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A promising debut - 79%

Xeper, March 24th, 2003

I want to rate this album higher, but even so it's a very potential-filled debut from one of my favorite bands. It starts off with Yearly Dying, which sounds suspiciously like Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady, and therein lies one of the only real letdowns of this album: it sounds very derivative much of the time. I guess they hadn't quite found their style yet (particularly in Mike Amott's riff-writing factory, I mean), because the riffing on here, while sometimes interesting, can't possibly compare to albums like Ad Astra (now THAT was a fucking masterpiece of stoner/groove metal, whatever you wanna call it). The riffing isn't quite as technical or groovy/original as on their later stuff (and while technicality is obviously no requirement for this kind of 70s-influenced stuff, it seems that Amott shines best when throwing that kind of flair into his guitar work and comes up with devastatingly cool stuff). Everyone sounds great on this album though, especially Ludwig, his drumming is noticeably jazzy and well-executed. My version of this album is the recent reissue on Regain Records, which comes with 4 bonus tracks: Blind Mountain, If You Should Leave, Nowhere To Go, Sour Stains. I'd recommend getting this version, which shouldn't be too difficult because it's certainly the only one I've been able to find, and the bonus tracks give the other songs a run for their money, surprisingly. Not filler at all. It's funny, in the middle of some of the lyrics where it'll denote song structures, it says like in the middle of the Magnificent Obsession lyrics, "Lead/Jam-session", which obviously shows the songwriting was much less focused. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes it doesn't work to their advantage. Hardcore fans are recommended to check this album out, as I'm glad I added it to my collection, but those new to Spiritual Beggars should start out with the mother of all albums: Ad Astra.