Emptiness Weighs The Most is the fifth full length from Finnish melodic death / doom metal outfit Red Moon Architect. Stylistically they could be categorized somewhere in between Insomnium and Khemmis, which is a pretty comfortable place to be in, I imagine. What they add to the mix is some female vocals. That’s right, Red Moon Architect split vocal duties to both Anni Valkonen for melodic, beautiful and clean singing and to Ville Rutanen for the more typical death metal growls.
And getting the negatives out of the way, this vocal mix is probably the only real gripe I have with Red Moon Architect. Anni’s performance is touching, close and personal and can even make her feel fragile and vulnerable at moments, which fits perfectly to the melodic death metal parts filled with sorrow and despair. Ville’s death metal growls on the other hand are too technically perfect and one-note for me. He does nothing wrong, but whenever he sings alone, I am no longer in the story of the song, but just think “yep, well that guy can growl”. That actually happens to me when I listen to Insomnium from time to time as well, so maybe that’s just a topic of my personal taste. What works incredibly well is when Anni and Ville sing together – her high clean vocals pitched on top of his growling foundation melds together beautifully.
Those minor gripes out of the way, the record is actually pretty good. There is not much in the way of fast riffing or heavy metal here, but instead a focus on a slow building of atmosphere with beautiful melodies drenched in sadness and melancholia. While the riffs and guitar sounds are probably more leaning towards melodic death metal but in a very slowed-down version, the feeling is definitely more on the doom metal side. The 9 songs take 47 minutes to unfold, but actually do not feel long. You would not want to rush through a doom metal record. Things need to build and flow, and this works nicely here. Although there are not many twists and turns to the songwriting or extremely memorable moments here, the listening experience is a very pleasant one.
The production is also very well done, this is a good sounding modern metal record without feeling overly polished or sterile, there is plenty of life in the guitars and drum sounds, and the keys and synths are blended in tastefully. The record sounds big and roomy and invites for some daydreaming. If you are in the mood for some slow, melancholic, melodic doom metal, you should check this out.