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Demonaz - "March of the Norse" (CD)

Demonaz - "March of the Norse" CD cover image

"March of the Norse" track listing:

1. Northern Hymn (0:50)
2. All Blackened Sky (4:27)
3. March of the Norse (3:41)
4. A Son of the Sword (4:35)
5. Where Gods Once Rode (5:11)
6. Under the Great Fires (6:34)
7. Over the Mountains (5:07)
8. Ode to Battle (0:39)
9. Legends of Fire and Ice (4:24)

Reviewed by on May 4, 2011

"Heading in a completely different direction than would be expected, Demonaz of Immortal has charged headfirst into Viking territory and left behind most of the standard black metal sound."

No musician wants to play the same style of music forever, and even those involved in legendary or iconic examples of any given genre need an outlet for other musical ideas from time to time. Heading in a completely different direction than would be expected, Demonaz of Immortal has charged headfirst into Viking territory and left behind most of the standard black metal sound. Featuring a variety of surprising elements, the debut Demonaz solo album is a welcome change of pace that combines old and new ideas from a range of styles.

Certain similarities may be noticed from time to time, but “March of the Norse” manages to almost completely evade the issue of coming off as an Immortal clone. There may be an underlying black metal feel from time to time, but that particular genre is not the focus of any of the songs found on the disc. The album has a more epic feel and plays out on a grander scale than is traditionally found from Immortal, helped along by an infusion of dark melody, vocals that lean more towards the clean end, and an audible bass presence.

Lyrically the album has the themes that would be expected from a release called “March of the Norse,” dealing with subjects of conquest, vengeance, and warriors marked by the gods. Fans of that style will be right at home, but others may want to skip reading the lyric insert so the album retains more of its dark and atmospheric feel, as the artwork and general aesthetic of the band differs greatly from the lyrical direction. Despite being about Vikings going to war, the music of Demonaz doesn’t evoke the feel of mythological or historical battle obsessed bands like Amon Amarth or Ex Deo. Some comparisons to Bathory are probably inevitable, however.

There is a decent amount of repetition and some guitar riffs get recycled throughout the album, but it seems like a calculated move meant to create continuity between the tracks. Vocally the album distinguishes itself from both black metal and Viking metal, using a tone that’s halfway between clean and growled and almost brings Motorhead to mind, if Motorhead was a Norwegian act screaming about Norse battles. From the marching drum beats to the frequent traditional metal guitar tones, “March of the Norse” is a great example of musicians heading outside their comfort zones to make something that crosses genre lines and can be enjoyed by fans of all types of metal.

Highs: The sound is like Viking metal meeting a black metal influence, and on a grand scale.

Lows: There is a good deal of repitition between the songs.

Bottom line: The debut Demonaz album is a welcome change of pace, providing an epic Viking metal sound with a slight black metal influence.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)