Lifeforce Records (2012)
An eight song, 54 minute journey through atmospheric, doom-laden rock and metal landscape with occasional progressive touches from this Finnish septet- The Chant release their third album “A Healing Place” at a time when the world appears quite receptive to this style. Look at the success through the years of Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, and A Perfect Circle to know ambiance plus an alternative outlook can equal emotional and musical connection.
Musically The Chant reminds me of a cross between The Gathering’s electric fused charge during their “Mandylion” days along with an atmospheric kick from the British movement a la Anathema or Paradise Lost. Vocally Ilpo Paasela has a softer, passive sing/ song restraint which matches up perfectly to the hypnotic, dynamic chord structures and rhythms- the best examples of his fine work include “The Black Corner” and “Distant Drums”. With three guitarists, the band can adeptly explore harmonies and light/dark contrasts which “Spectral Light” encourages, one of their best slow developing arrangements as spoken dialogue adds dramatic tension to the proceedings.
Outside saxophone play appears during the heavier instrumental break for “Outlines”, almost assuring spasmodic brain and body movement not only for the band but also for the listener. It’s so important to know when to change up the tempo and go for the right propulsive fill, or double up the guitar parts, or even when to let a keyboard tone hold the resounding cinematic concluding thoughts- and this group fire high at all these elements.
Cult their following will be, the question remains how large the tribe that follows The Chant will be in the end. Based on “A Healing Place”, the universe could gravitate in their direction- it must be the influence of weather and harsh winters that produces such intelligent, engaging and enduring music.
Rating: 5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe