Album Reviews : Sahg – III
Although ex-Gorgoroth/Ov Hell bass player King might be the most well known band member of Sahg, don’t assume that the Norwegian four-piece are another Black Metal act. Much like Grand Magus and Spiritual Beggars, Sahg are all about re-capturing the classic vibe and sounds of the 70’s rock movement, combined with a couple of nods here and there to the monolithic jams of stoner and doom metal. With guitarist Thomas Tofthagen and King also in underground hard rock stars Audrey Horne, Sahg’s third record, aptly titled III is an absolute blast from past.
Packing a Lo-fi, yet warm production, III is littered with some seriously addictive songs and mountainous guitar work, with Sahg’s worship of the almighty guitar riff the main focus throughout the album, with an element of classic Black Sabbath almost evident on every track.
After the acoustic instrumental intro track “In Through The Eye”, the scorching “Baptism of Fire” is a perfect opener with Sahg’s ability to throw massive riffs together with a massive shout along chorus. Follow up tune “Mortify” features a HUGE groove, and with the addition of some tasteful tambourine and percussion work it had images of Tony Iommi playing over the top of Santana’s rhythm section flowing through this reviewers mind. Tofthagen’s lead guitar work is plastered across the tune, as the axemen unloads a hugely impressive solo section to round out one of the album highlights.
The mid tempo headbang fest of “Hollow Mountain” adds a little bit of organ work to the mix before moving into the record’s best chorus, and despite not having the most versatile set of pipes, vocalist Olav Iversen carries the song with a killer balance of melody and power. “Mother’s Revenge” shows of the bands psychedelic influences with a seriously trippy intro before throwing a crushingly slow riff, while “Downward Spiral” picks up the tempo with a classic NWOBHM style vibe.
Although their previous record, II, was slightly weighed down by somewhat unfocused psychedelic meanderings, Sahg have pulled the more experimental parts back and turned up the distorted guitars to their breaking point. The Eastern sounding “Burden” is a late album highlight, with the song moving into pure doom territory led by King’s understated bass playing and Thomas Lønnheim’s tribal drum patterns. The appropriately droning “Spiritual Void” rounds of the album as Led Zeppelin style grooves back the whirling acoustics and Iversen’s hypnotic vocal delivery, before unfortunately ending far too quickly for this reviewers liking.
With hooks strong enough to lift the Titanic from its watery grave and riffs weighty enough to re-sink the doomed vessel, Sahg have worked completely under the radar and have delivered a truly fantastic third album. If there is any justice in the music industry III should give the Norwegian four piece a massive step towards rightly deserved hard rock stardom. 9/10
Album: Sahg III
Genre: Stoner Rock/Doom Metal
Origin: Bergen, Norway
Label: Indie Recordings/Riot!
1. In Through The Eye
2. Baptism of Fire
4. Hollow Mountain
5. Mothers Revenge
6. Downward Spiral
7. Shadow Monument
10. Spiritual Void