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Sagh 1

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Album Review

Sahg's debut struck a welcome victory for traditional heavy metal — or modern doom, as some might call it — by fearlessly worshiping at Black Sabbath's altar, without coming across like a simple nostalgia act or tribute group. Not bad for a bunch of normally corpse painted, Norwegian black metal musicians, stepping away from their regular gigs with bands like Gorgoroth, Audrey Horne, and Manngard in order to bring a fresh perspective into this timeless genre. Naturally, they're not the only ones (2006 alone also yielded Texans the Sword's impressive debut and a second fine outing by Sweden's Krux), but Sahg I arguably struck closest to heavy metal's purist aesthetic, without confining itself to the predominantly creeping tempos (although that angle is certainly represented by intentionally labored power chord laments like "Repent," and portions of "Rivers Running Dry," "Black Passage," etc.). Rather, think back to Sabbath's triumphant releases with Ronnie James Dio, Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, for the primary inspiration behind Sahg's specialty: moderately galloping heavy metal sorties, exemplified by such as "The Executioner Undead," "The Alchemist," "Soul Exile," and "Boundless Demise" — all of which owe as much of their appeal to Olav Iverson's soaring vocals, as they do to his shared, stellar guitar work with Thomas Tofthagen. An evocatively gentle acoustic interlude named "Whisper of Abaddon" splits the album in two and sets the stage for its unquestionable climax via the positively stunning "Godless Faith" — as perfect a heavy metal song as you are likely to hear from any band, of any era. All in all, Sahg I surely exceeded most expectations for an inaugural release by what was ostensibly a part-time band, and left all lovers of pure, unadulterated heavy metal starving for more. [Trivia note: the video for "Godless Faith" featured a cameo from Sahg associate and Norwegian heavy metal legend Metallion, former inner circle member and publisher of long running Slayer fanzine.]


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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Sagh 1, Sahg
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