Sahg – Momento Mori (Indie Recordings)

Genre: Doom/Progressive Metal

Norwegians Sahg may have lost founding member Thomas Tofthagen and drummer Thomas Lønnheim from their ranks last year, but they’re regrouped – and by the sounds of this opus, replenished their creative juices too. Vocalist/guitarist Olav Iversen and bassist/vocalist Tony Vetaas have been joined for Momento Mori by Grimfist axeslinger Ole Walaunet and Byfrost/Hellish Outcast sticksman Mads Lilletvedt, forging an impressive unit built on years of experience.

This album is truly one hell of a start for Sahg version 2016: anyone with a penchant for classic Sabbath, Baroness and Mastodon will find a lot to love here, from crackling opener Black Unicorn, with its psychedelic overtones and earth splitting riffs, to the relentless Silence the Machines, where astral grooves are complemented by gutsy, impassioned vocals.

Closer Blood of Oceans, co-written by Wardruna frontman and original Sahg drummer, Einar Selvik, is another highlight: think Bathory meets Leviathan-era Mastodon and you’re in the right ballpark. Listening to the song is akin to facing the raw, unbridled power of a stormy sea head on, and Selvik brings his own, wild, pagan spirit to the track. It’s a fitting conclusion to a fine record.

Iversen says he envisaged the band’s demise following the departures of Tofthagen and Lønnheim: the fact that Sahg have produced something as inspired as Momento Mori  – and created a blueprint for their future in the process – is therefore nothing short of a triumph.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 The Sahga Continues