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Review: Van Canto - Dawn of the Brave
Van Canto
Dawn of the Brave

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2014
Duration: 49:48
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: June 8, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 1.8/5 (36%) (5 Votes)

As I said in my review of Van Canto's 2011 album, Break the Silence, I'm just not convinced this band is heavy enough and 2014's Dawn of the Brave does nothing to change my opinion. Let me start by stating, unequivocally, that this band is very talented and obviously puts a ton of work into arranging their songs for five voices so they approximate all the instruments you expect to hear in Heavy Metal. The operative word, however, is "approximate" and I can't help feeling, after listening to Dawn of the Brave, underwhelmed.

There are some good songs on this album, like "Fight for Your Life" and "My Utopia," Power Metal anthems through and through. Album highlight, "Unholy," had visions of Khan-era Kamelot dancing in my ears. There are some stinkers as well, like a sappy cover of The Lord of the Rings' "Into the West" and "Steelbreaker" with old school hip-hop/R&B rhythms that would be better suited for Justin Timberlake. And what's with the Bonnie Tyler covers? Celestial Decay covered "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on Quantum X and now we get "Holding Out for a Hero" from Van Canto. Didn't we have enough of her in the 80s?? That said, if I killed an album for being uneven, most of my reviews would be negative. It's the fact that these five voices, as talented as they are, just don't make music that does the "heavy" in Heavy Metal justice. Van Canto has a nice sound, but I don't really want "nice." I want pounding METAL! I would like to see them in concert, though; it would be cool to hear all these harmonies live.

Van Canto can be lauded for doing something different but remain a fringe band because "different" doesn't always mean "heavy." It's hard to take someone singing "mum-mum-mum-mum-mum" (= rhythm guitar) or playing some type of kazoo (= lead guitar) that seriously.

More about Van Canto...
Review: Break the Silence (reviewed by MetalMike)
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