Van Canto
Tribe of Force
Style: A capella (true) metal
Release date: March 26th 2010

Honestly, I was gobsmacked when I flipped this into the player the first time. If I hadn't already read in the promotional material that this was a German band, I'd have guessed that they were Finnish. Yes, it's that weird! That's a compliment, in case you wonder.

Putting five singers together with a drummer and leaving the guitarists and the keyboard chap out of the game is from a metal standpoint an insane thing to do. A bit like having four guys on cellos play Metallica and Sepultura if you catch my drift.

Ten years ago, on a field somewhere in the Netherlands, I witnessed a crowd of circa 50.000 gawk in amazement at four classically training cellists from Finland who pulled out their instruments and supported Metallica as if there was no tomorrow. I saw the same crowd turn into a crowd-surfing and headbanging mass when they after a few tunes realised that Apocalyptica meant business.

I could see the same happen to this lot. I wish I hadn't missed Van Canto at Wacken 2008. Must have been an interesting experience, one should think.

The metal Van Canto has decided to explore is for the most part the kind of thing you'd hear from bands like Nightwish and Blind Guardian (lo and behold, the album was produced by Charlie Bauernfeind who also did BG). This is not necessarily a bad thing, and works fine here.

Two cover tunes have been included; the über-classic Master of Puppets and one of Gravedigger's best moments, Rebellion, from the 'Tunes of War' album (which, as it happens, is the only Gravedigger album I like). I'm sure you'll appreciate that it's rather bizarre to hear these two well-known songs with no guitars and a lot of pom-de-pom-de-pom-du-du-du-du-du-doon-doon-racka-tacka-tacka-tacka in the background.

What makes the whole thing work for me is the fact that 'Tribe of Force' has a lot of groove and nerve, and that it at the same time is a lot of fun. These people have put their hearts into it, and combined with a musical understanding, something that in truth makes a difference.


01. Lost Forever (4:40)
02. To Sing A Metal Song (3:24)
03. One To Ten (4:06)
04. I Am Human (3:56)
05. My Voice (5:30)
06. Rebellion (4:05)
07. Last Night Of The Kings (3:52)
08. Tribe Of Force (3:17)
09. Water.Fire.Heaven.Earth (3:32)
10. Master Of Puppets (8:23)
11. Magic Taborea (3:22)
12. Hearted (4:00)
13. Frodo's Dream (3:06)

Label: Napalm Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 40/100
Reviewed by: Thomas Nielsen
Date: February 18th 2010