Rating:
8.0
Van Canto - Dawn Of The Brave
7 February 2014


Disc I
01. Dawn Of The Brave
02. Fight For Your Life
03. To The Mountains
04. Badaboom
05. The Final Countdown [Europe cover]
06. Steel Breaker
07. The Awakening
08. The Other Ones
09. Holding Out For A Hero [Bonnie Tyler cover]
10. Unholy
11. My Utopia
12. Into The West [Lord Of The Rings Soundtrack]
13. Paranoid [Black Sabbath cover]


Disc II [digibook edition bonus]
01. If I Die In Battle [orchestral version]
02. My Voice [orchestral version]
03. Take To The Sky [orchestral version]
04. Neuer Wind [Jovian Spin remix]
05. Lost Forever [acoustic version]
06. Last Night Of The Kings [choir version]


My first contact with Van Canto has been, to be honest, pretty painful. A classmate gave me his earphones suggesting me to listen to the "Master Of Puppets" cover, off their 2010 album Tribe Of Force. As my reaction was something like "Wow! These guys use their mouths better that your sister!", I went back home with the aching memory of a punch in the stomach and the name of Van Canto well written in my to-check-out mental list. From that very day, I've been a fervent fan of the German band.

This was to say that, as a fan, what the group showed prior to the release of Dawn Of The Brave have been decidedly worrying. Everything, from the cover art, with the weird superhero theme, to the promo single "Badaboom" seemed to be leading to an album that would be too fun-dedicated. Not that these guys have always been so grave, but they always respected rational limits, that this time were failing.

From this not-so-uncommon review structure, you'll already know by now what I'm going to say: luckily, I was wrong, since Dawn Of The Brave is a really good continuation of the Van Canto legacy.

Despite everyone bashing this band as a gimmick, this album shows once again these guys' unique talent of writing catchy, fun power metal leaving guitars at home. Like every other album of theirs, this last shows its pearls in the beginning, being every track until the wonderfully mastered cover of "The Final Countdown" an instant Van Canto hit - yes, also "Badaboom", in the three-and-a-half-minutes studio version, becomes a really immediate sing-along anthem.

As always, the second half slightly drags the album down, despite some picks of quality as in the Bonnie Tyler and Lord Of The Rings covers and in the power metal fun "The Awakening", lead by an increasingly influential Inga Scharf; while the ones who remind with pleasure the ballad "Last Night Of The Kings" will find their probable favorite in "The Other Ones". While in the last album the covers, usually a strength point for this band, were somehow not up to standards, this time they shine once again in the track-list, enriching an already good offering. From pop rearrangements to hard rock tracks dressed as epic metal, there's something to everyone's liking.

Almost three years have passed since Break The Silence, and this may be a sign of the ideas slowly running away from the band, but most likely I'm just wandering around with my imagination, since Van Canto stand strong once again with Dawn Of The Brave.


Band profile: Van Canto
Album: Dawn Of The Brave


 



Written on 22.01.2014 by
R Lewis
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.

So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
More reviews by R Lewis ››



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R Lewis - 22.01.2014 at 15:47  
* Grabs popcorn and waits for the usual Van Canto haters
Troy Killjoy - 22.01.2014 at 16:31  
Well since nobody has stepped up to the plate yet I'll be that guy, although I'll try to choose my words carefully.

I think this gimmick has gone way too far, even though you specifically point out in the review that they have a unique talent for writing good power metal. I would argue the opposite here (keeping in mind I don't listen to enough power metal to compare quality) in that their material has always sounded completely flat, plastic, and devoid of emotion - and the songs themselves are so simple and formulaic they might as well be considered pop "hits".

The review gets your point across and I'm glad someone out there finds this stuff worthwhile, but I seriously can't get into a band whose sole talent is singing mundane riffs.
Nemo Atkins - 22.01.2014 at 16:41  
I'm guessing the "use their mouths" comment was not meant to come across the way it did...

Anyway, this review is pretty good. I doubt I'll be agreeing with you when I actually get to hear the album (most of what I heard from the samples gave me a overwhelming feeling of "meh"), but you covered everything I could think of with this review. Makes me want to get back into reviewing, actually...

Also, I don't see Van Canto as gimmicky (or, as one commenter from another thread once said, "a poison to metal"). Would their material sound like something from a typical power metal band if it was done on traditional metal instruments? Yes, it probably would. But, really, is it bad that a band uses atypical instruments in the genre? Personally, I don't think so. I find it a nice breath of fresh air, and I'd like to hear more bands be willing to try to do stuff like Van Canto (in the "not using typical metal instruments" kind of way, not the "more A Cappella power metal, please!" kind of way).
Vombatus - 22.01.2014 at 16:47  
I was going to say something similar to Killjoy (but not as well explained ). One of those bands I can't stand at all. Although I do find quite admirable that they managed to survive more than the initial surprise effect when they first started.
R Lewis - 22.01.2014 at 16:52  
Written by Nemo Atkins on 22.01.2014 at 16:41

I'm guessing the "use their mouths" comment was not meant to come across the way it did...

Ehm... I'm afraid it was - obviously related only to the sister

Written by Nemo Atkins on 22.01.2014 at 16:41

I doubt I'll be agreeing with you when I actually get to hear the album (most of what I heard from the samples gave me a overwhelming feeling of "meh"), but you covered everything I could think of with this review.

That's the initial sensation I had too. I can ensure you that samples do not give the right idea of what the album is about: this is the reason why I wrote about my "worries".
Nemo Atkins - 22.01.2014 at 17:05  
Written by R Lewis on 22.01.2014 at 16:52

Ehm... I'm afraid it was - obviously related only to the sister

Wow...that must have been a really awkward situation for a while.
Written by R Lewis on 22.01.2014 at 16:52

That's the initial sensation I had too. I can ensure you that samples do not give the right idea of what the album is about: this is the reason why I wrote about my "worries".

Ah, OK. Normally, I'm not too bothered by samples not giving me a great impression of the album, but I've had a few bad experiences with albums recently (new Boston and Ashes Of Ares spring to mind), so I've been more cautious regarding new releases. I look forward to hearing this in full, then!
R Lewis - 22.01.2014 at 17:10  
Written by Nemo Atkins on 22.01.2014 at 17:05

Wow...that must have been a really awkward situation for a while.

Nah. Jokes about sisters/moms were common in my class
Rodney - 22.01.2014 at 17:18  
My problem with Van Canto has always been that I can't take them serious, I just find them too funny. I have their "Hero" album on my iPod for solely comedic purposes. Quite possibly the most unintentionally funny band out there.
boo-boo - 22.01.2014 at 20:03  
Written by Rodney on 22.01.2014 at 17:18

My problem with Van Canto has always been that I can't take them serious, I just find them too funny. I have their "Hero" album on my iPod for solely comedic purposes. Quite possibly the most unintentionally funny band out there.

Yep, same trouble here. Perhaps it's just my prejudice (or something of that sort), but to me they seem more like actors or stage performers.
Fat & Sassy! - 22.01.2014 at 23:48  
Written by Rodney on 22.01.2014 at 17:18

I have their "Hero" album on my iPod for solely comedic purposes. Quite possibly the most unintentionally funny band out there.


Maybe it's just me, but I think the whole concept of the band seems pretty damn tongue-in-cheek. Like the tongue is almost piercing through the cheek.
Boxcar Willy - 23.01.2014 at 02:38  
THIS IS BAD AND I DONT LIKE IT SO UR STUPID FOR WRITING THIS REVIEW AND UR BAD LOL
Lit. - 23.01.2014 at 02:56  
^Willy proves yet again why he's MetalStorm's village idiot.
Rodney - 23.01.2014 at 03:16  
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 22.01.2014 at 23:48

Written by Rodney on 22.01.2014 at 17:18

I have their "Hero" album on my iPod for solely comedic purposes. Quite possibly the most unintentionally funny band out there.


Maybe it's just me, but I think the whole concept of the band seems pretty damn tongue-in-cheek. Like the tongue is almost piercing through the cheek.


Very possible, but for me part of the humor has always been that they seem to take themselves so damn seriously. Whether or not that's intentional, I don't know, I just enjoy it.
Boxcar Willy - 23.01.2014 at 05:07  
Written by Lit. on 23.01.2014 at 02:56

^Willy proves yet again why he's MetalStorm's village idiot.

Because I was oh-so serious.

I'm fairly certain Cynic of K7 outweigh me heavily, also.
Mattybu - 23.01.2014 at 05:25  
Good review as always Mr Lewis, Van Canto is a good choice if you need a catchy tune every now and then and the new album sounds much the same.
The Shape 1973 - 24.01.2014 at 00:21  
Question.

How would you feel playing it to a non-metal friend?

Embarrassed much?
R Lewis - 24.01.2014 at 10:19  
Written by The Shape 1973 on 24.01.2014 at 00:21

Question.

How would you feel playing it to a non-metal friend?

Embarrassed much?

It depends of what kind of friend you're talking about. There are friends which I'd feel embarassed just making them listen to Kamelot's The Black Halo (one of my all-time favorites of the genre) while there are other to which I'd suggest Gloryhammer without many problems. Van Canto isn't an exception.
The Shape 1973 - 24.01.2014 at 16:30  
Written by R Lewis on 24.01.2014 at 10:19

Written by The Shape 1973 on 24.01.2014 at 00:21

Question.

How would you feel playing it to a non-metal friend?

Embarrassed much?

It depends of what kind of friend you're talking about. There are friends which I'd feel embarassed just making them listen to Kamelot's The Black Halo (one of my all-time favorites of the genre) while there are other to which I'd suggest Gloryhammer without many problems. Van Canto isn't an exception.

I could quite easily play The Black Halo or Gloryhammer to a friend, or play it loud in my car with the windows open. Not caring if people liked it or not....but Van Canto? My confidence and couldn't care less attitude only goes so far.
Warman - 31.01.2014 at 17:38  
I actually look forward to this album. Van Canto is like the shittiest thing I've ever heard, me and my friends laughing our asses off to the "music". We could use some new songs. "The Final Countdown" will surely be just as bad as the other covers.

Sure, they're talented but there's absolutely nothing with this band that I find good.

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