When you think of Dutch heavy metal, some bands might have already crossed your mind.  The Netherlands lies between two of the greatest heavy metal countries, Germany and the UK. 

For the last 5 years a new band is hammering their way into the the Dutch heavy metal scene: Angelic Forces. The band with old members of Methuselah and LSD released their first EP back in 2019 and are now recording their second EP. The new EP will be released somewhere in 2021. Some weeks ago we had a nice chat with Maurice Gijsman one of the warriors in the band.

The new EP will be out in 2021, yet there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of activity since the upcoming release. I was wondering if you’ve planning a digital release party?

It’s been a little bit quiet last year due to Covid, that’s true. We had some gig that were cancelled or postponed, but that gave us the opportunity to work on our songs and improve them. We did one digital show last year for a festival in Mexico. If we will have a digital release party? we didn’t thought about it yet. We hope to do a live release party!

Well I think it’s best you’ve done so far, so I’d like to know, how did the writing process and recording go?

Thanks, we really took the time to work out these songs well, and you can hear that for sure. The writing of our songs usually starts with a few riffs that are arranged and developed into a song. The vocal lines and lyrics will be added later. Sometimes there is a complete song that is supplied including text and vocal line, but we always work it out into a song that’s rock solid.

During the recordings Tjaard, our producer and owner of Audio shape studio, delivered many ideas to make the whole thing even better and heavier. It was a very valuable input that he gave to the album as a producer.

You are hoping to release it in countries like American and Japan.

For sure, but it all depends on which company is willing to release us. You see our first EP has got off to a good start and has been well received worldwide. We even have our debut EP in two record stores in Japan. So, we are hopeful that it will work out. Our debut EP is still well listened worldwide and we already have a small fan base on the American continent, both in Latin America as in the U.S.A. Angelic Forces is already been played regularly on various American radio stations and we are quite proud of that too.

Again about the new EP, the band’s sound overall has slightly changed. More mature and the arrangements are better developed. Did you do you even notice it?

We certainly noticed that, we also took a lot of time to make these songs better than they were in the beginning. Also in the studio we were able to put more time into our songs and production and as you have noticed, you can hear the result.

You traditionally have been the main songwriter for Angelic Forces, but on this EP there was a little bit more input from your band members. How do you feel they has influenced the sound, or what do you think their input brought to the band?

All band members always have a huge input in the end result of the songs. Our goal is to always make the songs better than they already are in the beginning. Everyone has their part in this and that also makes the songs an Angelic Forces song in the end. Some of the songs have remained almost unchanged, but even there you can hear the influences and own special input of the other band members.

Do they have much of a different background in terms of his musical influences than yourself, or is it kind of similar?

Wilco listens a lot to European Power metal, while Rudie loves Prog. Rock, Harold likes groove metal the most while I mainly listen to 80’s Heavy metal. But our general love is traditional Heavy metal.

There’s a lot a really good songs on the new EP and I won’t ask you about every single one of them. But to save time, can you perhaps pick out two or three of the songs on here that mean something special to you, more than maybe some of the others? And tell me a bit about what inspired the song and how it took shape.

I love every song on the record, but the one that stands out the most for me is “Armageddon”. We actually have been playing this song for a long time and it has always been my favorite song because it is so heavy metal. It’s a real headbanger from start to finish. The lyrics are very topical at the moment and it gives the right atmosphere to the song, I really love that song a lot! The second song that has a special place to me, is “Religion is a lie”, another headbanger. This song has turned out into a very powerful song with an even more powerful message!

Back to a little bit of history, I was wondering when you first started playing guitar and roughly how old you were, and who inspired you to pick up a guitar and play what you’re doing now.

I started playing guitar when I was about 10 years old. My father already played the guitar, which must have contributed to that. It also suited my early interest in rock music and especially the guitarists who steal the show, I wanted that too. My first guitar was a classic guitar, but soon after that my grandfather gave me an electric guitar, an Epiphone SC-450 Scroll … and that’s how it all got started. At that time we didn’t had Youtube video’s or something like that, to help you how to use the right technics to play metal guitar. It was the 80’s I had to figure everything out myself by listening carefully and looking at pictures from magazines to see what the pick technique of these metal guitarists was, how did they held their pick so I could get that special muffled metal sound to come from my guitar. When I found out, a whole new world opened up for me.

From what I’ve read, you seem to have a preference for Jackson Flying. Why the brand Jackson? So do you have a main guitar or a main preference?

Currently  I play on a Jackson King V that’s right, but I also played on BC Rich. If a guitar plays well, sounds raw and heavy and looks awesome too, well then I’m in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Jackson. My latest buy is a Kramer Striker for example. You will be seeing me wielding the Kramer and the Jackson on stage when everything opens up again, that’s for sure!

In terms of other gear that you use, like amps and effects, could you give a brief rundown on the type of equipment you like to use?

I always used the Boss MT-2 Metalzone and the Boss RV-3 Digital reverb / delay. Later I switched to Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff and used an Xvive Amp litone boost pedal for the solos. Currently I am switched to an ADA MP1 preamp. This gives me even more the sound that I am looking for and love so much, the 80’s Heavy metal sound. The amp I am using is a Laney Worldseries Amplifier.

Do you have the same set-up live as you do when you’re recording or does it differ very much?

No it doesn’t differ much from my live set ups, but it’s not the same. In the studio we are really looking for that specific sound that fit our songs the best. That also applies to the guitars we use. Harold and I play live on our Jackson King V’s, but for our first EP we used an Aria Pro 2 XX Special to get that typical 80’s sound. For our upcoming record we used a Gibson Les Paul Studio Lite (M-111) for the rhythm parts.

In the studio this time you had a big hand in the production of the EP. Is this the biggest involvement you’ve had so far with your own recording.

We’ve always had involvement in our productions, but we never had the time to work everything out properly. Now we did had the time. We have had a lot of support from Tjaard our producer, especially he and Harold spent many hours on the product and that eventually led to the production as it is today. We are very excited about this record and can’t wait for it to be released and for the world to hear our new record.

Changing gears a bit now, I just wanted to ask you a couple questions about what your perception is on the All Dutch Metal scene. What is your take on the scene, its health, and what is going on kind of thing?

Well I notice that the Heavy metal scene is getting healthier. There are a some very good bands that are currently from the Netherlands. I’m thinking for example of Steel Shock, Overruled, but also Methuselam in which our bassist Wilco also plays. There are so much bands right now that play traditional Heavy metal and I think that’s great. Although the Dutch scene is still dominated by the more extreme metal styles, I can still see that the regular Heavy metal has started its return.

So what styles of Metal seem to be the most popular down there? Is it just straight-up Heavy Metal or is it more the extreme bands?

Well, as I said, it is mainly the more extreme styles that has always do well here in the Netherlands and attract the most audience. But it could just change before you know it and personally I wouldn’t mind at all.

When I was looking on your band’s website a few days ago I looked at all your cool merchandise people can order. Can you explain how this works?

Just go to our website click on merchandise and make your choice. You can indicate what you want via the form. We will contact you as soon as possible and tell you the total amount, including shipping, that you have to pay. You can pay with Paypal, but if you’re from the Netherlands it is also possible with IBAN. There are also a few websites or webshops that sell Angelic Forces approved merchandise.

Anyway, is there any other news or things going on with the band that we didn’t cover that you would want me to pass along to people or what?

In any case, we hope that we find a good label that wants to release our record and that we will be able to hit the stage again soon. It has all taken too long. It is time to rock ‘n’ roll and to unleash the world again!

Right on. Well man, it’s been great talking to you finally.

The pleasure was all mine. It was certainly nice to have spoken to you. There was also a lot to tell about the upcoming album and stuff, so it was great that it could be done this way.

Man, thanks. It’s not something I’m going to give up doing either, just like you with your band. I continue to promote and shove Metal in people’s faces. It’s something I’m going to do forever.

That’s great to hear man! I would say: Stay health and stay metal! We hope to see all you metal heads soon!