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A raven keeps checking his watch - 40%

doomknocker, June 6th, 2011

Given what had befallen poor Senior Doom Occulta, one would wonder if he’d end up making music again outside of just being a lyricist. Then again, I’m not too aware of the extent of his arm-nerve-based hardships to know how long it would take to recover (if he ever did at all), but I suppose it was only a matter of time until he was able to get out from behind the blinding snowstorm of Immortal and do things in a different manner. Which resulted in this solo effort on his part (obviously).

And so, with all that said, how does it fare in the scheme of things beyond the permafrost of Blashyrk?

I’ll tell you this, at least; any real comparison between this and his main musical day job are pretty few and far between. Obviously, there’s a touch of the Immortal coldness present in the riffs and song structures, as old habits really die hard, but this thing is an entity all its own in the end. The terrifyingly violent speed of old is instead replaced with a far more melodic half-pace that’s part of Immortal’s later works, but not in as grandiose a way. Of course, there’s a sensation of effort on Demonaz’ part in terms of the songwriting, and the guitars, bass, and drums go through their motions with a minimum of fuss, piss and vinegar, but the overall feel of it doesn’t really come off as a real necessary listen, the way I see it. There’s a chance that many Doom Occulta fan boys would clamor for this like that first sip of coffee in the morning, but I, unfortunately, didn’t really get into this like I was supposed to. Maybe it’s the general lack of flexibility in the songs themselves, maybe it’s the rather lackluster performance, maybe it’s Demonaz’s non-sequitorical rasping/singing/grumbling vocal approach, or maybe all three. Either way, “March of the Norse” is a rather under-whelming affair that flitted from start to finish with only so few double takes on my part. Thankfully, though, its minor drudgeries aren’t really on par with the anger-inducing bullshit “brilliance” of anything King ov Hell’s had his bitterly untalented hands in, and actually comes off as harmless at worst, despite an equally triplet-born compositional feel (I swear, outside of the acoustic intro and interlude, EVERY SINGLE SONG has the SAME 6/8 galloping picking arrangement!). To put it succinctly, this could have been something much more than it is, but the end result is an album that I don’t really see myself pining for in the future. However, I guess I can give Demonaz the benefit of the doubt considering how long it’s been since he’d sat down and composed music (maybe it hasn’t been that long and I’d just overlooked it?), as there are also moments in songs like “All Blackened Sky”, “A Son of the Sword” and “Where Gods Once Rode” that have the capacity to be damned cool and fancy, but are nonetheless bogged down by the less-than-energetic atmosphere the album presents.

At the end of the day, “March of the Norse” is what it is, and I can’t say I really felt compelled to enjoy it. I could probably give it an A for effort, but even then, I might be stretching it. I’m not saying Demonaz shouldn’t continue to explore more musical solo ventures, but some serious work needs to be done to ensure a great album. Recommended only for those who have Abbath’s corpse paint style tattooed on their face.