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Clandestine Blaze. - 65%

Perplexed_Sjel, February 20th, 2008

This is where it all began for Mikko and for Clandestine Blaze. Sure, there were a procession of demos before 'Fire Burns In Our Hearts' came along, but I tend to focus all my energies on full-lengths, as opposed to all those small releases. 'Fire Burns In Our Hearts' is where it all began. It was where the sound of Clandestine Blaze began to take it's shape. For me, anyway, I see this album, 'Fire Burns In Our Hearts' as a mere stepping stone in the career of this Finnish one man outfit. It's experimental to a degree. How so? Well, it's the very first shot at making a black metal album that resembles those of the good old days. It appears to me to be a full-length that wants to take it's audience back in time, but only by a few years, to relive the old days when black metal was underground. With the use of such tools as the internet, black metal has become somewhat universal. It's able to reach it's arms out over the world and assume control of the metal industry. It's an expanding genre.

Clandestine Blaze's career is marked by a few traditional traits. Each of their five full-lengths seem to be a rite of passage. They appear to be under the impression that there are only a few who can withstand this grim outward showing of raw emotion and they'd be right. Albums like 'Fire Burns In Our Hearts' aren't for everyone. If you're a fan of old school black metal then this record is probably right down your alley. Why? It's production is the first and most striking quality. It's like listening to something Darkthrone produced many moons ago. Static induced sounds. This form of production is either going to annoy you to the extent that you cannot sit through the record in it's entirety, or you're going to see it as a positive. Generally, using production like this is intentional. It's used to enhance the soundscapes. To make everything so much more raw and real.

Production of this lo-fi nature is capable of doing a lot if it's done right, but as for 'Fire Burns In Our Hearts' it's a mixed bag. There are occasions when the music does enough to justify the productions, as with 'Native Resistance' and 'Children Of God'. In other instances, the production isn't enough to drag a song along. Instead, it hinders it. As with the second full-length, this album, 'Fire Burns In Our Hearts' isn't the most creative piece of music you're ever likely to hear. It's based entirely around a repetition of themes. Whether that be lyrical themes or not, it's all based around repetition. The guitars are monotonous static. There are occasions when the odd riff will be spun out and dazzle the audience, but it's mostly a case of average guitars, indecipherable vocals which add next to nothing to anything and a dull sounding percussion section. I'd suggest, if you're looking to get into this Finnish outfit, you're best off starting at the last album.

Black Metal for Dummies - 11%

oVerCaffeinated, September 30th, 2006

Thanks for choosing to purchase our Black Metal for Dummies book I hope you enjoy recording Black Metal as much as we have enjoyed writing this guide for you. To start your adventure into the grimness you will need a guitar, drums and bass. Being able to speak is also a bonus.

This is what Mikko Aspa first read when he decided to record this album. I thought Deathspell Omega was bad, this is just pathetic. Black Metal needs soul to succeed. This album is as soulless as they come. People continue to push this shit out into the open so they can be part of a scene that was once filled with spirit but is now filled with consumerism. They want a piece of the pie when the pie has already been eaten.

The production is of the usual static drowned affair. What makes it worse is the vocals have also been processed to make them sound raw. They just fade into the music. The best thing about this album is probably the drumming. Its good but nothing to drool over and it’s hardly going to save this piece of garbage. The album is mostly composed of Tremolo Picking, the rest of it is some contrived riffs and the holding of one note on a synthesiser. This album even comes decked out with some satanic slow-mo voice action! EXCITING! The word before this sentence could be used to describe the exact opposite of this album. The reviewer below me actually described the album pretty well. “…the formula for this album is pretty simple…” and “…harsh vocals that sound like they came off from a Transylvanian Hunger B-Side.” are pretty accurate descriptions. The difference is he made these as good points. They simply aren’t. Do we really need another Transylvanian Hunger B-Side clogging up the Metal shelves?

I’ll use some lyrics taken from this album to fittingly close this review. “Complete waste, should be thrown away.”