The Chant – New Haven (Lifeforce)

Sunday, 15th June 2014
Rating: 8/10

Even if they’re a few shades (of grey) from ascending to the top rung of Finnish dark rock/metal, The Chant sure know how to be ominously soothing. Barely metallic, splintered the occasional guitar push, the band largely relies upon open space…and lots of it. They’re not going to get shove-y like Katatonia does when the down-tuned riffs are going, nor are they going to blend Pink Floydian-elements off the cuff like glory years Anathema, but, The Chant rests firmly between that area (whatever it is), and on New Haven, they’re going to make a lot of atmospheric chasers happy.

Positioned as more dark than its solid A Healing Place (2012) predecessor, New Haven is in constant slow-build mode. The climbing, alt-rock guitars of opener “Earthen” ring out much like most of the band’s prior catalog – dense, and haunting. The band moves sometimes in slow-mo, but well within space, making “Earthen,” along with “Falling Kind” deep, harmonious cuts, along the lines of what Antimatter is doing at the present time, just without the striking lyrical bent. Vocalist Ilpo Paasela continues his growth, as evidenced by the passionate pleas found on “Cloud Symmetry,” and album standout, “Until We Have To Witness It.”

Chalk-full of carefully crafted numbers, New Haven find The Chant now fully settled into the comfort zone. The only bit of trouble may be that the band lacks the daring qualities the aforementioned Anathema and Katatonia possess. Those two have found ways to routinely challenge one another…not so sure if The Chant will go that route, but for the time being, New Haven is rather recommended.

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