Sahg - _I_
(Regain Records, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
If there's one thing you can be certain of, it's that out of the growing number of side-projects headed up by black metal pundits both past and present, Sahg stands head and shoulders above the cringe-inducing drivel of Audrey Horne. Or 8th Sin. Or a whole host of similarly prosaic excursions for that matter.

A far cry from the mainstream-baiting gothic posturing of the aforementioned acts, this Norwegian quartet, featuring another surprisingly demure turn from Gorgoroth's King Ov Hell, are resolute in their intentions to delve into psychedelic stoner rock that pays tribute to the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kyuss and Monster Magnet. For the most part, they deliver quality in spades.

Singer Olav sounds like a young, more coherent Ozzy Osbourne, while the rest of the band skillfully lay down authentic vintage grooves. But the real story here are the riffs -- a great many of them in fact. "Repent" and "The Alchemist" are progressive, heavy and dynamic, expertly weaving strands of doom-tinged atmosphere into an often densely layered musical tapestry. Elsewhere the band show their experimental side, with the gargantuan "Godless Faith" strafing a lifetime worth of classic rock highlights in a matter of minutes.

It's compelling stuff indeed, though it's also likely that at least a few black metal purists will take to burning their Gorgoroth CDs in protest after the album's first ten minutes.


(article published 20/7/2006)

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