A cappella metal. German band Van Canto have something quite different here. Scepticism that you might have about an a cappella group trying metal music should be suppressed until hearing this one. Breaking The Silence marks Van Canto’s fourth full-length album – so surely, are they not doing something right?
‘Hero metal a cappella’ is the self-coined term that the band so choose to describe their music. If we’re going searching for loopholes, Van Canto aren’t an a capella band for the band’s membership of drummer Bastian Emig.
Nevertheless, if you don’t include this, or indeed the two guest musicians – Blind Guardian’s Marcus Siepen and Sabaton’s Joakim Broden – that’s all the help they get from any alien instrumentation that doesn’t include the ‘rakka takka’, ‘dug-uh-dun’ vocal lines of the cooky sextet.
Yes, as expected it sounds a little daft at times, but how many times have you heard a cheese-ridden power metal band that take things too far? It’s a breath of fresh air, well quite literally a number of breaths of fresh air and a boatload of fun that takes a number of twists to avoid the previously anticipated potential mediocrity of this band on record.
There’s three covers on Breaking The Silence too – Alice Cooper’s Bed Of Nails is a nice number to cover and Sabaton’s Primo Victoria is a fitting choice – the power metallers’ melodrama makes it a tough song to re-shape, but Van Canto’s bizarre effort is a rewarding experience. However, it doesn’t quite top a rendition of Manowar’s epic Master Of The Wind. Regarding their own songs, Spelled In Waters and Neuer Wind are highlights while The Higher Flight is a shade darker and more charismatic than most of their other original material.
Van Canto can be considered in the same vein as Gregorian, although they concentrate more specifically on re-spawning other artists songs with a gregorian-style choir. Tossing countless vocal chugs into the mixer, Van Canto march on for now with an established future as a metal novelty awaiting them. How long it will last is anyone’s guess.