The town of Kouvola is often referred to as the “largest lighted cemetery” in Finland. Finland, which also happens to be seen as cold and where coldheartedness rules over people. While keeping in mind these stereotypes it seems like it’s the perfect ground for funeral doom metal bands. The Finnish funeral doom metal band Red Moon Architect is one of those bands who came from there. The band released their third album “Return of the Black Butterflies” in May. The name of the album subtly refers to one of the tracks on their debut album called “Black Butterflies.”
Like rain clattering from the sky, falling softly onto the ground, the intro track of Return of the Black Butterflies immediately grabbed my attention. It sets a certain atmosphere that has so much suspense that waiting for the next song is filled with a rollercoaster of emotions.
The build up is thus intense, but very interesting and the transition to the next part of the same song “The Haunt” is flawless. Anni’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful and a nice combination with new vocalist Ville Rutanen. So far it seems like he has the same power and energy than his predecessors, even though perhaps a bit less intelligible. But he seems like a great addition to the band. All in all the vocals fit well together and deliver this kind of extra deep level to the atmosphere of the entire album.
The guitars have a very slow feel, but are very intense and make the songs very intriguing. They are very melancholic and can also move the listener in the way that they deliver a certain story that is very believable and comprehensive. The keyboards sound a bit more subtle, they don’t go screaming around for attention in most songs, however this is something that is very important for this album, because they now add up to this ghostly, perhaps even eerie atmosphere.
When talking about the more technical side of the player, all players are very well and everything is played beautifully. Because of the slow tempo however, the songs are maybe not too complex, and one might argue that because of that the song could perhaps lack a bit more of defined melody lines. Because of all its simplicity and minimality however, the songs create a certain atmosphere, which is also important to achieve and even more so to maintain through out the whole album. It’s a very important thing with doom metal to be able to tap into the emotions of the listeners and this album has thus very much to offer, because it does precisely that. Which also seems like a very complicated process on its own.
As a soundscape this album is incredibly captivating and beautiful, ghostly even and even though with all its heaviness and melancholy, it leaves you also space to breathe and to reflect.
The album consists of six songs and all of them have a very similar mood connected to them, even though as separate tracks they are very diverse, dynamic and heavy. And somehow I feel that the choice of album art also fits perfectly to the whole atmosphere of the album, which in a way seems a very light piece of art, but the twisting and turning, fog and the black butterflies of course, give this kind of a melancholic effect to the album cover and fits for example perfectly with the outro of “End of Days”, which even though is a very dark song, somehow has this hopefulness at the end of the track.
So in general to anyone who enjoys doom metal as a genre, this album is definitely one that should be on your shelf and is definitely one of the better Finnish releases so far in 2017.
Saku Moilanen – Drums & Keyboard
Ville Rutanen – Vocals
Matias Moilanen – Guitar
Anni Viljanen – Vocals
Jukka Jauhiainen – Bass