all means check out this debut. Holy Force is bound to contain some of the most impressive guitar work you'll hear this entire year! I'll play my 3 star card here - I can't see myself revisiting the album very much, but the quality is dependable and impressive all the way through. This one comes recommended from me - just don't expect anything revolutionary!

Holy Force: Holy Force
Posted by Brian Block, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-08-27 14:17:51
My Score:

Holy Force's debut is easily one of the best power metal releases of 2011. With most of their members originating from progressive and heavy metal backgrounds the music on this album takes the best of both traditional, power, and progressive (albeit not much, though) and blends it into a great album. The power metal sections of the album definitely lean towards European power metal, which immediately indicates epic riffs and catchy choruses, swirled around neoclassical leanings. Another great thing about this album is Mike LePond. If you recognize his name, you should. He's the bassist of Symphony X, and a great one at that. Besides him there's Ango Chen, the mastermind behind Holy Force, and Mark Boals, who have both played with Yngwie Malmsteen. Rounding it off is former Manowar drummer Kenny Earl, who definitely makes this a supergroup of sorts.

The music is pretty guitar driven, which is understandable considering the lead man, Ango Chen plays guitar. That being said, everyone gets their chance to shine on this album and overall this album is very balanced. The shredding on this album is absolutely tremendous, and comes in both classic and neoclassical form. Most of the songs are heavy driven, powered by great drumming from Kenny Earl, but there are a select few songs, such as "Sky Etude" which a happy, cheery, and upbeat. One weird thing about "Sky Etude" is that it's a piano etude, which is very good and all, but no one on this album plays piano, at least it's not noted anywhere. That brings up the question, did they program it? Hopefully that is not the case, but I don't know.

Overall the musicianship on this album is top notch, and it's made all the better by the great compositions that make up the album. Any fan of power metal or heavy metal should definitely look into this great 2011 release, and I'm sure they won't be let down. 4 stars is surely deserved here.



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