We’ve got some gothic-tinged dark melancholic atmospheric rock/metal on our hands here from where else than Finland. As I’ve mentioned before, the pedigree Scandinavia has for the dark and slightly morose is plentiful, as we are all aware, and The Chant are out to add to it with a new 4 track EP. I’m told they’ve been around since 1999 and have had a few releases out there, but this is the first one I personally have heard so what do we have?

The Chant 2017 utilize plenty of loops and samples to spruce up an atmospheric gloominess not a million miles away from a cross between Green Carnation, Entwine and the recent Beseech album. Like Green Carnation, mood is everything and standard song structures are easily dispensed with in favour of soundscapes balancing light and shade to varying degrees as necessary. There’s also a little Riverside here and there (the vocal lines on ‘To Be Seen’ for instance) bringing a hint of progressiveness that also in turn adds a further unexpected air to proceedings. The samples etc. are never obtrusive, they are just another element to the band’s sound, and it should be noted The Chant nudge nearer to rock than metal for most of the time, firing any heaviness into a song out of nowhere (like in opener ‘Unsolved’ and the title track). There doesn’t immediately appear to be statutory choruses or verses from the laid back mid-toned vocals, just vocals that suit the piano/keys, acoustic or heavy guitar, and lay themselves across the song as needed.

It’s all about flow with The Chant. Each individual song or all four together, their sound drifts across the minutes rather than impacts. There’s nothing really on any of the four tracks that on first listen leaps out…or so you think. It’s a grower that’s for sure. Further listens bring more rewards and you remember far more than you thought you did – it just seeps in there! These aren’t songs to fill a mosh-pit, these are borderline reflective musings to be enjoyed with a glass of wine in a darkened room, contemplating the images and moods they conjure up. A full-length album should follow soon, hopefully it will give the band more space to expand, push their extremities further and to unlock themselves even more, but the band seem happy in their own skin and this brings it’s own confidence and diversity. This EP won’t be to everyone’s taste, but what is? Music stimulates, it does it in all manner of ways, and this reflective aspect of melancholy shows The Chant at their most perceptive, encouraging reflections from all angles of the human psyche.

(7/10 Andy Barker)