"Earth Blues" (Century Media; 2013)

Reviewed by Snidermann

After being in the music biz for the past twenty years, you get to know what bands have been around and which bands are new. A case in point would be Spiritual Beggars. I have heard of them, of course, and R. Scott and Metal Mark had reviewed some of their previous releases. We'd even played a track or two on Rough Edge Radio in the past. But this is the first time I've had the chance to actually sit down and listen to a full release by the band. I'm very grateful for these opportunities.

Spiritual Beggars have been around for twenty years, as well, and the music on "Earth Blues" shows why. It is a rock hard assault on the senses from the opening chord to the sweat-soaked finish. When this Swedish powerhouse band plays, it simply kicks rock'n'roll ass. But then, you'd expect that considering that the band is made up of members from such legendary bands as Arch Enemy, Carcass, Grand Magus, Firebird, Opeth and Witchery. Interestingly, you may hear pieces of those bands on "Earth Blues," but only pieces. The recording is fresh and original and sounds more like Spiritual Beggars than anybody else. And that's as it should be.

"Earth Blues" is sure to go on the A-list on my iPod and I am look forward to playing tracks often on Rough Edge Radio.

And, to sweeten the deal, Century Media has done a great job packaging this recording, including a second CD with live cuts from the bandís past.

Spiritual Beggars: Michael Amott - Guitars (ARCH ENEMY, ex-CARCASS); Ludwig Witt - Drums (GRAND MAGUS, ex FIREBIRD); Per Wiberg - Keys (ex-OPETH); Sharlee D'Angelo - bass (ARCH ENEMY, WITCHERY); Apollo Papathanasio - Vocals (ex-FIREWIND)

For more information, check out http://www.spiritualbeggars.com

"On Fire" (KOCH Records; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Fans of rich, dark, heavy rock'n'roll will probably blast out their eardrums while listening to the Spiritual Beggars' "On Fire."

A completely successful blending of Deep Purple (all machs), Black Sabbath, and Santana(!), "On Fire" is too heavy to be called 70s retro, too soulful to be called stoner and not quite psychedelic enough to be called psychedelia. It has elements of all those ingredients, however, and the end result is a CD that will grab your head and slam it while grabbing your heart and hanging onto it.

The comparisons listed above are too obvious not to be noticed. Spiritual Beggars songs are infused with great chunks of Hammond Organ (a la Jon Lord of Deep Purple) and the vocals are reminiscent of later-era Deep Purple (think Coverdale and Hughes). The guitars are the fuzzy, down-tuned monster rock of Black Sabbath while the entire CD has a soul-tinged flavor like the best of Carlos Santana.

Don't let the combination of those sounds turn you away. "On Fire" is a loud, hard and sometimes very fast rock'n'roll record. The CD has a unique rich feel that fills your speakers to the brim with sound. On the inside cover, a notice reads: "We suggest that you play this at the highest possible volume in order to fully appreciate the sound of Spiritual Beggars." Trust us: this is great advice.

Spiritual Beggar is: Michael Amott - guitars; JB - vocals; Ludwig Witt - drums, percussion; Roger Nilsson - bass; Per Wiberg - keys, vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.spiritualbeggars.com

"Spiritual Beggars" (Regain; 1994 / 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

The debut CD from Spiritual Beggars was originally released back in 1994. This band was led by guitarist Mike Amott who had already been in Carcass by that point (and it was just a few years before the formation of Arch Enemy). 

The sound of this album is perhaps more surprising for having been released in 1994 then if it had been released today. I say that because stoner rock and doom were still rather underground and bands were few and far between back then as opposed to the plethora of bands that have popped up in this decade. So the real question is probably this: Is this album anything to get excited about? 

Despite the fact that I have heard plenty of stoner and/or doom bands in recent years -- and heard lots of angles, styles and variations -- the answer is yes, "Spiritual Beggars" is still an album to get excited about. The approach is very simple: Itís largely late 60s/early 70s metal with a good slab of psychedelic rock wedged in. The vocals lean a bit more to the styles of that day as I hear some Soundgarden in there, yet the music is just huge layers of rolling, swirling riffs with a whole lot of heavy fuzz wrapped around every note. 

Perhaps the thing that might have set this band apart from their peers of the time was the direct approach, as bands like Sleep and Cathedral seemed more involved in rolling out their songs with longer build-up. I think this is an album that would appeal to both fans of early 70s metal and fans of solid metal in general. Itís basic, but the band instantly hits a nerve with their steady assault; and then they just dig in and keep plowing forward. 

This re-release contains four bonus tracks that are of a very similar style to the original tracks of the album. I understand this was a fairly rare album that had been fetching a good price prior to this re-issue and after hearing it I can now understand why.

For more information, check out http://www.spiritualbeggars.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:20 -0400 .