Van Canto – “Dawn Of The Brave” (Napalm Records)
Now onto their 5th album, this unique A Cappella outfit (i.e. 5 singers using their voices to emulate instruments supported by one drummer) need no introduction. The original lure of Van Canto for me was that they were a fun band and they still are, but they have gotten so good and popular that the time has now come to push themselves, aiming for even higher standards by taking on lofty and legendary vocalists like Joey Tempest on their cover of ‘Final Countdown’ and Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, which incidentally was the inspiration behind the whole ‘hero’ image for this album. They’re both fine renditions and certainly push the bar higher for Van Canto, although still not quite up to par with their originals, as is the band’s ambitious attempt at ‘Into The West’ from Lord Of The Rings, not to mention a cover of ‘Paranoid’ which ironically is too clean for its own insanity! As I said though, if it’s all taken as fun or, of course if you enjoy A Cappella then all well and good, otherwise I would be looking to the band’s own material, which I feel is where the true hidden talent of Van Canto lies from the galloping power metal epic of ‘Fight For Your Life’ graced by femme sopranos and bombastic choral singing, to the sheer rockin anthem of ‘My Utopia’ and the chugging Accept like ‘Badaboom’ that really bring out the rakkatakka in this talented if often overlooked and misunderstood band.