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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.