Van Canto – Break the Silence

November 14, 2011 in Reviews by Allyson Kenning

Van Canto
Break the Silence
2011 

The first song I heard from a capella metal band Van Canto was their cover of “Wishmaster” by Nightwish.  I almost thought it was a parody and I couldn’t believe there was something in there that sounded like a kazoo.  I mean, “riddly diddly dee?” Seriously?  It took a while for me to appreciate what this band was all about: creativity and innovation.  Judging from what I’ve read on various metal boards, this band is either loved or hated; there seems to be no middle ground.  I have come to love Van Canto; they are refreshing and inspired.

Comprised of two lead vocalists, one male and one female, a drummer, and three male vocalist who provide the backing sounds instead of instruments (hence the “riddly diddly dee” and “tum tum tum” stuff), Van Canto hails from Germany and have garnered a large enough following for them to be invited to major metal festivals like Wacken, and they’ve opened for the likes of Nightwish.  They also had a cameo appearance in Tarja’s What Lies Beneath.  Break the Silence is their fourth album.

The previous album, Tribe of Force, wasn’t their best, in my opinion, and it seemed that their female lead vocalist, Inga Scharf, was relegated to the background and the band chose to focus more on the male lead vocalist, Philip Schunke.  I was happy to hear while listening to Break the Silence that Inga is more of a presence.

Van Canto is perhaps best known for their funky covers of well-known metal songs.  Not only did they cover Nightwish’s “Wishmaster”, but they’ve also done an a capella cover of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and “Battery”, as well as covers of Manowar, Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple songs.  In this most recent release, we are treated to more covers, specifically “Primo Victoria”, a song by Sabaton, and it features Sabaton’s singer Joakim Broden as a guest.  This is fantastic and one of the highlights of the album for me.  And it gets better! There is a cover of an Alice Cooper song, “Bed of Nails.”  This is also very well done and, as an Alice fan, I have to smile when I hear this one.  Additionally, Van Canto covers Manowar’s “Master of the Wind” on Break the Silence.  This last song is another highlight on the album; Inga really shines and shows of her range and style, and it’s a lovely ballad with an actual piano accompaniment.

The original songs on this release are typical Van Canto: original, entertaining, and peppy.  No, there are no guitars or keyboards, but the three male a capella singers are tight and their vocal harmonies are great. Highlights for me were “The Higher Flight” and “Spelles in Waters”, which features Marcus Siepen of Blind Guardian.

If you aren’t familiar with Van Canto, I highly encourage everyone to give them a try because it takes a hell of a lot of talent and creativity to pull music like this off, and I think it’s really fun to hear what they do with songs from other bands.  I now think their version of “Wishmaster” one of the best Nightwish covers out there.  I’m not sure how many Sabaton covers are out there, but “Primo Victoria” is really worth a listen if you’re a fan of the band.

Allyson’s Rating: 4.0 ouf of 5