Band Photo: Van Canto (?)
From: Bingen am Rhein, Germany
Last Known Status: Active
Van Canto Interviews and Features
Below are our features and interviews with Van Canto.
Nobody can accuse Van Canto of being cookie-cutter imitators. Being the only power metal a cappella band in the world, they are truly one of a kind. However, there is a valid argument about whether the band is metal or not. I mean, the group doesn't use a guitar player. Distorted guitar is a defining characteristic of metal music. Crunchy guitar riffs are nowhere to be found, but the group utilizes other elements that draw head bangers to this type of music such as thunderous war drums and rafters-reaching vocals.
Just like any power metal group of worth, Van Canto features a strong voice in the front of the mix. In this case, there are five strong vocalists. Also the group has the majesty and might of power metal's fantasy-based lyrics, often paying homage to the great J.R.R. Tolkien. On "Dawn of the Brave," the group's fifth full-length recording, Van Canto once again offers its choirs of voices on original and cover tunes. They get the guitar outta here on "Badaboom" and give their listeners an empowering anthem with "Fight for Your Life." Covers wise, Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" gets their special vocal treatment while the lovely Inga Scharf revisions Annie Lennox's "Into the West" from the final "Lord of the Rings" film.
I spoke to Stefan Schmidt on the phone concerning "Dawn of the Brave." He is the band's "rakkatakka" singer--the group's bassist, if you will, as he provides the bottom end sounds. Although this was his last interview of the day, Schmidt spoke with much excitement on the forthcoming recording. Due to the response garnered by sneak-peak tracks, he feels fanfare is reaching critical mass. This topic and much more on the career of Van Canto is revealed below.
In 2006, somewhere along the banks of the mighty Rhein in Midwestern Germany, an idea was born. Out of the ashes of “regular power metal acts” like Jester’s Funeral, Fading Starlight and Deadly Sin, a new vocal project had quickly turned into what we now know as “power a cappella metal.” The idea seemed simple enough…take power metal songs and strip out all the instruments. While most metal fans roll their eyes and scoff at the idea of metal without guitar, laughing it off as an oddity and a gimmick, what resulted was arguably the most creative band ever assembled.
It started with “A Storm To Come,” an eerily prophetic title, and a cover of Metallica’s “Battery.” Unlike Apocalyptica’s cello version, the song was redefined with no loss of power despite the fact that the band is made up of only five singers and a drummer. Since then, Van Canto has gained momentum with two more releases (“Hero” and “Tribe Of Force”), hooking in fans with highly memorable original anthems and redefining covers of metal classics, culminating in the highly successful set at the 2011 Wacken festival.
Now, Van Canto is back with its fourth release, “Break the Silence” [reviewed here]. If the prophecy of the first release rang true, then the new album very well may break the silence to the rest of the world. Founder Stefan Schmidt spoke to metalundergound.com and explained the origins of the band, fighting through the criticism and the nuances of “rakkatakka.” More...