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Sahg II

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Album Review

Though oft lumped in with the doom scene, Sahg's particular vision of traditional metal has always displayed more energetic, refined, and, yes, accessible qualities redolent of the genre's early-'80s blueprint, pre-commercial sellout, and the Norwegian group's third album does not deviate from type. In fact, it pushes the limits of Sahg's underground standing to its breaking point, via songs as reliant on memorable choruses and ear-friendly arrangements as they are on roaring power chords and lead-footed heaviness — e.g. "Mortify," "Hollow Mountain," "Shadow Monument," etc. Offering further evidence of this fluid dichotomy, both "Baptism of Fire" (via intro piece "In Through the Eye") and "Mother's Revenge" launch themselves with gentle melancholy before unleashing their devastating riffs, and the latter's laid-back tempo (about as close as the band gets to outright doom here) finds an immediate antidote in the barnstorming "Downward Spiral" (which is itself underpinned with subtle organs that yet again signal Sahg's increasingly accomplished songwriting). Late album cuts "Burden" and "Denier" finally run aground of ideas somewhat, but only just, and Sahg ultimately ride out in convincing fashion on the wings of "Spiritual Void" — a psychedelic dreamer inspired by little bits of Sabbath, Spirit Caravan, and even Soundgarden. Now, given Sahg's roots in the Norwegian black metal movement and the unfair expectancies imposed upon its former practitioners (i.e. thou shalt not, under any circumstance, be likable), it's entirely possible that a few fans will perceive these new heights of compositional maturity and widespread appeal as demystifying and even downright offensive to some long-abandoned cause. But, one can always hope that those goblins gave up searching for the one ring long ago, and will thus leave Sahg alone to grow and prosper in the real world.

Biography

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

Norwegian heavy metal supergroup Sahg were first convened in 2004, in the city of Bergen, by a trio of extremely hard-working local musicians: vocalist/guitarist Olav Iversen (also a member of Manngard), guitarist Thomas Tofthagen (Audrey Horne), and bassist Tom Cato Visnes (aka King ov Hell, of Gorgoroth, Audrey Horne, and I). Somehow finding time to jam out even more music beyond their regular bands, and aided by drummer Einar Selvik (aka Kvitrafn, of Dead to this World, Gorgoroth, and Jotunspor),...
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Sahg II, Sahg
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