10 Viral Metal Bands That Didn't Stay Popular

Becoming a viral sensation requires a lot of luck, but staying relevant requires even more skill.

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In the modern era of music, every new band and artist prays for *something* about their image or sound to go viral. It's a phenomenon which transcends all styles and genres, with sightings being dramatically exacerbated in more recent years, owing to the market domination of playlist culture. Reviews from last year’s Reading Festival even noted how the crowd for Willow dramatically slimmed down following her performance of megahit “Wait a Minute!”, with punters otherwise unaware or uncaring of the rest of her output.

While alternative music fans are traditionally more accustomed to album listens, it does not mean we are innocent of condemning a band to obscurity after getting our 15-minute fix of enjoyment (or 15 seconds if it’s Tik Tok).

After breaking into the zeitgeist with an eye-catching gimmick or song, the following groups tried to ride their momentum into the dream career of world-domination, and take their sound to the four corners of the globe. However, the inconvenient truth is success of that level is but for a chosen few, and after their time in the sun, these artists either clung on via the nostalgia market, becoming a life-long festival line-up filler, or were condemned to obscurity, and eventually fizzled out altogether.

10. Van Canto

German power metal outfit Van Canto made headlines in the late 2000s, thanks to their notable line-up of one instrument across seven members.

The group instantly became a roadie’s wet dream as they backed a single drumkit with a cappella vocals – which they would dub “rakkatakka”. The unique instrumentation grabbed everyone’s attention, possessing a definitive “seen to be believed” quality, which they then immediately combined with the alt music fan cheat code of “play the classics but do it weird”.

Breaking ground with their covers of Metallica, Manowar, Nightwish, Iron Maiden and more, Van Canto polarised sturdier metalheads purists. Still, they refused to be deterred and struck while their iron was hot, releasing four albums in five years to relatively decent responses from critics and fans at each venture (though it’s hard to properly gauge as 2008’s Hero scored both a 95% and a 0% on Metal Archives).

With the novelty waning away, Van Canto settled into the European festival scene, making a multitude of appearances at Wacken Open Air, Masters of Rock, and a trip overseas as part of 70,000 Tonnes of Metal. Their latest album, To the Power of Eight, was released quietly in 2021.


Wish.com Jules Gill. Pretty fond of heavy music, Arsenal, video games and wrestling.