Voices Of Fire

Van Canto

their best vocal performance

Score: 10/10

In 2006, a band made a big stir in the Heavy Metal scene with their self-produced album "A Storm To Come". Van Canto presented their 'Hero Metal A Capella' to the general public: seven of their own compositions combined with two cover tracks. At the time the singers were ridiculed, but they have since established themselves with highly acclaimed appearances on the "Full Metal Cruise" and at "Wacken Open Air". Ten years after the establishment, a new chapter is now opened: the cross-media project "Van Canto Metal Vocal Musical".

On the 11th March the album "Voices Of Fire" will be released, as well as the book "Voices Of Fire " by bestselling author Christoph Hadebusch a week later. "One cannot say whether our album is the music for the book, or the novel the book to the music" says singer Sly, who designed—with the book's author—the background story. A well-known format is used—the eternal battle of light against darkness—but instead of the usual magic, the heroes use their voice. The fifth dragon, an omnipotent creature of darkness is awakened and wants to subjugate the world. The bard Aidan learns that he has a special gift which could play a decisive role in the fight against the dragon: the songs of magic... 

For this ambitious project the musicians have brought renowned support on board. The London Metro Voices are heard in soundtracks of many great movies ("Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", etc) and now they provide the bombastic choruses on "Voices Of Fire"; the spoken words are dictated by none other than John Rhys-Davis (Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies, dwarf Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy), one of my favorite actors; and the front cover and various illustrations contributed by the South American Phantasy artist Osmar Arroyo.

And we can hear music!  There is a lot of music and a lot of singing. All the compositions are in accordance with the very epic concept, and that is probably the biggest difference to 'conventional' Van Canto albums. The lead singers, Inga Scharf and Philip Dennis Schunke (Sly), sing brilliantly on the album—their best vocal performance I've ever been able to experience from them—and Stefan Schmidt, Ross Thompson, and a new arrival in Jan Moritz (Stimmgewalt) apply their voices in an extremely song oriented way. The drumming of Bastian Ehmig is indeed dominant, but knows when to back off and allow the concept to take center-stage. It's difficult to highlight individual songs here. The compositions and arrangements act as a unified whole, but tracks such as "Dragonwake" or "The Bardcall"—which was also shot as a video—stand out as two of the most epic songs of the album. 

With "Voices Of Fire: The Van Canto Metal Vocal Musical", they have succeeded in crafting a masterpiece; a concept album that is fun from the beginning to the end. Certainly the advocates of "one and only trve Heavy Metal" will prefer to throw this album in the throat of the fifth dragon, but for fans of Melodic Epic Heavy Metal it is certainly a must buy!

Lineup: 
Philip Dennis Schunke (Sly) – Lead-Vocals
Inga Scharf – Lead-Vocals
Stefan Schmidt - Deeper „Rakkatakka“-Vocals, Wah-Wah-Sologuitars-Vocals
Ross Thompson - Higher „Rakkatakka“-Vocals
Jan Moritz - Deeper „Dandan“-Vocals
Bastian Emig – Drums

Label: earMUSIC / Edel
Release date: 11.03.2016  
Play time: 55:25

Track list:  

  • Prologue 
  • Clashings On Armour Plates 
  • Dragonwake 
  • Time And Time Again 
  • All My Life 
  • Battleday's Dawn 
  • Firevows (Join The Journey) 
  • The Oracle 
  • The Betrayal 
  • We Are One 
  • The Bardcall 
  • To Catharsis 
  • Epilogue 
  • Hymn (Bonus Track Mediabook) 

Rainer Kerber, February 29, 2016