Review Summary: Duh duh duh, duhnuhnuhnuhnuh! Duh duh duh, duhnuhnuhnuhnuh!
If you're not familiar with Germany's Van Canto
, I highly suggest you open a new tab and watch the video for "Lost Forever", the spearhead track on their new effort Tribe of Force
. I want you to notice the fact that they even do "thpfthpfthpf" sounds with their mouths for the flag the guy is waving around. Now, if you can make it through that video without bursting into intense, wracking fits of near painful laughter, you may take some objection to this review.
With an attitude inspired equally by schlockmeisters Manowar
and the bits where Beavis and Butthead would "duh nuh nuh" their favorite tunes, Van Canto
is Before the Dawn
meets a barbershop quartet. The biggest thing that people will want you to know is that this a cappella metal outfit is not, in fact, gimmicky. I'd liken them to a modern Days of the New
, where they were in fact a middling outfit stuck in the midst of a crowded genre and used an odd form of instrumentation to set them apart. Days
used acoustic-only compositions, and Van Canto
uses 3 people going "dun dun dun". I mean, if the only reason your music is seen as good is because you play it a bit differently, I'm going to have to say that that's the very definition of gimmickry.
Yes, Bel Biv Dakrua
occasionally flirt with experimentation, molding the boys chorus oohs and aahs with their "rakkatakka" (I'm not making that word up... their bass is called "Dan dan" vocals... man I don't even...) style, blurring the line between the guitars they're supposed to represent and a Christmas recital. But it doesn't ever take off. It almost always sounds hollow and shallow, regardless of the complexity of the piece.
You want a good laugh? Listen to the female lead try the melodic solo from their cover of "Master of Puppets", where she is actually on key about fifty percent of the time.
What it all boils down to is songwriting, and the writing present in Tribe of Force
is overdone, redone, and half-baked gothic metal that it would take a miracle from the great above to drag this effort out from the novelty category it so fitting has been thrust into. Other groups have taken odd angles at modern metal and rock, like Apocalyptica
, and the results have been pretty spectacular. But while that group contains somber tones and highly-trained musicians in a string quarter, Boyz II Moonspell
contains people with a rough understanding of a few basic scales and saying "Dum dum din".
The most preposterous thing about these douchecanoes is the air of supremacy and pretentiousness surrounding everything they do. If they likened themselves to a Richard Cheese
outfit, I could see the value in such a group. Instead they aim right for the throat with hardened seriousness that would make even Bolt Thrower
tell them to calm it down. Even if the members in this group were excellent vocalists (which they are not), and could throw out some serious Dio
level vocal gymnastics, that would be excellent as well. But they aren't able to. Even their lead singer has several, visible, and glaring weak points in his vocal performance.
is a miserable pile, but much like Plan Five from Outer Space
, it's worth experiencing for nothing less that it's failed attempts at being a serious outfit. I can't say I recommend buying the album, but check out a few tracks. It may be the best laugh you have all week.