Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Demonaz - March of the Norse

In 1999 I was literally pining for the new Immortal album "At the Heart of Winter" to come out on a daily basis. Demonaz was then and still remains my favorite guitarist based solely on what he did on the first four Immortal albums. I had spoken to Harald (Demonaz) on the telephone earlier that year after I had heard he had quit Immortal due to carpal tunnel. He assured me the he would be back playing guitar in no time and all would be fine for us die hard Immortal fans. What happened after hearing the album was nothing short of a breakdown. I hated it. I pretended that it didn't exist for 5 years or so. To this day it takes a bit of a memory jog to correct my notion that Immortal died in an ice storm in 1998. After Damned in Black and Sons of Northern Darkness came out...and I heard them, I was further proven that this band was unrecognizably disfigured. In recent times I have become a tad more forgiving, and I can listen to At the Heart of Winter once a year or so without puking. Though laughable I thought the "I" self-titled album was somewhat fun and the newest reformed Immortal album was the better of the "era 2" albums.

To me the new style that Immortal (and this album) dons is cruel and criminal due to the overwhelming amount of creativity, ingenuity and character that the earlier days had. March of the Norse sounds like something straight out of 1986 only with far worse and more flaccid, underwhelming production than bands were achieving those days. March of the Norse could pass as an embarrassing Bathory album on any day of the week. The arena rock solos and leads are just about enough to give me the runs. The only redeeming quality found on March of the Norse is decent song-craft. Two riffs per song played in two different alternating keys for dramatic effect, acoustic interludes, alternating between chugging electric guitar riffs and ring out type riffs, then choruses about mountains and trees repeated until the song fades out. If that sounds like a good time to you nine times over, then you're in for a party, man!

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