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Spiritual Beggars: Demons

Anyone who's familiar with Michael Amott through his work with Arch Enemy, Carcass, Carnage, or any othe extreme metal band he played with (Candlemass, Kreator) might be quite surprised upon hearing his second band Spiritual Beggars. This band has been around since 1992 and finds Amott exploring a more groove-laden stoner rock type of music that is somewhat reminiscent of Trouble and the more classic 70's rock bands that run the gamut from Deep Purple to Uriah Heep to Black Sabbath.

Demons is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2002 release On Fire which was the debut release for current singer JB (Grand Magus). Supporting Amott are his Arch Enemy bandmate Sharlee D'Angelo (formerly of Mercyful Fate and Dismember), new Opeth keyboardist Per Wiberg, and Ludwig Witt on drums. The fact that the lineup hasn't changed for the last couple of years has resulted in a collective musical vision of the band members. The songs are very organic sounding, as if they were parts of jam sessions. Along with the classic 70's rock songs "Throwing Your Life Away" and "Salt in Your Wounds", there are also groove-filled darker cuts in the form of "Dying Every Day" and "Treading Water". Whilst it's Sharlee D'Angelo's throbbing bass work on the more straightforward songs that will catch your attention right away, the stoner tracks see keyboardist Per Wiberg shining. Wiberg uses plenty of Hammond organ sounds that bring Uriah Heep's earlier work to mind during the instrumental workout on the longest song "Dying Every Day". He also incorporates various Deep Purple-like analog keys and marries them with Amott's expressive guitar solos.

Granted there aren't any hits like "Left Brain Ambassadors" or "Killing Time" on Demons, this album is still Spiritual Beggars' darkest and most midtempo sounding work. It also branches out from the classic Beggars sound lending itself to varied influences and experimenting with more uncommon themes such as the pianos blending with exquisite cello and violion work on the short instrumental "Born to Die (reprise)". Older Spiritual Beggars may not get into it on the first listen, but it certainly is worth checking out, especially for Amott's terrific guitar playing and the whole band proving themselves as a tight unit who are eager to pay their influences a nice homage. Last but not least, Fredrik Nordstrom's production work is nothing but stellar.

(Please note that this review has been written based on the standard edition of the album. There is also a special edititon of Demons that comes with a bonus "Live in Japan" disc featuring eight live tracks from the band's 2003 Tokyo concert.)

Track Listing

  1. Inner Strength
  2. Throwing Your Life Away
  3. Salt In Your Wounds
  4. One Man Army
  5. Through the Halls
  6. Treading Water
  7. Dying Every Day
  8. Born to Die
  9. Born to Die (reprise)
  10. In My Blood
  11. Elusive
  12. Sleeping With One Eye Open
  13. No One Heard

Added: August 8th 2005
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Spiritual Beggars Website
Hits: 1748
Language: english

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