The prospect of reviewing this album was quite intriguing. In all honesty, the “A Cappella Metal” description was quite unfamiliar to this writer, and inspired both wonder and curiosity. The idea of playing metal without instruments seems rather unusual, to say the least, and so checking out this record was a must. And in the end Van Canto’s ‘Break the Silence’ did live up to the expectations.
The band achieved quite a lot of success in just five years, among sharing the stage or studio with Blind Guardian, Tarja Turunen, Nightwish and Grave Digger, as well as numerous performances (including Wacken Open Air). Van Canto features six members, five vocalists and a drummer. The group use their voices to arrange melodies usually played by instruments, such as bass or rhythm guitars. They have a backing of drums that adds energy to the songs and keeps them, well, metal. However, the shortage of instruments is barely noticeable, as the vocalists do a great job of singing the melodies and make the best use of their abilities. ‘Break the Silence’ is their fourth studio offering, followed by a European tour.VAN CANTO – The Seller of Souls by burneynapalmrecords
The record contains some powerful original songs and three cover versions. If I Die in Battle is an energetic opener to the album, fast and quite heavy, if that can be said with no actual guitars used for the riffs! Most pieces on this album are quite similar in terms of energy. The group’s own songs like Seller of Souls and Neuer Wind are interesting compositions. The well arranged vocals show just how different and complex the harmonies in metal music can be, and create an intriguing listening experience. Spelled in Waters follows a similar idea, but in a form of a ballad. It features a guest performance from Marcus Siepen (of Blind Guardian) playing acoustic guitar. The song itself is calm and melodic, with a nice vibe and pleasant harmonies.
Fans of Sabaton will be excited to hear the group’s frontman Joakim Brodén lending his voice to the group’s cover version of Primo Victoria. The song does not lose any power nor character to the lack of instruments, in fact it is just as intense. The group also takes on Alice Cooper’s song, Bed of Nails. It’s a really cool interpretation, just as energetic as the original, but also quite unusual without the guitars – what better tribute to the shock rock king? Van Canto features mostly male voices, but there also is a female vocalist, Inga. Her voice is most prominent in Black Wings of Hate and cover of Manowar’s Master of the Wind, creating a different dynamic to the songs, from intensity to subtlety. The presence of a female voice, without overpowering the others, adds variety to the music and keeps it interesting throughout the album.
If you’re into hard rock or metal, then it will be worth your time to check out this band. Van Canto have a different and entertaining take on a well-established type of music. The songs are just as intense and energetic as you’d expect from anything from metal genre, and this unusual interpretation makes it all the more interesting. Keep an open mind, and you will not be disappointed!
Written by Natalia Gronowska