Sahg – Delusions of Grandeur (Indie Recordings/Metal Blade)Tuesday, 4th February 2014
The application of the ‘metal’ tag can at times be a real stretch or, at best, tenuous when applied to some bands. Having no knowledge of their older work, it makes it a curious endeavor to embrace Sahg and their largely fantastic Delusions of Grandeur. A mix of Mastodon-y vibes (Crack The Skye era) and outright psychedelic worship are expressed through liquid and often fantastic melodic indulgences. This is being consumed in space, this is the end-game dream Hawkwind might have envisioned somewhere in 1973, this is colossal.
Positives are many and flowing across the album, especially in early stellar-work “Blizzardborne,” a gorgeous and hazy-dream experience of melody and meandering tempos. Likely more than anything else, this song has resonated with me the most after repeated listens and really, stands as a foremost testament to the kind of ridiculous the band can achieve. Moods transition heavily with one of the most ‘metal’ tracks here in “Firechild,” a leadoff single that, as of the time of this writing, is approaching nine months in age (BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!). These two songs are mentioned because, on a whole, variations between the two moods espoused within each are what make up the heart of what the listener will find on Illusions of Grandeur.
At 46 minutes (with only one track being lengthy) the album refuses to outlast its welcome or leave the mind of most listeners to wander, each song packed with enough variability and movement to bring persistent reward (and at times, even surprise). “Ether” features an outlandishly gorgeous mid-section before exploding into its namesake. And that lengthy closer, the 11-minute epic “Sleeper’s Gate To The Galaxy” goes through a myriad of flavors and textures before spending several moments in a cascading sea of exploratory guitar soloing, potentially as the most rewarding listen here. A sleeper hit of all sorts, it’s a shame that this album didn’t shake more up in 2013. It’s never too late to discover diamonds in the sea, however, and Illusions of Grandeur is such a diamond.