Rating:
9.0
Van Canto - A Storm To Come
15 December 2006


01. Stora Rövardansen
02. King
03. The Mission
04. Lifetime
05. Rain
06. She's Alive
07. I Stand Alone
08. Starlight
09. Battery [Metallica cover]
+ The Mission [bonus] [video]
+ Battery [Metallica cover] [bonus] [video]


You will never have heard anything like this in your metal lives before, this is one of those special releases that comes along with something totally different and blows your head off. A cappella is something usually totally alien to listeners of metal, but here we have it - probably the first ever a cappella metal band like this. Yes, a band with five singers and one drummer, three of them singing through guitar amplifier stacks imitating guitars accompanied by thundering, typical power metal style drumming that still provides a very metal experience.

The album starts off with "Stora Rövardansen" that sounds more like something you might hear from the Lion King soundtrack, but I am not far off. It is actually originally from the soundtrack of a film called "Ronja, The Robber's Daughter" and composed by a man called Björn Isfält, but after this and until the last track of the album, it is all original music written by the band. "King" kicks off the album properly with its lovely power metal gallop and already at this point you can hear the magnificent singing of the four male singers and one female singer that are constantly changing and giving you something different to put your attention to. "The Mission" carries the album on and the five layers of vocals continue to impress as they do throughout the entire album with lead vocals both male and female on top of the deeper vocals making the sounds of what would be guitars in any other band.

Included on the album we have varied songs, we have the gloriously fast paced "Lifetime" and also the slower, ballad like "I Stand Alone" that solidified the belief that we have some very talented singers here, not just to sing these vocal parts but also to arrange these songs with all of their layers as well. Curious individuals pondering over the issue of what-would-be guitar solos can listen to "Rain" and "Starlight" that include quite bizarre yet rather alluring solos, of course all still strictly vocal work. A cover of Metallica's "Battery" closes the album with ingenious creativity; there is no other way to describe how you can turn such a metal classic into an a cappella metal classic then just magic. You need to hear it yourself to believe it is possible.

This album's originality and amazing talents that have gone into this album kept me smiling and even laughing throughout I found it so majestic in its at first seemingly unfathomable originality and ingenuity of the human voice. The whole gimmick of course doesn't stay as fresh as the first time you listen through the album but even after you have gotten over the fact that there is nothing more then vocals and drums here, the experience is still one of hearing an extremely catchy and melodic metal album. No one can claim this is some kind of joke, although they have had much fun creating this opus of vocal work and the band lacks arguably the most important or certainly iconic part of a metal band, the guitar, this is a serious collection of songs and I can only begin to imagine how much hard work has gone into each one.

This is such a unique album emitting a master class of oratory talents coupled with the drums that create a must hear for anyone interested in melodic metal, and anyone interested in anything different and original because this piece of work ticks every box when it comes to doing what music should do - pleasure and entertain you as much as possible.


Band profile: Van Canto
Album: A Storm To Come


 



Written on 06.06.2007 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››



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__Az__ - 06.06.2007 at 00:34  
Wow, You've really made me want to listen to this now, I havent heard about anything as promising and original as this since Diablo Swing Orchestra.

Thanks for the review and the reccomendation, I will try and get my hands on some tracks...
Curtis the Bum - 06.06.2007 at 01:22  
i didnt even need the review (though it was good)- a cappella metal sounds so kickass and innovative!
Hyvaarin - 06.06.2007 at 03:19  
It's a gimmick, not innovation.

Nice review, though.
Bitch Boy - 06.06.2007 at 07:14  
It's an original band indeed, I liked the vocals, especially Inga's, but I think that the lack of real instrumentation results in a loss of sound quality, I mean, these guys would be great with guitars, keyboards, etc. but would lose their whole essence with this.

The review was really good though, made me get really interested in their work. Thanks for the recommendation Baz.
GT - 06.06.2007 at 09:10  
I have to listen to this...sounds very wierd and cool at the same time.

Thanks for the good review and the recommendation
Gurdjieff - 06.06.2007 at 09:55  
I've heard them and they're really good.
It's a new thing never seen before, Excelent
CyGuy6587 - 06.06.2007 at 15:47  
I discovered this band through youtube, and immediately downloaded the album off iTunes (couldn't find it anywhere else!), decent album, love the chorus on King!
Bad English - 06.06.2007 at 19:16  
What is A Capelle Power Metal
TheCybershifter - 06.06.2007 at 19:50  
Very interesting... Songs interestingly don't sound hollow even if there is no "real" instruments only drums.

Written by Bad English on 06.06.2007 at 19:16

What is A Capelle Power Metal


A Cappella is singing without any instrumental accompaniment, it is a very old expression, and I am sure you know what is power metal if you meant that...
Bas - 07.06.2007 at 17:44  
metal without any instrumentation apart from drumming... i dont know, i think i have to hear this for myself, it's quite of hard to imagine that this can really sound solid and not kinda "empty" if you know what i mean
Joop - 07.06.2007 at 18:31  
Nice concept.
The production could have been better though. It's very difficult to hear which vocal sings which part in the music.
They could have mixed it more like the vocals were actually guitars and stuff...
Maybe I could take them more serious then...
I do like the overall sound though, it's something different.

Maybe if they've done something else then Power Metal, I would actually like the music.
PM - 09.06.2007 at 15:33  
yes, since Diablo Swing Orchestra this is the most original album, no doubt!

and its even more original than dso i think..

but its very very melodic, and its a kickin ass power metal too!

im listening to it now, and its just beautiful!!

Unholy_Emperor - 10.06.2007 at 02:28  
Even if the proposal is original, this band lacks of power and real metal spirit... no way.
Baz Anderson - 10.06.2007 at 04:10  
Written by Unholy_Emperor on 10.06.2007 at 02:28

Even if the proposal is original, this band lacks of power and real metal spirit... no way.

have you even listened to the music? there is some power there..

thank you all for your comments, it's great to see I am not the only one that is loving this! I cannot urge you more to check them out if you haven't already - you will be amazed!
Unholy_Emperor - 11.06.2007 at 22:25  
I saw some time ago the videoclip of The Mission and I don't like it, they didn't look very metal, in any case you have your opinion and I mine.
GT - 28.11.2007 at 17:44  
Finally I heard the whole album...must say it good, very good actually. Only thing that annoys me is the female vocals...she doesn't fit in in most of the songs. It's like the had to put her in just because she's part of the band. The Battery cover is excellent.
Daggon - 13.10.2008 at 01:52  
Great voices in this album, they really have talent, and yes it has real power on it, this is metal, there is a lot of feeling in this album, they have spirit, so give them time to show what they can do! They should do some more covers, their original songs are good, but well, I can't stand too much of this for long periods of time.
iaberis - 11.11.2008 at 17:49  
Very weird stuff... In the begining I wonder if there could be metal with no guitars, but these guys are amazing in imitating sounds... Good but not my stuff...
Ellrohir - 03.09.2009 at 21:47  
Van Canto is really great...many bands do have guitars, but for nothing...Van Canto is producing nice stuff even without them :´)
Slayer666 - 09.12.2009 at 14:16  
It's an amaizing idea and everything, it even sound kinda good, but c'mon.... Metal without guitars? It looses all power that way. Blasphemy.
Although I have to congratulate the band for coming up with this. Really, nothing I've heard is as.... unorthodox as this.
Diabolos - 09.12.2009 at 18:10  
Written by Slayer666 on 09.12.2009 at 14:16

It's an amaizing idea and everything, it even sound kinda good, but c'mon.... Metal without guitars? It looses all power that way. Blasphemy.
Although I have to congratulate the band for coming up with this. Really, nothing I've heard is as.... unorthodox as this.

You're right, this album is missing power, but try the second one, imo it's way better and way more powerful!
Pétur - 09.12.2009 at 19:38  
Starts nicely but the gimmick loses it's power fast.
MadGatsu - 12.04.2010 at 19:38  
Is it just me or more people think this female vocalist (Inga Scharf ) would be the best replace after Tarja left?

PS: Absolutely love this band
Uirapuru - 22.04.2010 at 13:41  
My first contact with Van Canto was through this album.. and it was pretty good... I guess.

Even Power Metal being far from my favorite genre, just listening to the voices in this work is almost addicting... these songs would be average/bad metal songs if played with the proper instruments, but transmitted this way makes them very special.

Good album.
Milena - 29.03.2011 at 09:25  
They're a pretty amazing band.
Surion - 11.05.2011 at 08:27  
Haven't listened to this album, but I have "Hero" and I absolutely love it...the covers are great, but their own songs are quite good as well. Looking forward to listen to this and their 2010 album.

P.S. great review

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