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On disc: Van Canto

Tribe Of Force - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Break The Silence - Philip Thelen - 10 stars

Break The Silence

Break The Silence
(Napalm Records - 2011)

Van Canto is offering a capella metal par excellence. I think it is the very first a capella metal band ever... or? Well, I don't think that you do not know them. In Germany, their fame increased after each album. TV shows, tours, festival appearances and so on. And yeah, this style is new and it is fun listening to it. And if you are spending more time listening to it concentrated you will get introduced to all the little facets of the single voices. Each single voice is transforming to be a bass, a pad or something else. Every voice seems to be a piece of a puzzle. So, the song will be the whole puzzle. And this puzzle is a picture of pure perfection. Sure, it is easy to say 'fuck that shit, why is this called metal?' In my point of view, this is more than metal, this is kind of art. I do not want to know how much work it is to compose or arrange metal songs in this way. And I think it is even harder to perform that kind of metal live. So far, the prelude.

Break The Silence is the fourth release of Van Canto. On each album there are own songs and cover songs. Break The Silence consists three cover songs (Primo Victoria / Sabaton, Bed Of Nails / Alice Cooper and Master Of The Wind / Manowar) and seven own tracks. Guest musicians are Marcus Siepen (acoustic guitar / Blind Guardian) on Spelled In Waters and Joakim Broden (vocals / Sabaton) on Primo Victoria. Van Canto is showing a wide range of styles from power metal based tracks as If I Die In Battle (with a little touch of Manowar) to classic rock tracks as Bed Of Nails. Here I have to say that the leading voice fits very great into the song. Every song has it‘s own touch and vibe.

The album is not overproduced. This means: Van Canto is really able to perform these songs live the same way as you listen to them on CD without missing something in the sound. If you have the chance to see them, just give them a try. They are a really powerful live band with a lot of fun on stage. Fun on stage means fun in front of stage. ;-)

And the songs are sounding great! All in all, back to the album: Great production, great sound, fantastic songs.

10 stars

Philip Thelen


Tribe Of Force

Tribe Of Force
(Napalm Records - 2010)

With Tribe Of Force A Cappella metallers Van Canto present their 3rd album. After several festival appearances and touring they are confident to focus on their own songs. The opener Lost Forever is an up-tempo rocker which shows the uniqueness of Van Canto. Okay, some will miss guitars, but actually I think they manage very well to create music with their voices only. And they can surprise with twists and turns. If this wouldn't be a cappella metal then you would expect to hear this kind of song - with full instrumentation - from bands like Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. At On To Ten you get something special! A guitar duel between Rage's Victor Smolski and one of the vocal artists. Very cool!

For Rebellion, the Grave Digger classic, they were joined by Grave Digger mastermind Chris Boltendahl. Van Canto's version of this classic makes it sound different... same, but different. One might say that the Van Canto tunes can't keep up with the cover songs, but the songs they cover are classics, something some Van Canto songs probably become... The bands tunes are fun and especially live Van Canto's tunes were very well due to the live performance of the sextet. A slow tune is Last Night Of The Kings which has a dash of mediaeval metal... Reminds me partly of Blind Guardian... An epic tune.

Again the Germans picked a Metallica tune to cover, this time they choose Master Of Puppets which works well when the lead vocals join in, but the 'instrumental' parts are a bit lengthy... There I partly miss a 'real' guitar. Magic Taborea works better, coz it's written for the vocal performance. At Hearted they have another guest, Sonata Arctica singer Tony Kakko joins in. As a counter part to Kakko they add angelic vocals by Inga and growls by Sly. A very powerful track! The closer is called Frodo's Dream, so you might expect something Blind Guardian-esque - and there are reminiscences. But due to the different concept Van Canto create something unique. I can imagine this very well to be done live...

The limited digipack will come with a bonus DVD which incl. the full Wacken 2008 performance as well as behind-the-scene material and interviews. A nice package for Van Canto fans!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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