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Trying to decipher the message - 95%

Colonel Para Bellum, September 11th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Northern Heritage Records

No matter how much I listen to this album, it always left an impression upon me as a "pensive" work, with a hefty dose of melancholy. Although I'm premised on the perception of riffs, the manner of playing and the structure of the songs, that's for sure, this feeling comes not from the music itself (of course it's not doom metal or depressive black metal at all, it's true black metal as it should be), but from the atmosphere, from the spirit of the album. "Tranquility of Death" sounds to me like the speech of a man who's tired of proving things to other people, and now he's just telling them that they've lost everything. The culmination of this emotional message (a band of that caliber like Clandestine Blaze can't release albums without a message, believe me) falls on the fifth title song.

Well, the message itself begins only with the second song "Tragedy of Humanization", which, as a matter of fact, is very symbolic. Against the background of the following compositions, the first song "God on the Cross" seems a little even nervous, with some unusual hysterical notes in the vocals. As if the messenger / narrator is for a while on the edge of doing his "attack" – and at long last he begins it only with the second song. So "God on the Cross" is a kind of intro, by the way, it's very simple in structure.

The second song is at a leisurely pace, and this makes it more monumental compared to the previous song. In general, "Tranquility of Death" contains a lot of slow-tempo material, and it seems to me more powerful, with penetrating energy. High-speed riff-based parts of the album, of course, are also worthy of attention, but they seem to me only as the iteration, the explicating of what has already been said. From the point of view of the atmosphere, the alternation of slow and fast episodes on the album can be depicted as a running man who sometimes stops to say something and explain, but without seeing attention and understanding, he breaks into a run again, shouting out some words.

In more down-to-earth style, I can say that although Clandestine Blaze make full use of classic black metal moves and techniques, – no doubt in the vein of Darkthrone, their classic black metal albums, and I would also call Tulus – "Tranquility of Death" is perceived as modern and moreover, original work. This album is a kind of instruction "how to be original within the boundaries of orthodoxy." Although it seems to me that Clandestine Blaze never claimed to be original.

In regard to the modernist tendencies on this album, I would point out periodically used effects, well, electronic effects, for example, in the fifth song the choir-like keyboards sound – they don't spoil the (black) metal message at all, they just add a couple of strokes to it, nothing in excess. Another, with permission to say, "schtick" of the album is a "guitar howl", a kind of solo, heavily processed by effect, it's used immediately in the first song.

Of all the songs, I would like to put emphasis on the third and the already mentioned fifth ones. The third "Blood of the Enlightenment" is a fast composition, which contradicts what has been said before, but a leisurely and sort of stumbling guitar fingerpicking creates an interesting effect here, forcing seemingly incompatible despair and perseverance to sound synchronously. The fifth song is also unique due to its fingerpicking: "Tranquility of Death" begins as a narration of a deadly tired traveler: a tragic melody sounds, sad and majestic, some kind of funeral. The acoustic guitar draws the finale – in the truest sense of the word, not of the composition, but the grand finale of existence. And at the end of the song, this fingerpicking sounds again, this time together with fast riff – enhancing the fatality of the message. After such a dramatic ending, the sixth track "Triumphant Empire" naturally begins with an optimistic riff, more precisely, with a quasi-optimistic riff, sort of like "blast it all!"

This is a very atmospheric and monolithic work, and to be honest, it's hard for me to disarticulate it into its component parts after my habit.

P. S. If you are interested, then regarding the message of the album, I have multiplied it without necessity, of course, according to the creator it's quite simple: "I feel that message of the album is that one should not fear the truth."