Not many heavy metal bands can boast of chart positions and two-page bulletins in all the national newspapers for a debut album. Sahg can. With their gloomy chords, ten ton rhythms and a taste for the heavy rock pioneers of the seventies, the Bergen-based quartet had the audience and critics toss their hats in the air with excitement. Sahg I (2006) filled a void in the Norwegian metal fauna, and was an indisputable success in Norway, as well as abroad. The album got 10 out of 10 points in German Rock Hard Magazine, and 8 out of 10 in the UK edition of Metal Hammer. The success debut album brought the band on tour stateside, as opening act for extreme metal pioneers Celtic Frost, and made Sahg "the one to watch" at a string of metal festivals.
Two years later, Sahg confirmed their status as Norway's undisputable doom lords. Many considered Sahg II as a more refined album than the debut, and featuring spearhead tracks like Ascent to Decadence and Pyromancer, the album became another door-opener for the quartet. In the wake of the second album release, the band toured Europe as support act to legendary headliners Trouble, played arenas across India, and performed at prestigious festivals like Wacken, Inferno, and Metalcamp.
Fast forward to 2010. New songs and new opportunities. After a long, backbreaking hunt for a new permanent drummer, and years of hiring session musicians to handle the kit, Sahg eventually found their man. Front man Olav Iversen explains: "One night Thomas Lönnheim (ex-Ralph Myerz & the Jack Herren Band) appears, out of a mist of electronic pop. Thomas was fed up with pretending to be a rock star as member of an electronica outfit, and had recently called it quits. Now he was looking for a band where make-believe could turn to reality. Timing was perfect, Jupiter aligned with Mars, and he walked straight into the arms of the band he was looking for – and which also was on the hunt for him."
With a fistful of potential heavy rock classics and buckets of regained energy, Sahg entered Earshot Studio in December 2009. In collaboration with producers Herbrand Larsen and Ice Dale of Norwegian viking prog metal masters Enslaved, the band was ready for album number three. This time, the vision was to make things more direct and immediate, and let the riff be in center without drowning it in complex arrangements and excessive instrumentation. Similar to the formula of thrash metal kings Metallica and Slayer in their 1980s prime. Just check out new favorites, like Mortify, Baptism of Fire, Hollow Mountain, and Shadow Monument.
Despite the obvious thrash metal influence, and a few elements of modern prog in the likes of Mastodon, there is no doubt who are handling the instruments. Olav Iversen's characteristic voice, along with Thomas Tofthagen's riff expertise, and the fine-tuned rhythm section consisting of Thomas Lönnheim and Tom Cato Visnes (aka. King Ov Hell), still carry the unmistakable Sahg signature. Sahg III is the sound of a band that have made a few clever moves to refine an already solid expression, and to keep the fans engaged and excited about Sahg – the music, the magic, the mystique and the myth. Doubtlessly the most immediate and dynamic album the band has accomplished to date. New and old fans have a lot to look forward to.