Masters of Chant - X: The Final Chapter
Release Date: November 20th, 2015
Germany’s seven tone scale masters, Gregorian, return with the final album in their Masters of Chant series. Appropriately titled, The Final Chapter the album features mostly minimal instrumentation behind the chant choir and covers hits like “The Living Years,” “Shout,” “Time to Say Goodbye,” and “I Shall Be Released,” among others.
I have to be honest here and say that I really enjoy chant music, but it’s not something I can stand to listen to over and over again. You really have to be in the right headspace to absorb this kind of album and not everybody can get there. When listening to this album for review I generally listened to the first half, took a break, and came back for the second half. I did it that way every single time and I think that really gives you some time to reflect and, quite honestly, also helps you not to fall asleep due to its soothing nature.
Of course, the voices here are spectacular. You simply cannot do this kind of music if your voice is subpar. Some songs stand out more to me than others, though, probably due to my familiarity with them. For example, “Shout” is hands down my favorite moment as the chanters lead drums, bass, and guitars through the journey and it gives it a much more upbeat feel than a lot of the album has. “The Living Years” also appealed to my more pop-oriented side. The song was tailor-made for a choir, although it works out a bit differently here tonally. It’s got a cool feel to it, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that it surprisingly lacks the power of the original. “Masters of Chant,” which opens the album is beautifully arranged with synth orchestrations and the voices coming together in a very fluid and atmospheric way that has a very positive vibe to it an. Also, worth noting is that Amelia Brightman’s gorgeous voice commands your attention when it takes center stage on this one.
Overall, this album has a very limited audience. While I know that most people won’t enjoy a record like this, I will say that if you have any interest at all in this style of vocal-led music then you should check out X: The Final Chapter. It may not “Wow!” you from start to finish, but there is more than enough excellent here to make it a worthy addition to your music collection.
Reviewed by mark1340