As a long time black metal fan, I was curious when I first read somewhere else that Demonaz (formerly Demonaz Doom Occulta from Immortal) was going to release a solo CD.
And here it is, March of the Norse is the new Viking conquest of this son of the North Wind. Demonaz makes no mysteries. This album is a candid tribute to the greatest of all time, Quorthon and his infamous act Bathory. But no, there are no covers of The Return of Darkness and Evil and other well known songs of the Black Metal era from the aforementioned band. Rather March of the Norse is a homage to the Viking Era of Bathory.
Immortal’s influence appears on the album too, of course, but it's a cohesive record, not stupid pagan metal as made by million bands around the globe. Demonaz knows his metal, and this guy’s been around for too much time on the scene to be labeled just as another copycat.
There is the infamous intro which seems taken by Bathory’s Blood Fire Death or the first Immortal album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. You can even feel the cold north winds blowing, as the song announces the coming of the warriors of the North.
All Blackened Sky finally delivers the symbiosis of Bathory/Immortal, and you can call it Black Metal, although it doesn’t have blast beats of any sort throughout the CD. It’s not so intricately crafted as an Enslaved album, because Demonaz likes to keep things simple, and the tempos between songs rarely change, yet the album is not mediocre, with the production and the quality of the musicians (Ice Dale from Enslaved and I on strings and Armagedda from Immortal and I) adding heaps to the final outcome.
Songs like March of the Norse and A Son of the Sword, continue the call to arms, and solos extracted from the more heavy metal influence of Ice Dale are more than welcome and have that magnetic feeling that only good solos can create.
If you had any doubts about Bathory's influence on Demonaz, then it is utterly destroyed when the piece Where Gods Once Rode starts to play. Actually, our hero Demonaz ripped off the melodies and even the choruses of Twilight of the Gods. An instantaneous hit!
Over the Mountains, with the guy’s lovely vocals, and the cohesive factor that permeates the whole March of the Norse opus, denote that the songs could perfectly be recorded as one single tune, only separated into acts as in an opera. The album has many hooks but they are only noticeable when some spins are given, and as I said before, the soloing is the star of the disc.
Ode to Battle is the intro to the grand finale Legends of Fire and Ice, another snowy Viking tune and the closer to this succinct CD. No folk instrumentation, no bewildering nuances, just guitar, bass, drums and vocals with good solos and a decent production that will delight all the fans of Immortal, Bathory and of course you, the true metal fan who hunts for good releases. March of the Norse is the triumph of great metal, maybe not the best album of the year, but one of the most enjoyable for a chosen and witty few. You, vikinghead, grab yours NOW!