Red Moon Architect – Return of the Black Butterflies (Inverse)

Sunday, 7th May 2017
Rating: 8/10

The allure of a melodic doom/death album is certainly heightened during a particularly rainy portion of spring. Even if the gloomy winter season has surpassed us, the perpetual downpour of a spring rain still provides the perfect opportunity for a sullen and depressive album such as Return of the Black Butterflies. As their third album (inventively named after a song from their debut), it hits all of the pivotal points necessary with grace and macabre beauty.

Those looking for much of an energetic vibe would be encouraged to look elsewhere, with Return pacing itself at almost a funeral doom procession for much of the album. Something that could have been its Achilles’ heel, but instead the band embrace this tone and use it to full potential. Outright haunting and desperate tones ring out through each track – thundering riffs with keyboard backing are norm, and the variants in the two maintain a symbiosis that crafts an inescapable atmosphere. Not quite suffocating, but a far cry from anything remotely chipper. Use of two vocalists – a growler and ethereal female singer – may sound cliché at this point but it’s not a predictable pattern that they use and the pair feed off of each other well (see “NDE”). If there’s one critique to be made, opener “The Haunt” feels like too much of a roll-out as an introduction and prolonging entry to the main event, though in the grander scheme of things it makes more sense in regards to providing the consistent atmosphere found elsewhere.

If you are in the market for some truly downtrodden doom with just the right amount of grim splendor added in, Return of the Black Butterflies will resonate. Slow building and massive when necessary, there’s more to behold with this one than an initial glance may provide.

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