Let's be honest. "Demonaz" is straight-up Bathory worship with evocative overtones of Immortal drawn in and the outcome ... is absolutely amazing!
This is one of those album experiences that you walk away from humming aloud and drumming on your lap to. The songs are crazy catchy and really capture that old-norse tale, early Viking-metal sound that Quorthon mastered over 20 years ago! I'm on my 9th spin since I bought it this morning, May 17th, 2011 and I can't stop.
The album sets the stage with a solemn "Northern Hymn" painting the scene for the major theme of this album: What it means to be a Norseman! Track 2 sets a fiery blaze with "All Blackened Sky", a very rousing Norse battle song if I've ever heard one. The album then grabs you by the back of your shirt, throws you onto a horse, and encourages you to take battle to your enemies with spear, cold iron, and sheer Northern force via "March of the Norse", a crushing tune designed to wear an enemy down with intimidation via aural assault! A dictation to those unknowing of Norse determination and purpose with the repeated lyric "March of the Norse!".
This audible weapon of sonic steel continues to cut through the tracks with "Son of the Sword", an introspective battle-cry demonstrating the will to do what must be done, 'dead or alive'. You really feel energized by the music in each of these tracks. By track 4, you are ready to break everything you see in the name of Northern tradition!
But what is a Norseman without his gods to guide his path? The inspiration of a man's battle-lust and pride, "Where Gods Once Rode" is another rousing tune dedicated to those who came before. The warrior "gods" who lead the way, the paths of the gods, now walked by a soldier of fortune. This sentiment is echoed in "Under the Great Fires" with battle taken to the enemy, honoring the fate of warriors.
A man living by the sword and it's ways forever, traveling the path before him, "Over the Mountains" is a glimpse into the soul of a Norseman's warrior heart. My personal favorite on this album, it paints a picture of the journey the Norse must take, their paths always lying beyond mountains and the horizon.
Proclaiming their duty, once again, "Ode to Battle" is the poetry that these Norsemen keep in their souls. It's a very poignant moment in the album as it's somber tone carries weight with anyone who has had to face adversity but has overcome it through force of will and a "brother at side".
The album concludes with "Legends of Fire and Ice", another hair-swaying tribute to those who came before and the essence of Norse existence a man must discover on his own.
"March of the Norse" portrays a cold, icy landscape as befitting of Demonaz and Immortal's musical imagery. While there will undoubtedly be people who call this album repetitive, I think that those people obviously missed the point of this album. It's done this way on purpose. It's a tribute to Northern battle traditions and the meaning that carries with the "men of the mountains". Ice Dale's presence on guitar is absolutely amazing here! I wish Enslaved would let him go like this on their albums! Though I'm sure Demonaz wrote most of the riffs (as the music is attributed to him in the booklet), Ice Dale's fret-dancing style shines through with his usual aplomb! It's also good to hear Armaggeda (ex-Immortal, I) back on the drums. Though he doesn't really get much of a spotlight in the traditional sense, his drum work is poignant and direct. He doesn't need to be flashy here. The drum work really is utilized for the betterment of the tracks. As for Demonaz on vocals - he absolutely is the soul of this album, carrying the spirit of Northern pride and delivering it with incredible force and purpose. He will inspire you! In summation, there is not a thing I can fault this album for other than it being too short! I wanted more and you will, too!
TL;DR - Buy this album right now! If you like Bathory and/or Immortal you will feel right at home listening to these audible tributes to the Norns!