Clandestine Blaze - _Deliverers of Faith_
(Northern Heritage, 2004)
by: Matthias Noll (8 out of 10)
Shortly before the end of 2004, a new Clandestine Blaze full-length has finally been released; and while in my opinion_Deliverers of Faith_ does not quite reach the quality of the very best CB material, it is neither a superfluous rehash of their earlier work nor does it alienate with a massive change of direction and style.

This album once again features material that ranges from plodding, tortured dirges to riff-driven mutations of Hellhammer or Celtic Frost DNA strains onwards to tracks that are a reengineering of Darkthrone's _Transylvanian Hunger_ while unmistakably bearing the personal and totally distinctive Clandestine Blaze stamp all the way through.

So far my description could have fitted almost all CB material, and the differences from previous recordings like _Night of the Unholy Flames_, ­ _Fist of the Northern Destroyer_ and the landmark split with Deathspell Omega are mainly rooted in a sound that is considerably rawer, dirtier and to my ears less atmospheric than on the releases I mentioned. In comparison the drumming is more up-front, the guitars sound rustier and the bass plays a far less important role in the overall picture this time around.

For me the reduced amount of mysteriously vibrating and pulsating low frequencies, which brilliantly countered and complemented the guitars in the past, has a slightly disenchanting effect. The existence of this additional layer has always made the music encase me and fill the room with images not unlike Lovecraftian visions of terrible but unidentifiable things that twitch and move in the dark, and _DoF_ does not possess some of this quality.

The merit of these changes is that CB sounds meaner and more direct this time and that, even if the songwriting approach hasn't changed, _DoF_ avoids leaving the impression of a band repeating themselves over and over again. Opinions about this album seem to range from "more of the same" to "evolution and expansion", but whichever is yours there is absolutely no doubt that CB still belongs to the very best that Finnish black metal has to offer.


(article published 10/1/2005)

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