Van Canto - Trust In Rust review



Reviewer:
5.4

17 users:
6.29
Band: Van Canto
Album: Trust In Rust
Release date: August 2018


01. Back In The Lead
02. Javelin
03. Trust In Rust
04. Ride The Sky [feat. Kai Hansen][Helloween cover]
05. Melody
06. Neverland
07. Desert Snake
08. Darkest Days
09. Infinity
10. Hells Bells [AC/DC cover]
11. Heading Home


I haven't been an avid follower of Van Canto's career, but since heavy metal is the only part of the world I don't completely shut myself off from, I have been watching them from the sidelines for a good decade or so. 12 years after the first bubbly-bubbly-doo-doo-doo hit the scene, I was curious to hear how the unusual concept had held up, and I'm afraid to say that Trust In Rust is less run-diggy-dun and more of a long, slow sigh.

Of course Van Canto sounds ludicrous. That's part of the deal, part of the appeal, hopefully something we don't have to mince words over at this stage in the game. We still respect gimmick-based/joke bands in this house - see my reviews of Nekrogoblikon, Dethklok, and Babymetal - but all the other factors need proper attention if the project is going to get off the ground, and that's where Van Canto's latest falls apart. For starters, the production smashes everything into the front; the whole rhythm section, drums and dandandan vocals alike, becomes a distraction from the lead parts because there's no clear separation in the mix and no depth in the sound. "Melody" was my first taste of Trust In Rust and I almost didn't bother continuing; the sound is so confined and unflattering that it draws attention to how delicate the balance between successful Van Canto and unsuccessful Van Canto is.

Philip Dennis "Sly" Schunke, cofounder and former lead vocalist, sang with a charismatic snarl that said, "Yeah, this is stupid, but see how good we are." Hagen Hirschmann, who makes his debut on Trust In Rust as Van Canto's new frontman, doesn't sell me at all on this a capella metal shtick. His voice lacks intensity, which is paramount when you don't have a conventional band behind you to create the requisite heaviness naturally; instead, he sounds like a hoarse and elderly Michael Kiske. That might have made the Helloween cover vaguely curious if Kai Hansen hadn't showed up to handle the part, but overall it hampers Van Canto's aims, especially on this album, whose compressed sound sorely needs a dynamic frontman to break through the malaise. Listen to the cover of "Hells Bells"; fine, Hirschmann still isn't Chris Barnes, but he sure ain't Brian Johnson, and he's no Sly.

Go back to Hero or Tribe Of Force and you'll hear what makes Van Canto work: a leader with a commanding presence, atomically precise production that keeps every vocal part crisp and audible while leaving lots of breathing room, powerful songs that make up for the potential drawbacks of this unconventional method with creative melodies and prudent structures. Trust In Rust has its moments, but none worth writing home about. This sort of power metal is a little more neoclassical and symphonic than Blind Guardian, which is all right for some, but I myself feel that Van Canto's vocal lines were far more interesting when they were continuously trying to capture the melodic valor of "The Bard's Song" instead of fluffing doilies over the lamentably weak "Javelin" and "Infinity." The opener, "Back In The Lead," works as a fun overture track and the less ostentatious closer, "Heading Home," reaps some benefit from its low-key approach, but certainly the skeletal hard rock of "Desert Snake" doesn't make we want to come back.

I'm still sufficiently impressed by some of Van Canto's older work that I know this odd a capella metal style can be executed well, but I'm not so taken with the idea that I appreciate it at face value. It has to be done in just the right way, and Trust In Rust doesn't hit the mark for me.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Production: 4


 



Written on 11.08.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 4   Visited by: 65 users
14.08.2018 - 00:41
WorpeX
I'm just baffled as to why these guys still bother making original songs and haven't gone to being completely (or mostly) a cover band. I listen to them for their funny covers of amazing songs like Wishmaster, Battery, Kings of Metal, etc. I still often find myself playing the bands cover tracks for friends and showing them how crazy they are. The originals though? meh...
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16.08.2018 - 04:36
bloodwrage
Pagan Angel
Written by WorpeX on 14.08.2018 at 00:41

I'm just baffled as to why these guys still bother making original songs and haven't gone to being completely (or mostly) a cover band. I listen to them for their funny covers of amazing songs like Wishmaster, Battery, Kings of Metal, etc. I still often find myself playing the bands cover tracks for friends and showing them how crazy they are. The originals though? meh...

Yeah, it's the same as Apocalyptica. The gimmick drew me in because they were covering stuff I was familiar with. But I'm not sticking around for a cello trying to sound metal. I'll listen to Bach if I want cello and Wagner if I want great vocal lines.
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17.08.2018 - 12:22
Andreas
Van Canto gets really boring and mediocre when they're trying to be more original. In their pre DotB days they did a fair share of really fun covers, and somehow managed to throw in some enjoyable songs of their own. Especially Hero was really successful in that respect. Maybe I just want to hear more covers from them...
I'm really surprised about Hirschmann though. He's really good when he sings for Logar's Diary.
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17.08.2018 - 18:18
WorpeX
Written by Andreas on 17.08.2018 at 12:22

Van Canto gets really boring and mediocre when they're trying to be more original. In their pre DotB days they did a fair share of really fun covers, and somehow managed to throw in some enjoyable songs of their own. Especially Hero was really successful in that respect. Maybe I just want to hear more covers from them...
I'm really surprised about Hirschmann though. He's really good when he sings for Logar's Diary.


Good point! Hero was great combination of Covers and Originals. Gotta admit, after the initial disappointment that Speed of Light wasn't a Stratovarious cover, I did end up liking that original quite a bit!
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