Friday, January 14, 2011

CLANDESTINE BLAZE - Falling Monuments CD review

CLANDESTINE BLAZE - Falling Monuments CD
Northern Heritage Records
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

This thing came out in late December 2010 but it would've been better for listening in October around Halloween. Yes black metal to me at least is seasonal in it's listening qualities. Some bands are perfect for the Winter's cold and harsh cruelty while others are better in the Fall when the light slowly turns to darkness. I must be honest here and that's as much as I have written about the greatness of Finnish Black Metal bands. I only have one CLANDESTINE BLAZE full length and that's the essential Night of the Unholy Flames from 2000. I call it an essential although more accolades have been poured onto the split releases which paired em with the likes of DEATHSPELL OMEGA and SATANIC WARMASTER. Obviously that's more to do with the notoriety of those bands then the material by CLANDESTINE BLAZE and that Mikko Aspa also sings for DEATHSPELL OMEGA. I too have the splits and compilations and of course they are quite good. Be that as it may CLANDESTINE BLAZE is his personal project which he performs all instruments and vocals and has done so for over a decade now along with running Northern Heritage Records.

What will not be so strange to regular readers of Scumfeast Metal 666, as I'm sure most of you are, is how I would like this far more than that last DEATHSPELL OMEGA release. For me it's the pure stripped down simplicity of it all. It's classic sounding black metal with only it's core elements for you to dive into. I for one will never shy away from speaking about the greatness of what was Black Metal's second wave. Falling Monuments is simple riffs, foreboding melodies and subtle blasts that spiral the listener down instead of overwhelm. It's perfect for the quieter times when it's just you and the music. While many under the spell of modern day "progressive" style BM would call this too primitive for their "tastes" there is a rationale behind it. To me it's the difference from a simple phone and one with all the bells & whistles. Basically a phone has just one function and that's to communicate with someone else far away. Nowadays a phone has become an entertainment device which can also give personal gratification and oh yeah you can communicate by talking on it if you still do that. Progressive BM is all the outside trappings for show where as this music here is full of pure individual incite. Some people simply cannot stand the sight of seeing themselves naked so they clothe themselves in finery in order to hide their ugliness. This type of black metal is for those who don't have to hide and accept the hairless beast.

Like I mentioned earlier this is not for being overwhelmed but for investigating. You listen to a song like "Melancholy for the Falling Monument" and it's an invitation to enter into a realm that's dark and unknown. It's like descending a dark staircase which each step taking you further away from safety. The song "Bloodsoil" continues along a similar path but then you let go of the hand rail and tumble into the darkness as the blastbeats act as pain inducing falls. Three quarters of the way through Mikko lets out an agonizing scream to represent you hit bottom and it's not very pretty. Of course those are my personal interpretations when listening to certain songs. CLANDESTINE BLAZE has always dealt in subject matter with misanthropic themes. It's more of a less treble and tremolo overwhelmed BURZUM, deeply set with pure black atmosphere. The dark sensibility of this is what makes for it's greatness. While really a short release at just over forty minutes it's just enough time for one to spend in a shroud with the music and their imagination. It's unfortunate that I got this now instead of before the end of 2010 because I would consider Falling Monuments a favorite release.


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