"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Sahg - "Memento Mori" (CD)

Sahg - "Memento Mori" CD cover image

"Memento Mori" track listing:

1. Black Unicorn
2. Devilspeed
3. Take It to the Grave
4. Silence the Machine
5. Sanctimony
6. (Praise the) Electric Sun
7. Travellers of Space and Light
8. Blood of Oceans

Reviewed by on October 12, 2016

"...there isn't one song on the record which can be classified as great, or even very good."

Sahg was founded some twelve years ago in the Norwegian city of Bergen and have been notable for including some well known names from the Norwegian metal scene, including former Gorgoroth bass player King ov Hell. Their brand of traditional doom metal has helped win over a number of fans throughout their career, though they've never been the most diverse band in the field. Unfortunately, latest album "Memento Mori" appears to a show a group which, while undeniably talented, seems to be going through the motions, or worse yet, is out of ideas.

Opening track "Black Unicorn" doesn't take long to wear out it's welcome, providing a lengthy dirge that can only offer a glimpse of a great riff, without actually delivering it. It drones on without any real sense of direction and ultimately, much like the album as a whole, feels like a waste of time. While the following song, "Devilspeed" appears to set things back on course, offering an exciting blend of traditional heavy metal riffing with a thrash tinged attitude, this is perhaps the only song that feels well crafted. Other, longer tracks such as "Sanctimony" and "Travelers of Space and Light" are examples of meandering while seemingly have no point.

While slow doesn't always mean bad, as evidenced by undoubtedly the softest song on display "(Praise the) Electric Sun,” on this album it does often means dirges. "Take It to the Grave" for example can give the listener only a half decent riff or two but outstays it's welcome, while the closing track, "Blood of Oceans" starts off mediocre and devotes it's second half to becoming an uninspired slog. "Silence the Machine" is another track that has the potential to keep "Memento Mori" interesting, thanks in part to the eerie opening, but once more, becomes boring after a little while, something which shouldn't be said of a song less than five minutes in length.

All in all, this new release from Sahg could be the weakest. They're capable of producing great heavy metal and what's most frustrating is we even catch little examples of this on the album, but there isn't one song on the record which can be classified as great, or even very good, with the great irony of the title being that there aren't even any memorable tracks. The name of the album, which translates to "Remember you will die" is actually quite apt, as when listening to the record, you'll be reminding yourself that eventually, it will end.

Highs: "Devilspeed" is decent, while "(Praise the) Electric Sun" and "Silence the Machine" at least offer glimpses of something interesting.

Lows: The album as a whole is a boring slog, filled with dirges, songs that outstay their welcome and doom cliches.

Bottom line: A very weak album from a band that can and has done better.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)