Sunday, September 20, 2009

Clandestine Blaze - Fire Burns In Our Hearts (1999)

Fire Burns In Our Hearts is the first full-length album from Finland's Clandestine Blaze, released by in 1999. Truthfully, this is not a very good representation of the band, as it sounds very much like an extended demo. The quality is very much below that which one would expect from Mikko Aspa. It is difficult to discern whether or not he was aiming for a necro sound, or if he simply lacked the resources to make something that sounded better than this. Either way, this is not a good first impression.

I purchased this album after already picking up Night of the Unholy Flames and Fist of the Northern Destroyer. I had a fairly high opinion of the band, as far as Third Wave Black Metal is concerned. This release nearly killed that, though I obviously took note of the fact that this preceded the others. I tried to get into it, but it simply wasn't worth my time. There was no point in listening to some third-rate Darkthrone rip-off when I could just listen to the real thing.

Musically, there is nothing original going on here. This is highly derivative of the early Norwegian Black Metal albums, though entirely lacking in quality. There are a couple of interesting tremolo riffs, on "Anti-Christian Warfare" and "Native Resistance", with the latter being the best song on here. However, the song structures are weak and each goes on far too long. This would all be fine, for a demo, but this is supposed to be a debut album.

One of the biggest problems with this recording would have to be the vocals. Mikko sounds terrible, and one has to wonder if he's attempted to use some effect to alter the sound. If so, all it did was make the issue worse. It sounds less like a Black Metal vocalist and more like a fork that got sucked into the garbage disposal. He's not really known as one of the best vocalists around, anyway, but the performance here is quite dismal. Then again, it matches the overall output.

I cannot recommend Fire Burns In Our Hearts to anyone, with the exception of fans of Clandestine Blaze that simply wish to own all of the albums. However, I cannot stress this enough, do your best to pick it up at a discount and absolutely do not waste some ungodly amount of cash in an idiotic attempt to track down an original copy. It really isn't worth it. Mikko did a fine job of mixing his influences with a style of his own, later on, but it hadn't happened yet, as of this album. Stick to the later releases.