Canadian rockers Van Halst have recently released their new album “World of Make Believe”, listenable through a stream on idobi.com. Those familiar with In This Moment, Evanescence, and Halestorm will be able to identify easily with this album. It’s hard-rock with a vocalist, Kami van Halst, who isn’t afraid to growl when necessary.
The album opens with the ironically titled ‘The End‘ and it’s evident the band are pulling on the tropes of many contemporary arena-ready-hard-rock bands, with the addition of darker, heavier vocals. The following song ‘Save Me‘ again plays on the metal meeting identifiable verses, with the simplistic instrumental work, and the chant-a-long chorus, on this song, it is understandable why it was chosen as the flagship of the album.
‘Questions‘ is another song which should have been considered for the single, it’s the perfect pace and song structure as well as lends itself, in its content, to a wider audience. ‘Denying Eyes‘ is not the album’s first ballad yet it is one of the better songs restrained by the likely song structure. It does, however, build up well and demonstrates the dynamics of Kami’s voice really well, it just ends too quickly before reaching a full climax.
“World of Make Believe” is built for fans of vaguely-symphonic female-fronted heavy metal music. They may already be preaching to the converted, however. Whilst Kami does possess a great clean voice, and a capable growl, the songs are built solely for her voice. There is notable guitar work on this album in the solos, but by and large it’s a traditional arena-rock-radio amalgam of instrumentals; some good riffs here and there but mostly instrumental simplicity that doesn’t inspire, and is unchallenging. There is definitely a market for it, but a shakeup is needed if they want to dominate it.