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What else can one say about Mr. Mikko Aspa? The Voice of the last decade’s most praised blackmetal name, once again takes its distance from Hasjarl’s coven and reforms as the Clandestine Blaze entity, through which he concentrates on reminding us in the most emphatic way what this special subgenre was, is and will be about.
So, “Harmony Of Struggle” starts from where the previous release (“Falling Monuments”) of the maniac Finnish left us, with its threatening intro just foretelling the attack that will follow and conquer all, at least for the first half part of the record. “White Corpse” has a Darkthrone-like title and a relevant, aggressive and monolithic structure; it sets its claws upon the listener from the very first second and never lets him until its end. On the other side, the abyssic “Myth Turned Alive” causes everything to sink into its darkness with its obsessively low tempo as well as the ominous, acoustic mid-part.
However, it is when we reach somewhere around mid-point (from “Messiah Of The Dying World” and onwards) where mighty Mikko plays his heaviest cards. And this of course is his amazing perception of a conceptual musical current that makes each track to flow into the next one, creating a sense of continuity for the listener, who feels completeness equal to that of a good film. The sequence of [”Messiah For The Dying World" – closing with "ut quid, Domine, recessisti longe?" psalm – “Wings Οf Τhe Archangel" with the devastating riffs and the drums pounding straight against your chest - "Memento Mori II" whispers – elegy of "Autumn Of Blood And Steel" (candidate for best Clandestine Blaze track ever)] is nothing less than the quintessence of black metal, translated into notes. The fact that this is happening in 2013 without sounding ridiculously retro or horribly modern, is one of the unexplainable riddles of our times.
There would be much more to write about an individual who, instead of playing the role of the scene leader (which he could justifiably do unlike some other “satyrs” of today), remains faithful to the principles of uncompromising underground, releasing his works on his own (through Northern Heritage), without unnecessary words or multiple presses in different colors with limitiations and the rest of that bullshit. However, just one word (yet such a strong one!) I think is enough for our case: RESPECT
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