Van Canto – Break the Silence

Van Canto is easily the most unique metal band you will have the pleasure of hearing. You see, they don’t have any guitars. No bass either. In fact, the only instrument other than the human voice is the drums. How can that be very heavy, you ask? You would be surprised.

Germany’s Van Canto plays what they call “hero metal a cappela”. For those metal heads out there not familiar with the style, in layman’s terms, this means singing without instrumentation. Normally that means you wouldn’t have drums either, but whatever. So now you are thinking, ok, well, it could still be pretty boring without any instruments. But if you recall, I said there weren’t any other instruments than drums; I did not say there weren’t parts for instruments. All other instruments other than drums are recreated using the voices of the various singers.

This is what makes Van Canto so unique and so very cool. They have two lead singers and three singers who take care of the instrumentation parts. So while the lead singers are singing the lyrics of the song the other singers are wordlessly rhythmically mimicking guitar and bass parts. This really must be heard to be understood. My telling you about it just doesn’t impart the talent of these singers. I was amazed the first time I heard them.

Their original material is great, but what really helps you appreciate their talent is when you hear a familiar song given the Van Canto treatment; on each of their four albums they have included at least one cover song. The first song I heard them perform was a cover of Manowar’s “Kings of Metal” from their second album, “Hero.” I saw the video on YouTube and it just blew my mind. Their version of that song kicked some serious ass and without a guitar in sight. I looked around and found their version of Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark.” After that, I was hooked. Another one you should look up on YouTube is the video for their cover of Metallica’s “Battery.”

“Break the Silence” gives us ten new tracks, seven original and three more covers: Sabaton’s “Primo Victoria” (featuring Sabaton singer Joakim Brodén,) Alice Cooper’s “Bed of Nails” and Manowar’s “Master of the Wind.” Marcus Siepen of Blind Guardian also guests on the track “Spelled in Waters.”

You’d be mistaken if you think Van Canto simply a novelty act. There is real talent here and whether performing their original compositions or covers they are so very listenable that there is no reason this should not be in regular rotation. I know I’ve been listening to them regularly since learning about them. I think you will be doing yourself a great disservice if you do not check them out.