Holy Force is the personal project and platform for versatile guitarist Ango Chen (Michael Viscera). He has some heavy hitters helping him on this self-titled debut including vocalist Mark Boals (Yngie Malmsteen), bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X), and drummer Kenny 'Rhino' Earl (Angels of Babylon, Holy Hell, ex-Manowar). With little doubt, considering this line up, expectations are high for Holy Force.
Fortunately, Chen and company do not disappoint. Essentially this work is melodic heavy and power metal driven by the guitar theatrics of Ango Chen, who plays in the neo-classical rock and metal tradition. He shreds and soars with ease throughout Holy Force with basic fret fireworks, but also large doses of guitar synths. He also offers three instrumentals: two guitar, Breathe and Waiting, and one piano, Sky Etude.
While his skill is undeniable, the question remains to whether the songs are of equal caliber to carry his solos. In other words, is the song there to just showcase our guitar hero, or is he a collaborative player in the band? Listening to the title track, Flying, Power of Life or See You in the Future, likely the best cuts, the answer is the latter. But then also consider the bass and drums of We Are the Warriors or Seasons, and the conclusion becomes even stronger. Moving through the album, thankfully, you're not simply wondering what the next guitar solo will sound like. The songs are just as important, and that's a very good thing. Yet Holy Force still remains guitar-driven melodic power metal and not much more. In this case, there's a certain current of redundancy here. But thanks to the variation in arrangements and strong musicianship, it's easy to overlook.
As a showcase for the impressive talent of guitarist Ango Chen, Holy Force allows him to rip it up within some well-crafted melodic power metal arrangements.
Much can happen in a short period of time, just ask Italy's Nitehawks. Formed this year, 2015, the band has written some tunes, hit the studio, and will be releasing their debut album, Vendetta in a few short weeks this September. Your first thoughts ... [ Read More ]