Gregorian – Dark Side of the Chant

Gregorian is not normally the type of artist I would review, but because some of the songs they cover are metal in origin, and because I actually really like them, I’m going to do it anyway.

One of those other interests happens to be chant and choral style music. It’s not something I listen to all that often (though I did recently purchase a collection of Haydn’s Choral Works after loving the soundtrack music to the video game Skyrim) but this style of singing is just so incredibly relaxing. Since you all know how I’ve been complaining about the stress brought on by the holidays lately this seems like a good choice for today.

“Dark Side of the Chant” contains thirteen tracks, most of which are cover songs, but there are four original pieces as well. The lead track, and the one that sold me on this album, is a cover of Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna.” I actually bought a Carl Orff CD many years ago to own this song. I absolutely love this song, and so do you whether you know it or not. The song is so very epic (perhaps the most epic of all) and gets used all the time in movies and television and probably advertising as well. I first came to know the song in the 1981 Arthurian movie “Excalibur.” It’s songs like this that bridge the gap between classical and metal.

Gregorian also do chant covers of “Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC and “All I Need” from Within Temptation. I have to say hearing “Hell’s Bells” in Gregorian style with lines like “Satan’s comin’ for you” was a bit spine tingling. One normally expects to hear lyrics of praise in this style, so it was pretty cool to hear it go the other way for a change (even if it’s only the ultra homogenized AC/DC.)

That rounds out the metal covers, but there are also covers by other popular mainstream artists such as Depeche Mode, Nazareth, Evanescence (bleck), Madonna and the Alan Parsons Project. I wasn’t real keen on the Evanescence cover due to my distaste for that band, but Gregorian does a good job of it anyway. Madonna translates surprisingly well to the style.

I realize the hardcore metal heads out there may not find this to their liking, but this isn’t exactly mainstream radio fodder either, so maybe you might get into it. You know what I would really like to hear? I’d like to see Gregorian team up with Ghost for an album or even just a song. The evil pope backed up by a chant band, now that would be awesome. Anyway, think what you want, I like this album and will probably be playing it regularly over the next month.