Released in 2001 through Northern Heritage Records (originally limited to 300 hand numbered copies on vinyl, but reissued on CD in 2003) this is a split release by black metal acts Clandestine Blaze from Finland and Deathspell Omega from France.
Clandestine Blaze is a one-man band consisting of Mikko Aspa (Deathspell Omega, Fleshpress, Morbid Savouring, Stabat Mater, A.M., D.O.M., Creamface, Noise Waste, Grunt, Clinic of Torture, Alchemy of the 20th Century, Nicole 12, Nihilist Commando, Pain Nail) who performs all vocals and plays all instruments on the Clandestine Blaze material on this release. In addition to Mikko Aspa´s involvement in the above mentioned metal and electronic acts he is also the owner of Northern Heritage Records, CF Productions (editor of Erotic Perversion magazines and Public Obscenities videos) and Freak Animal which is a power-electronic music label. From 2003 Mikko Aspa would take over the lead vocalist role in Deathspell Omega after Shaxul.
Deathspell Omega was at this point a rather obscure band where almost no information were available about the members of the band. On this release Hasjarl (owner of End All Life Productions) plays guitar, Shaxul (owner of Legion of Death Records) performs vocals and plays drums, and Khaos handles the bass.
The album features four Clandestine Blaze tracks and three tracks by Deathspell Omega and at a full playing time of 42:57 minutes it is considered a full-length release. The music style delivered by both acts is old school black metal. Relatively primitive, very raw, and repetitive. The Clandestine Blaze tracks vary in pace from slow- to mid- to blasting which does provide the material with some variation. They are still overall a bit one-dimensional and too repetitive though. The musicianship is on a decent level, but nothing out of the ordinary for the genre.
The three Deathspell Omega tracks are slightly more interesting and of a higher quality. Really aggressive and very fast paced blasting black metal (there are some mid-paced parts too though). The aggressive raspy vocals are very convincing and a great asset. Blood curdled screaming vocals delivered with the right hateful passion. The instrumental performances on the Deathspell Omega material are also on a high level, and it´s hard not to be intrigued by the intensity of the delievery.
The sound production on the Clandestine Blaze tracks is a bit muddy but not bad sounding while Deathspell Omega´s material features a well sounding production. Not too clear and polished, but raw and intense, which suits the material perfectly. So the "Clandestine Blaze / Deathspell Omega (2001)" split is for the most part a pretty good quality release. To my ears the Deathspell Omega material is the most interesting while the Clandestine Blaze tracks are a bit more standard quality black metal, but a 3 star (60%) rating is still deserved.