Review: Red Moon Architect – Return of the Black Butterflies

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A snowflake silently falling from the sky, glimmering in the light of the misty winter morning, lands on the snow, the white blanket burying the life. A sneaky intro let more snowflakes glitter in the promise of the spring, which isn’t coming, for we’re in the north where the winter lasts much longer. in the low layers of the earth, the music awakens comes out of the mist and look up to the sky just before the sunrise. The moon still shines up there and the red glimmer on the horizon is not a good sign. This winter shall never end…

Red Moon Architects is a band gifted with the talent of telling the stories… whole books of melancholic tales echoing in the isolated tones and chords. These masters of melodic doom metal appeared on the scene in 2011, together with the new wave of Finnish atmospheric metal, with a modern sound, deep lyrics and perfect instrumentation, all supported by brilliant sound recordings. Their third full-length album ‘Return of the Black Butterflies’ is yet another step forward in their style and music ideas. The new melodic candy is coming on the market after the brilliant album ‘Vapaus’ by ‘Kaunis Kuolematon’, providing us with the best of Finnish death doom scene.

The band, lying mainly on the shoulders of a multi-instrumentalist Saku Molainen, who is also known from other interesting bands (e.g. RoutaSielu, Hypothesis, Crimson Sun), caught listeners’ attention with their debut album ‘Concealed Silence’. The concentrated melody, combining the dark, pulsing harsh vocal with a woman element in a very elegant way, found its way to the ears of listeners quite quickly. The album which releases on the 19th of May could be somehow familiar for those, who know the fist album. ‘Black butterflies’, the third track of the first album is coming back to live in the title of the latest album together with all its deep, dark melancholy.

The heavy sound creates an atmosphere of an endless abyss and sometimes touches the deadly bottom in an almost funeral rhythm is hearable on the third track ‘Tormented’. The distinctive sound of keyboards, slightly suppressed lead guitar, heavy rhythmicity and story-telling character of the song, are what makes the style of the band. the musicians are trying to create the fully instrumental music regardless the presence of the vocalists. The vocalist too turns out to be instruments more than those, who stand in the front, dictating the music’s pace. I really appreciate the use of the female vocal in the track ‘Return of the Black Butterflies’, because only a few bands can actually work with female vocals well enough. It’s usually too piercing, too sharp, getting all the listener’s attention for itself and leaving none for the music. However, this doesn’t happen in the case of Red Moon Architects, where the full voice of Anni Viljanen doesn’t take the reins, dominating the music. The band has found a brilliant singer, who seems to have no ambition of turning Red Moon Architects into her own project and remain within the music, thus making it even more well-balanced.

When I listen to the track ‘End of Days’, which is preceded by a long, seemingly monotonous prelude leading us to the open, distant landscape build of the tones of the organ, I realise how much Red Moons Architect loves the work with instrumentation. That is the character of the whole album. And it is this depth of monotonous instrumental perfection reminding the 19th-century novels, what makes Red Moon different and distinguished from otherwise similar Kaunis Kuolematon. Whereas Kaunis Kuolemton built their music on the lyrical vocals and precise lines of every instrument, Red Moon Architect created a heavy sound which appears to be almost static. It’s a gigantic stone massive of a music, which had been carefully thought of. It’s a music leading a listener into a depression and void. It’s a picture of an apocalypse in the soul of a man who’s lost all hope.

Finns are good at enjoying melancholy and depression, they feel strong in painting this sort of emotional states. It also seems that they feel at home in this musical expression. What they also find natural is an intellectual approach to the music, but thanks to the fact they’re in fact quite emotional, their doom metal is never too distant or artificial.  Maybe it’s due to their emotionality and love for intellect, that this particular style is so uniquely good in Finland.

The album relies on very good music features. It’s melodically ambiguous music. There is no motif, which would remain in listener’s head easily, but the overall experience and atmosphere of the album find its’ way into our memory quite easily. Taking this into consideration, I can say that the album is actually conceptual one. It works only as a whole.

The fragile beauty of the six tracks fades away with the last song ‘NDE’. Forty-eight minutes of the music leaves the feeling of sadness, symmetry and want of more. I feel obliged to write, that this high-quality album, worth an investment other than just emotional one… owning a physical copy of this brilliant work really has a real value.

Translation: Toini Střítezská

 

O autorovi

- spisovatelka, nakladatelka, publicistka - reviews focused on Finnish metal - Rubrika: Finský koutek

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