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A long time ago, “Ad Astra” introduced me to Spiritual Beggars and made them one of my favorite bands until this very day. You can’t argue with the fact that these guys are geniuses! I know my music, and I tell you it’s impossible to find a similar sound anywhere because they’re unique, which is a very rare and special trait nowadays - especially in the stoner world - .
Over the years, the group has been changing their sound from album to album, meeting their prime with JB’s debut in the retro-refreshing “On Fire”. Due to these changes - and mainly since this release - I can’t really qualify Spiritual Beggars, as a perfect or totally metal, rock, blues, or stoner (etc.) band: they’re completely different. Spiritual Beggars are the perfect hybrid of rock, blues and metal. They gathered the main characteristics of each genre and combined them into the perfect mix that is this “On Fire”: Arch Enemy solos mixed with retro and blue-ish keyboards plus riffs with a smell of blues and stoner/doom sound equals flawless music. It’s a no-brainer. The record is just perfect.
The retro ambient takes you to a psychedelic world that connects your mind to the “karma way of life”, becoming one with the universe - Buddhism, if you will -. “Fools Gold" and “Burden of Dream” are the perfect example of the retro psychedelia: very melodic and simple tunes with catchy choruses. The lyrics are very spiritual and deep (“Young Man, Old Soul” and “Tall Tales” are enough to prove my point); heavy riffs and astonishing solos; unbelievable vocals; beautiful keyboard solos; well-played bass and, to top it up, clearly stoner -oriented drums.
“On Fire” shows that Spiritual Beggars can really vary their sound. Every single track is completely different from the next or previous one, which, in my opinion, shows their creativity. “Street Fighting Saviors”, the opening track, is an example of their fast and heavy sound and “Young Man, Old Soul” shows their slow and doom side, pleasing Black Sabbath fans, like myself. If you want a blues and melodically beautiful tune, listen to the guitar and keyboard solo in “The Lunatic Fringe” – it reminds me of a more calm and sentimental Jimi Hendrix - . Beautiful!
I want to talk about “Tall Tales” specifically because it’s my “I can do it” song and always draws a smile on my face - we all have at least one of those, right? -. It’s a seriously heavy tune; the riffs are simple, heavy and catchy with a mind-blowing solo and an interesting riff change. JB’s voice tears your ears apart because it’s more aggressive here, making you see the gift this man has. He truly is gifted and I love his voice: it’s unique, melodic, and high-pitched with a “whisky” touch to it (if one may call it that). To help you visualize, imagine Joe Cocker hitting high notes, fitting perfectly with their sound! Just Awesome!
Looking to get your mind blown? “On Fire” is the way to go! I wish I could talk about every single detail of this record, but you don’t explain their music: you feel it. I’ll never forget the day I bought this one at a music festival; it’s my pride and joy. Treasure their music like I do.
Long live Spiritual Beggars!
Sweden is the new hotbed for American hard rock. As little sense as that makes, a multitude of killer r'n'r seems to be emanating from the frosty north as of late. Michael Amott's (Carcass, Arch Enemy, Candlemass) Spiritual Beggars fall squarely in the kick ass category... if you're expecting Arch Enemy redux TURN BACK NOW!
"On Fire" is vintage 70s stoner rock, modern style. The riffs, vocals and leads reak of faded denim and marijuana smoke, recalling Sabbath in their prime. This has been done many times before, but rarely to such effect. Songs like Street Fighting Saviours and Killing Time are potentially classic, and totally well written tunes... the tracks flow together, and it's easy to distinguish between them. If you like "stoner rock" in all it's mislabeled glory, On Fire is a MUST BUY.
New singer "JB" sounds pretty much the same as Spice... and there is less organ than there was on Ad Astra. Fans of Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Cathedral, et. all need to hear this shit, it's top notch, and deserves to be heard.
I'd like to know where Micheal comes up with the Spritual Beggars music as this stuff is in stark contrast to what he has done in Arch Enemy and Carcass. I've heard a lot of people call this doom metal but that doesn't fit, the closest classification is "doom rock". It does have its doomy moments but this is more of an old school 70's type rock/metal album than anything else.
Now, I haven't heard any of the Beggars other albums but this is one is quite strong. It's a mixed bag of hits and misses, the hits being "Beneath the Skin", "Young Man, Old Soul", and "Tall Tales". When the band hits they really hit and you find yourself following along with every guitar lick, solo, riff, drum beat, drum fill and vocal melody. The misses consist of "Fools Gold", "Fejee Mermaid", and "The Lunatic Fringe" and unfortunately when the band misses it lacks any of the energy of the other songs. The rest of the album is good but doesn't stand out and slap you in the face like it should.
The vocals are very strong rock vocals(gruff but with just enough melody to keep the songs from falling apart). The guitars are great, which really doesn't need to be mentioned as this is a Micheal Amott band and the drumming pounds through the songs with lots of 70's styled drum bits.
Overall a strong album and after hearing this album I will certainly be checking out some more of the Beggars material.