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Review: Van Canto - Break the Silence
Van Canto
Break the Silence

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2011
Duration: 43:13
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: October 15, 2011
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Break the Silence

Rated 2.23/5 (44.62%) (13 Votes)

It is probably safe to say that, with the release of their fourth full-length album, Break the Silence, Germany's Van Canto and their A Cappella take on Power Metal are here to stay. To dismiss Van Canto as a joke or gimmick is unfair. The five singers (and Ordan Ogan drummer Bastien Emig) possess talent and are obviously dedicated to their craft. There are two questions though, that for me, have surrounded Van Canto since their debut; is this truly Heavy Metal and is it any good?

First, Heavy Metal, at its heart, has been, is and always will be guitar/bass/drums. There have been variations and additions to that core instrumentation, but the basic triad is immutable. Different genres of Rock music may suffer pianos, saxophones, etc. as the lead instrument, but not Heavy Metal. Other than the ballads, "Spelled in Waters" and "Master of the Wind," which feature acoustic guitar and keyboards, (and are therefore not truly A Cappella), all the melody, harmony and lead parts are approximated by the human voice. Is Heavy Metal ready for someone to break the rules this much? That question is debatable.

The second question remains; is Break the Silence any good? The answer to that is not really. Break the Silence would be on the lighter side of Power Metal, even if it had instruments. Some of the songs ("Dangers in My Head," the two ballads, the cover of Alice Cooper's "Bed of Nails") come across as very poppy. The vocals just don't create enough heaviness. Not that there isn't potential. The opener, "If I Die in Battle" is good in an anthemic, Manowar way while the pick of the album has to be the cover of Sabaton's "Primo Victoria." This song is actually very heavy and shows that, done right, A Cappella CAN be Heavy Metal. The guest appearance of Sabaton's Joakim Broden is a huge help. But most of the songs are dull and the vocalizations used to sound like guitars and bass just sound silly.

Talented but less than satisfying is how I would sum up Van Canto and their latest, Break the Silence. There may be room for A Cappella in Heavy Metal someday, but this album shows that day is still a ways off.

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