The Chant is Finland’s take on the melancholic and sets out to challenge the likes of Katatonia and Anathema in their main game. At times The Chant break the barriers and soar through sound waves, succeeding in in taking their music to that next level of melancholy and mellow walls of sound. So what is stopping The Chant from hitting it big time? Absolutely nothing.
Writing about the sadness that tears in each and every one is no easy task. The words tend to get bent out of shape and the meanings turn banal. Those grand lines of broken hearts turn into pathetic moaning. The Chant turns the listener’s center of attention to atmosphere and professional musicianship instead of the main ore of lyrics. In fact, it is hard to really remember or comprehend what is going on in the singing under all the other instruments. The walls of sound are built slowly, with ease and piety, until the listener is about to be crushed under massive emotional waves then released again to the surface. And so the next wave hits.
The production deserves extra credit. Mikko Herranen has done a perfect job in putting every sound into its destined place and given the overall mix a cleanness and balance it needs. The bands’ playing is tight and sometimes the song structures give way for atmospheric guitar walls that drift into eternity. The piano gives the release a strong foundation and Mari Jämbäck's approach to the piano sounds surprisingly fresh. Mixing the vocals like an instrument also works perfectly and fits the release as a heavy fog on a lonely moor. Ilpo Paasela's voice is clean yet very mellow and fragile, giving the release a very desolate feel. Just the way it’s supposed to be.
In the end, the only real problem with the album is the foreseeable outcome of most songs. The Chant could offer more surprises like the absolutely gorgeous saxophone on the tracks Outlines and Distant Drums. Perhaps a couple of more up-tempo tracks would have given the record the leverage it needs to carry its weighty bulk with ease.
The album is filled with hooks and interesting arrangements, casting out your lines for the listener to swallow. This makes it easy for the band to draw in the victim for another listen, again and again.
The Chant has set out to create an ambitious, sentimental record and truly succeed in most parts. To really stand out of the crowd however, a certain fine-tuning would be in order, giving the whole a little extra push towards the right direction. Now almost every song is over six minutes in length and share many similarities in structure. After all, the album is a whole and needs abrupt changes in mood to keep the blood flowing. Now we are near perfection.