The Chant – A Healing Place (Lifeforce Records)

Monday, 25th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Appropriately marketed for the Katatonia/Anathema/Porcupine Tree crowd, Finnish atmospheric rockers The Chant craft these sort of carefully calculated songs that are as wistful as they are gentle. Like, there’s not a trace of angst or distorted gusto to be found across the band’s third album, A Healing Place, which was also the same case for 2010’s This Is the World We Know. Therefore, The Chant pretty much have this territory covered for Finland.

Eight songs comprise of A Healing Place, the bulk of which are awfully labored and full, which is in contrast to Katatonia’s compact forays. It’s hardly a feast or famine situation, for The Chant are all soothing all the time. Like a day spa or something…and it’s well-documented as to how much our Finnish friends enjoy a good spa. At any rate, immediate and striking cuts like album standout “Spectral Light” and the progressive “Distant Drums” ring with a pointed restraint that is easy to get one’s head around.

The crisp and comforting vocals of Ilpo Paasela serve as the guide, and the man is usually spot-on in the calm department, with choice chorus moments coming in on “Riverbed” and “The Black Corner.” Even when The Chant goes the experimental route on “My Kin,” Paasela is able to find his bearings, this time, in whispered and hushed tones that fall perfectly in line with the rest of his work across the album.

Sure to get a much-needed promotional boost via Lifeforce, The Chant has started a new phase of their career on the right foot with A Healing Place. There’s several parallels that we can draw to the aforementioned trio, but unlike Katatonia and Anathema, The Chant has no real metal background to work from, which down the road, could serve them quite well if they decide to up the ante in the metal department.

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