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Red Moon Architect - Kuura Award winner

Red Moon Architect
Kuura
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 13 May 2019, 1:49 AM

Finland’s RED MOON ARCHITECT is a Melodic Death/Doom Metal band but with “Kuura” they try their hand at Funeral Doom.  Does it work?  For the most part, it is a resounding yes.  Listened to as a whole, “Kuura” is an impeccable example of the dismal landscapes that make up the subtlety of Funeral Doom.   As with a lot of bands in this genre, this album at first sounds like there isn’t much going on.  But with repeated listens, the layers begin to peel back and reveal a complex album of moody landscapes.

I need whomever reads this to understand what I mean exactly by the usage of the word “complex.”  Musically speaking, this isn’t a challenging record.  None of the instrumental playing here will blow anyone away.  The guitar isn’t going to make you head bang like it is 1985. Tempo?  What tempo?  Structure?  These songs are as organizationally fluid as blood from a gaping wound. The vocals are as abrasive as anything I’ve heard—so inhuman, they would make some Black Metal bands take a step back.  The drums are there but without any crazy fills or clever hi-hat work in random time signatures.  RED MOON ARCHITECT are an immensely talented band and each member is a badass but they don’t display their chops on this album.

So, what then, do I mean by “complicated?” “Kuura,” which I believe means “frost” in Finnish, is made up of three tracks, or parts, rather.  This would leave most to assume it is one long song.  While that wouldn’t technically be wrong, I see it differently.  Instead, I find that each track represents a different version, or mood, of the overall story that is “Kuura.” In my research, I couldn’t find any information on the background of the story, or even which band member(s) was responsible for the bulk of the song writing.  With that said, whomever penned the concept for this is clearly going thru something and I would have to guess either the death of a loved one or an illness.  Regardless of how right or wrong I am, the subject matter is technically irrelevant because the writer(s) clearly wrote it so other people can get something out of it.  If ten different people listened to this, I bet there would be ten different explanations of what they heard or felt thru this album.

I’m not sure who shit in this band’s cheerios but they took whatever pain they went through and turned it into a tapestry of sulfur infused doom, the likes of which very little light can penetrate.  Even as far as Funeral Doom is concerned, this is some bleak music.  I can probably safely assume that at least some fans of the band’s previous three efforts, will feel a bit off put with his; in fact, I can see why some of them might not like this at all. However, if you’re like me, and appreciate Doom in all its forms then the sounds contained within these three tracks will speak to you on many levels—perhaps some levels you don’t want to visit or some you didn’t even know existed before now.

Parts “I” and “II” are held together by simple but suffocating guitar distortion and keyboards that sprinkle their melancholy over the songs, like scattered rain drops on a cloudy day.  About halfway thru “Part I”, an ambient section that I can only describe as “beautifully disturbed” grow out of the muck—it is very moving as much as it is heart stopping.  “III” has more vocals and seems to be a bit more guitar focused—it has a heart of darkness but it is of a different nature than the first movement.  If “1” was the onset of death and the passing that ensues, I’d say this part is the rage and helplessness that comes with those experiences.

What of “II?”  Isolated, it amounts to little more than noise.  However if encountered naturally by listening to the album from beginning to end, this track finds its place as a “lighter” song that serves as a bridge between the two larger portions.  But this bridge isn’t a solid foundation…more like a swaying decayed walkway with a glass bottom that shows you the abyss. So, no, I can’t talk about very specific parts of the songs; this is much too personal of an album for me to simply write down to the audience what I hear.  This is an album that just simply needs to be heard…it needs to be experienced. Funeral Doom doesn’t get a whole lot more emotional, engaging, or even harrowing than RED MOON ARCHITECT’s “Kuura.”

Songwriting:9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I
2. II
3. III
Lineup:
Saku Moilanen - Drums, Keyboards
Ville Rutanen - Vocals
Taneli Jämsä - Guitars
Anni Viljanen - Vocals
Jukka Jauhiainen - Bass
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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Edited 22 August 2019
 

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