We all miss the glory days of black metal, especially those who were not there to experience them the first time. That urge has spawned many bands who tried to uphold the original style and spirit despite the inevitable tendency of foolish humans to “mix it up” with other genres and random bits that are inarticulate to the purpose of the genre.
Clandestine Blaze make a compact little album. Nothing here is wasted, but not all of it is expressive, and that docks these songs from hitting a top grade. They come to a point, then cycle through it with a few added layers, but then fade out having presented a fragment of what they could have been saying. The dramatic contrasts that made black metal feel like an adventure do not grace this album.
In style, Tranquility of Death would fit in right alongside the last few Darkthrone albums before the hiking metal punk garage music factory took over, but in spirit, this album resembles the depressive suicidal black metal bands who aimed to produce a mildly deepening atmosphere which both lulled the listener into a state of comfort and expressed a melancholy sense of not fitting in to a doomed time.
This experience does little for the classic black metal listener however. Yes, now we have arrived at the train depot on the River Styx, and we see the desolation; now what? Do we raise our swords, as Rob Darken would tell us from behind his heap of Conan movies and history books? Or do we sort of fade away, with a wistful bittersweet song upon our lips? This album choose the later, and so if it has a symbol, it is this resigned and lonely fade-out without any answer.