Delusions of Grandeur
01. Slip Off the Edge of the Universe
04. Walls of Delusion
06. Then Wakens the Beast
07. Odium Delirium
08. Sleeper’s Gate to the Galaxy
[Metal Blade Records]
Sahg. Even the name drips with a certain laziness, a drawing out of vowels. That image fits the band perfectly, standing at the forefront of that certain stoner, doomy, sound that evokes Black Sabbath and long nights filled with smoke and honey. With a trilogy behind them, Sahg look forward with their fourth album, Delusions of Grandeur. Introducing a more coherent vision, their fourth album is undoubtedly their best. It blazes, drowns and seduces in turn, all the while delivering a stunning sci-fi concept that’s sure to capture your imagination.
The core of the power in this album is that same concept. Recalling Mastodon‘s Crack the Skye, it tells of a psychological journey into the psyche of a man of power. Along the way, space and mind convolute and this ego-maniacal wizard finds himself ruling over all creation. Yeah. Naturally, punishment for such hubris does not delay, as the man loses his own sanity and finally plummets into a gate at the edge of space/his own mind. Why is the concept so important to this album? First off, it’s very well written and thought out. In lieu of clichés and stale images, Delusions of Grandeur evokes a unique verse of its own. Songs like ‘Firechild’ or ‘Ether’ feel at certain points like scenes from comic books or a novel. And that’s awesome, luring you into the album’s little world.
Secondly, this is the driving force for the sheer effectiveness of the music. You won’t find massive innovation on this album. What you will find is sincerity and depth, a torrent of emotion behind every chord and a band that knows its sound perfectly. Right off the bat we’re treated to a blistering introduction in the form of ‘Slip Off the Edge of the Universe’, with a solid catchy riff embellished by a solo that will set your heart stirring. As the album progresses, we will be exposed to many more such sounds from the duo Olav Iversen and Thomas Tofthagen. The culmination of this is ‘Then Wakens the Beast’, featuring one of the best mixes of modern stoner prog and rock we’ve heard for a long time. Again, you won’t find anything new with these riffs, but the sheer power behind them makes up for that, fueled by the setting they’re portraying.
The album does not relent. Its end is littered with catchy riffs, king amongst them the main theme on ‘Ether‘. The main part of the sound is further expanded upon with a moving bridge leading to one of the best solos on this album, a soaring line that does not descend into cliché. We saved the best for last however: the closing track, ‘Sleeper’s Gate to the Galaxy’ is an eleven and a bit prog delight. Beginning with Ayreon-like vocals, the song continues to hook us in with a slow and addicting riff, finishing off with the epic classic rock extravaganza that such an album deserves.
At the end of the day, Delusions of Grandeur speaks to the sense of wonder in you. It sets an epic canvas and it delivers epic music to accompany it. Everything feels tight, familiar and moving. This could have easily ended up being another stoner/prog release. However, the sheer power and evocative grace that the sound conveys lifts it up above its peers. Yes, you won’t find the next step of stoner music here. But you will find a thrilling and enticing ride, filled with enough emotions to set your heart on fire.
Sahg – Delusions of Grandeur gets…