Holy Force is a super group of recent formation, where you will find nothing less than Mike LePond (Symphony X’s bassist), Rhino (drummer in Angels of Babylon, also ex-Manowar), Mark Boals (blessed voice that used to be part of Royal Hunt and Yngwie Malmsteen) and guitar maestro Ango Chen, mastermind of this ensemble.
Their recently released homonymous debut album was immediately noticed, due to its style full of direct and simple –yet dynamic– heavy power, melodic guitars and memorable harmonies and choruses.
We at metalicos.com were convinced that such a lineup shouldn’t go unnoticed, so we decided to bring Holy Force a little closer to the Latin American readers through the following interview with Ango.
Any lover of lucid heavy power and choruses reminiscent of the classic heavy metal days, simply can’t lose the chance to listen to what Holy Force has to offer. We hope this interview to be just the first step of many fans into the world of this tremendous band.
1-METALICOS-Hello there! First of all I want to thank you for giving us the chance to make this interview! It’s been almost six months since the release of the album, how satisfied do you feel about the attention you have attracted?
Ango/ Hello Metalicos and everybody, thank you very much for giving me a chance for the interview, this is an honor, nice to meet you. About the Holy Force album, I’m glad to know that you liked the album and gave it such the good words. In fact, most metal music review websites gave Holy Force the high score and good comments, and we really love this album too, we hope it will bring more metal fans to our music!
2-METALICOS-The members of the band have a very extensive experience so, how hard was it to channel all these strong creative and technical skills into the album final result?
Ango/ Yes, it is not a easy job, but I have to tell you, I am really lucky that in this album, I got Mark, Mike, RHINO and the mixing engineer Anssi Kippo's help, they are all very nice guys with amazing music skills and technique, so with these genius's help, this album was not really hard to finished, I really owe them a lot.
3-METALICOS-Since Holy Force is a new and emerging band in the metal scene –despite the experience of its members–, how did you first envision your contribution to the metal world? In other words, what did you want to create?
Ango/ In 2008, I got a big chance to work for the legendary vocalist Mike Vescera (Yngwie Malmsteen, Loudness, Joe Stump, Impellitteri), I played some guitar solos for tracks on his 2008 solo album. I really learned a lot of things about the metal music world from Mike Vescera. Then I got a chance to know our drummer RHINO because of Mike Vescera, and then I began to talk to RHINO about my plan, and then I got a chance to talk to Mike LePond, and then finally I got Mark Boals' help, and he gave the life and spirit to begin the Holy Force album. In this band, they are all my heroes, working with them is a dream come true for me. I wanted to create a powerful and inspirational metal album, and I believe we have achieved that.
4-METALICOS-I think there is a very fierce feeling especially on all the rhythmic guitars which is reminiscent of classic eighties heavy and even thrash metal. This leads me to ask you: how influenced are you today by the work of the bands that helped creating not only power but metal in general?
Ango/ I am very influenced by several bands today, including the past work of our band members. Positive bands featuring incredible players.
5-METALICOS-I’ve come across several reviews of the album –ours will soon be published– which are already highlighting Ango Chen as a new guitar master. How pleased are you with the guitar work delivered in this album? And also, how do you feel about these “guitar master” remarks?
Ango/ Thank you so much, I really appreciate to you that you are saying such good words about me. I am not a guitar master; I am just a small potato in the guitar world. I am just trying to write some music with my guitar and then play it, and then I hope my project could bring something simple but positive with the lyrics.
6-METALICOS-You have identified your kind of metal as neo-classical power and I think it fits your sound pretty well but, could you tell us why are you artistically driven towards this specific kind of metal? Why neo-classical power and not thrash or death so to say?
Ango/ In fact, I started to listen to rock music since when I was 14 years old. First band I knew was Europe, and then Bon Jovi. I lived in a small country, at the moment, we don't have internet, it is really hard to learn things about metal music and bands, it is really hard to get the information even to get a metal CD. And then I got a chance to know Jason Becker, Marty Friedman and Yngwie Malmsteen when I was 17 years old, after that I started listening to classical music. I think these are the basic elements of Holy force.
7-METALICOS-The lyrics reflect an approach to some personal struggles and also optimistic views of life, can you talk to us more about the spirit that traverses the lyrics on the album?
Ango/ The Holy Force album is kind of my experience sharing; most time in my life I had very hard moments, and I always tried to finish all the quests in life and move along to the next stage, so I am trying to tell the people "never say never" by my music.
8-METALICOS-How busy have you been in terms of playing live? Do you see any chances for touring in the future?
Ango/ We hope we will tour in the future, and then we will show you our technique in a live setting.
9-METALICOS-How surprised are you for attracting attention from so many different places? -like Costa Rica for example!-
Ango/ I have to say thanks to you and so many people, who are trying to help Holy Force. We have a good label, and we also have so many good friends to help this band, without their help, some things might be different as of now, so I really appreciate it.
10-METALICOS-Do you have any new material already or you prefer to wait and see how the album does in the long term?
Ango/ In fact, you are the first one to know this news, which is that we are working on a new song now, and it's almost done. We will give this single track for free to all people, and one of the special points on this song is that we requested one of the best mixing engineers, producers and musicians, and that is Anssi Kippo. He supports this track as a keyboard player, and of course he will mix this song, I am happy to tell you this will be a killer track.
11-METALICOS-Ok Ango, I want to thank you again for this great opportunity, and hope the interview and the upcoming album review help to spread the word about Holy Force in Latin America. Please give us your final words, cheers!
Ango/ Thank you very much again for the interview, Metalicos, and thanks so much to the people who read this interview, we hope we will have a chance to visit Latin America, we will see you in the future, Rock On!!