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The Chant – Approacher

The Chant
by Harry Green at 11 September 2017, 3:02 PM

The concept of “urban” rock/metal is elusive. Rap or industrial would be the obvious candidates, but they’re far too pidgeonholed. Industrial metal is too futuristic and rap metal is too stupid. It’s rare I ever hear a band that properly evokes a cityscape in any sense. So far, DARK TRANQUILLITY, DISILLUSION and KATATONIA are the only bands that I’ve heard manage. THE CHANT aren’t really an example, but they come close. Formed in Helsinki, Finland, in 1999, THE CHANT released three full-length albums before this EP “Approacher” this year on June 23. First was “Ghostlines” in 2008, followed by 2010’s “This Is The World We Know” and lastly “A Healing Place” in 2012.

I hoped for a KATATONIA wannabe, to be honest. Even the name of the album, “Approacher”, resembles the song “Forsaker”. THE CHANT does resemble the Swedish icons in some broad ways, but interestingly, the band used to sound a great deal like a simpler AMORPHIS, especially since vocalist Ilpo Paasela was an almost indistinguishable sonic clone of Tomi Joutsen. His voice has since become less of a sonorous bass and more in line with typical prog sensibilities. THE CHANT’s music on “Approacher” is atmospheric, but also somewhat spacey and electronic. Of course it is. That much should have been obvious the second you looked at the cover. A photo-manipulated man in a hoodie and flat block font doesn’t exactly bring to mind an oompah band.

I do love the production on the drums; they sound powerful in a way that few bands manage. They went for an arena rock 80’s sound and then paired it with the kind of resonant bass you’ll hear in film trailers. The bass drum just booms through some songs, which compensates significantly for the predominant absence of electric guitars. “To Surrender” is probably the most notable example, while also being the most interesting and adventurous track here. It sounds much more gothic than the EP’s other material, with some stylistic resemblance to DISILLUSION’s aforementioned “Gloria” album. It also retains elements of movie soundtracks, with its punctuated forte bellowing through quietude. The softer elements prevail and the song becomes more PORCUPINE TREE later on. By contrast, “To Be Seen” sounds far more like the band’s previous work, specifically on “This Is The World We Know”. The album is largely either melodic, rhythmic or both, which helps in keeping the listener engaged. It’s probably the mildest thing THE CHANT have ever done, but it’s also slightly more exploratory. The band’s music has been largely safe until now, as indeed you might expect from an atmospheric group, but “Approacher” represents an important if tentative step toward honing a more unique sound.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8
Memorability: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Unsolved
2. To Surrender
3. Approacher
4. To Be Seen
Ilpo Paasela -vocals
Jussi Hämäläinen-guitar, vocals
Pekka Loponen- guitar, vocals
Kimmo Tukiainen-guitar
Markus Forsström-bass
Roope Sivén-drums
Mari Jämbäck-keys
Record Label: Lifeforce Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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