REVIEW: SAHG – “Memento Mori”
For the uninitiated, SAHG is an alloy of all things doomed, stoned and heavy metal. They hail from Bergen, Norway, and have been around since 2004. A follow-up to their 2012 album ‘Delusions of Grandeur’, SAHG presents to you ‘Memento Mori’ (Latin: ‘remember that you must die’), a voyage psychédélique, laid-back and riff-driving through the dark realities of present times.
The bass-heavy, riff-laden, mid-to-fast tempo tunes with the elements of progressive rock sets a path well-crafted for the holy smoker to embark upon. The trip begins with “Black Unicorn”; a delay-driven riff induces numb senses, making you lie down, close your eyes and feel the atmosphere evolve. The melodic vocals of Olav Iversen cut in, resonating with the psychedelia; such beauty! Behold, a heavy stoner riff comes in and crushes everything on the way, getting the stoned head banging. The progressive rock kicks in and lightens the atmosphere building up to the outro, which is the same riff as that of the intro. Experiencing time lags? Well, the trip has just begun.
“Devilspeed” – the second song on the record – is an absolute monster of a modern heavy metal track, with brilliant riffing and enormous vocals. Wow, will this song slay live! “Take it to the Grave” begins like an anthem on a very dark and depressing backdrop, and is bound to remind you of melodies ranging from Pink Floyd to Black Sabbath. It blasts away to what is a beautiful masterpiece, with its mellow bridge section being a listener’s delight. “Silence the Machine” is a pure progressive doom masterpiece that showcases some of the best guitar work on the album. “Praise the Electric Sun” is one of the mellow roads on this journey. It’s a beautiful, atmosphere-laden, acoustic guitar-driven track which will light up listener’s face, just because of the fact that the simplest of things have the deepest of souls. This is definitely one of the most beautiful and diverse milestones on this journey.
With “Travelers of Space and Light”, it is apparent that the album is attaining closure. The song begins with heavy riffage progressing to further mellow feelings, paving way to the epic closing track “Blood of Oceans”. This is an epic end to such an immense album, with dark heaviness that progresses into a highly atmospheric, choir-like setting, slowly fading away into the thunder.
‘Memento Mori’ is a reminder of the inevitable end to the already dying face of earth. Evolving while sticking to their roots, SAHG have delivered an amalgamation of traditional heavy doom and progressive metal. This is an album which is a milestone in the world of modern heavy metal and stoner rock.