Sahg - Firechild

Stateside Stream

posted on 2/2014   By: Zach Duvall

After a very promising debut allowed them a moderate amount of attention, it seems as if a good number of doom fans kind of forgot about Norway’s Sahg, myself included. The psychedelic edge they took on with their second album supposedly carried into their third, but because of my failure to keep up, this is not something I can personally attest to. What I can attest to is that, judging from Delusions of Grandeur, this band has deserved our ears all along. Because this album is goddamn stellar.

Reports of the band’s evolution hold true, as Delusions provides a richer, far more textured experience than the earlier doom. In fact, because the tempo rarely slows to a molasses drop, “doom” in the traditional sense is only a small part of what Sahg is up to here. By reaching to a whole heap of 70s influences – inklings of everyone from Zeppelin and the obvious Sabbath to the darker side of Uriah Heep and Blackmore-ian riffage – but adapting them through means both modern and sneaky, the band is able to provide a wider range of rock hues than just the “great doom tracks mixed with decent doom tracks” approach of their early days.

With its deceptively deep songs and bounty of riffs, Delusions not only maintains the listener’s attention, it grips it. Opener “Slip Off the Edge of the Universe” sets the bar for bombast, with drummer Thomas Lonnheim changing it up depending on the needed intensity, and vocalist Olav Iversen showing that his “refined Ozzy” vocals are as crucial to the band’s success as ever. The rollicking “Firechild,” featured here, rolls and riffs its way to a higher energy level, putting an emphasis on the rawk while giving hints of modern Amorphis, minus any growls. 

Meanwhile, “Ether,” with Iversen’s particularly piercing wails, comes across as the type of song Sabbath wished they could have written for 13.

Throughout the album, Sahg finds ways to sneak in even more. One of the more surprising aspects is the band’s ever-so-slightly proggy tendencies, which sound more borrowed from Enslaved than anyone in the 70s (without those blackened tones, obviously). The band crams everything into closer “Sleeper's Gate to the Galaxy,” going full epic over 11+ minutes while melding the classic rock vibes with towering doom and a huge of dynamics. It’s a doozy of a track to end a doozy of an album, and really reaffirms all of the details that went into making these songs great.

But focusing on any of these details loses sight of the most important fact: Sahg has the type of mystique that can’t be trained, and the kind of rock aura that would have been just at home during the 70s as it is today. Delusions of Grandeur is a gem of an album, enough so that I feel a tad guilty for ever taking my ears off of this band.

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Delusions of Grandeur was released in Europe last October via Indie Recordings; it will receive a proper Stateside release on February 18th courtesy of Metal Blade.

TAGGED Doom,Progressive,Rock,Metal Blade Records,Indie Recordings,Psychedelic