Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review: Sahg – 'Memento Mori'

'Memento Mori'

Are Sahg still a super group? It's the question on everyone's lips with the release of their fifth slab of stoner/doom metal. Having over the years lost their most prominent members in the form of bassist King (ex-Gorgoroth) and Einar Selvik (Wardruna) Sahg has become somewhat of a revolving door project which has always lead to some trepidation for every new release. The band's last outing in 2013, 'Delusions Of Grandeur' was undoubtedly their greatest achievement to date. But will the same be said of their latest offering, 'Memento Mori'?

Another lineup change now sees the inclusion of Ole Walaunet (Gaahl's Wyrd) and Mads Lilletvedt (Hellish Outcast), but will it be enough to continue the run of great performances we've seen over the past few releases?

The album is pretty solid in terms of songwriting, with doom and gloom being the primary tools. Tracks such as 'Black Unicorn', 'Take It To The Grave', and 'Sanctimony' lead the charge with slow morose numbers that do justice to the band's doom credentials, while the likes of '(Praise The) Electric Sun', and 'Travellers Of Space And Light' satisfy the band's prog and psychedelic aspirations. The final track 'Blood Of Oceans' is a bit of an unexpected but welcome twist as the group delve into viking territory for an undeniably heavy closer.

The band don't quite gel on a couple of tracks though. 'Devilspeed' and 'Silence The Machines' are lacklustre cuts that attempt to pick up the pace but come off as a poor effort at taking a page out of Amorphis' most recent chapters. But they just don't quite get off the ground.

Those are fairly forgivable though when compared to the album's production which seems to have lost all of the organic warmth of 'Delusions...'. Instead we're treated to a fairly cookie cutter presentation that leaves quite a few of the tracks sounding flat and quite, well... un-Sahg-like.

Given the magnitude of the achievement that was 'Delusions Of Grandeur', album number five was always going to have a lot to live up to. But unfortunately 'Memento Mori' is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some utterly brilliant examples of the band's songwriting with the likes of 'Black Unicorn', 'Sanctimony', '(Praise The) Electric Sun', and 'Blood Of Oceans'. However, as a whole offering it unfortunately falls short.  

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