The fourth filthy Clandestine Blaze album, ‘Deliverers of Faith’, emerged in 2005 and – alongside its equally immense follow-up, ‘Church of Atrocity’ – serves as a perfect bridge between the overt rawness of the early days and the subtly (and increasingly) more experimental offerings of recent vintage. Every Clandestine Blaze LP is raw, grim and corrupt but Mikko becomes perceptibly more proficient, skilled and expressive with the passage of time and the balance shifts slightly but markedly from one release to the next.

Which album is the best? Which presents Clandestine Blaze at the peak of its powers? Impossible questions to answer as the entire discography is close to flawless, but, for whatever reason, I do find myself going back to ‘Deliverers of Faith’, ‘Church of Atrocity’ and ‘City of Slaughter’ more frequently than any other. Perhaps this speaks for itself.

The incorporation of eerie and unusual elements into the basic, crude Black Metal template begins in earnest on this one; from the twisted finale of ‘Psychopathia Sexualis’ through the bizarre, intimate meanderings of the twelve-minute misanthropic masterpiece ‘Winter of White Death, the hellish hollers of ‘Falling’, the cleansing transcendence of ‘Tormented’ and the horrific, otherworldly, ghoulish, deathly protestations of ‘Grave of Gratification’ – all executed with cold, callous, inimitable, instantly-recognisable Clandestine Blaze indifference – here we have authentic raw Black Metal presented in a surreal style that few others – if any – come close to matching.

It can be difficult to justify purchasing any other record or artist when Clandestine Blaze produced the blueprint already. Is Black Metal dead or was ‘Deliverers of Faith’ ahead of its time by almost 20 years? All I can say is that if you don’t have this one in your collection, then it might be no harm to at least consider tracking it down.

Evilometer: 666/666