Van Canto - Dawn of the Brave
Napalm Records
A Capella/Power Metal
13 songs (49'48'')
Release year: 2014
Van Canto, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Jared

When I first heard of the concept for the band Van Canto a couple years back, I hardly could imagine that the music could sound heavy simply with the use of the voice. In fact, the only instrument in the band is drums that accompany the group of five voices. Tribe of Force was the first album I had the opportunity to hear this “a cappella metal.” I admit that the use of the voice to substitute solos and the rhythm of guitars may have come off as a bit goofy with some songs, but Van Canto, alongside their newest album Dawn of the Brave, shows that they emit a powerful vocal energy that feels unique for metal.

Dawn of the Brave begins with marching style vocals with the introductory self-titled album track. Its uplifting strong start quickly gets even stronger with the track Fight for your Life which easily was one of my favorite tracks to revisit. To the Mountains begins with a bit of a more goofy start, as I had mentioned before about some of their songs in previous albums, but it’s hardly necessary to see the need to add actual guitars, because doing so would ruin the experience with this unique listen.

Badaboom drums along with a more tribal feel, and might be the most amusing track this album provides. The chorus is catchy and easily can overtake anyone who is appreciative of just plain outstanding vocals. Interestingly after a bit of research, the music video for this song included fans hilariously depicting various metal acts such as Metallica. To add further, the album contains no guest vocalists, and this time 200 fans were given the opportunity to record some choir sections for the album.

For a Van Canto album, covers come standard. Such covers include Europe’s The Final Countdown, Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero, Annie Lennox’s Into the West, and my personal favorite, Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. All of them are done quite well and put a unique touch to these already memorable songs.

The album does feel power metal influenced, especially with the beat the drums carry at times especially with the song The Awakening. The album gets slower with the track, The Other Ones, which layers the vocals beautifully and evokes a stronger emotion than the other songs were able to. The combined force off all five voices is just lovely beyond words.

Van Canto’s a cappella take on metal is indeed distinctive for metal. The use of the voice to layer each track in place of instruments is indeed an impressive feat and an experience that is more than worthy of checking into if you haven’t already. I know at times the rhythm provided by the voices in certain tracks might come off as humorous at times in certain songs, but Van Canto’s take on metal is one I’ve always enjoyed, and I still quite do.

Killing Songs :
Fight for Your Life, Badaboom, Steelbreaker, The Awakening, The Other Ones, Paranoid
Jared quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Van Canto that we have reviewed:
Van Canto - Break the Silence reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Van Canto - Tribe of Force reviewed by Alex and quoted 82 / 100
Van Canto - A Storm To Come reviewed by Ross and quoted 85 / 100
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