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Spiritual Beggars: Return to Zero

Michael Amott's been quite busy with his main act Arch Enemy and the reborn Carcass, but he's found time to squeeze out an album from his other band, Spiritual Beggars, titled Return to Zero. Hard to believe Amott has had this 70's/80's heavy rock styled band going for as long as he has, but due to the popularity of Arch Enemy he's only been able to resurrect Spiritual Beggars every few years for albums and tours. Though it's been a while since their last one, Return to Zero was well worth the wait.

From the opening moments of "Lost in Yesterday", it's obvious that Amott still has a deep love for Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Uriah Heep, which is a refreshing change of pace from his shredding melodic death metal alter ego. Opeth keyboard player Per Wiberg adds the tasty organ & synth tones to the rampaging "Star Born", a crunchy hard rock piece that just screams 'vintage', complete with meaty riffs and sizzling leads from Amott. Another star in this band is vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (Firewind/Evil Masquerade), who is quickly becoming one of the new stars on the scene alongside Jorn Lande. His powerful pipes rage to the heavens on teh bruising Sabbath/Trouble/Candlemass inspired stomp of "The Chaos of Rebirth" and "We Are Free", as well as melodic Heep/Purple inspired organ & guitar driven rocker "Concrete Horizon". The rhythm section of fellow Arch Enemy mate Sharlee d'Angelo & drummer Ludwig Witt (Firewind) keep things locked in on the driving masher "A New Dawn Rising", another Deep Purple inspired number thanks to raging organ & guitar riffs from Wiberg and Amott, and Papathanasio delivers his best 'inner Coverdale' on the early Whitesnake inspired "Believe in Me". "Dead Weight" is one of the CDs most 'doom heavy' pieces, and would have sounded right at home on Heaven & Hell's most recent release The Devil You Know, complete with some crushing Iommi inspired riffing from Amott. Toss in a Mellotron drenched "The Road Less Travelled" and a blistering cover of Uriah Heep's "Time to Live" featuring some killer organ from Wiberg and Apollo's soaring wail, and you have one stellar heavy rock album.

There's a bit less 'stoner/doom' here than on past Spiritual Beggars releases, but the 70's inspired hard rock element has been cranked up a notch. If you like early Whitesnake, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and of course a bit of Black Sabbath, chances are you are going to completely love Return to Zero. Apollo has really added a lot to this band, giving these retro styled rockers even more power & conviction. It all adds up to one of 2010's big surprises, and sure fire hit for Spiritual Beggars.

Track Listing
1.Retirn To Zero (Intro)
2.Lost In Yesterday
3.Star Born
4.Chaos Of Rebirth
5.We Are Free
6.Spirit Of The Wind
7.Coming Home
8.Concrete Horizon
9.A New Dawn Rising
10.Believe In Me
11.Dead Weight
12.The Road Less Travelled
13. Time to Live

Added: November 27th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 4353
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Spiritual Beggars: Return to Zero
Posted by Björn Erland on 2011-01-05 06:25:55
My Score:

It seems to me that the major inspiration behind "Concrete Horizon" may not have been Heep/Purple but rather MSG and then specifically "Desert Song" from the "Assault Attack" album. Great album and review anyhow.

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