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Choice Of The Month July 2005



SPIRITUAL BEGGARS: Demons 2005-06-20 stoner rock / prog metal
SPV / InsideOut
Playing Time Cat. N°
49:04 SPV 085-48362 CD - IOMCD 214
Review by Rating
Vera 9,5/10
nederlands Review

When I listen to ‘Demons’, I suddenly understand that I once took a train to a Spiritual Beggars concert without the guarantee of getting home afterwards. Man, man, what kind of marvellous music they make up there in Sweden, for more than twelve years. And in different line-ups. Maybe the band has become a little less sharp through the years, but it is the kind of heavy rock that blows your mind and make you forget all the worries in the world, while emotional moments of introspection are not missing. The band came into being when guitarist Michael Amott left Carcass and cheered the world with a steamy stoner rock approach, certainly a hell of a change after the technical death metal Carcass. That sound has been perfected on every album and nowadays we can speak of a band who combines the energy of modern times with the pure instinctive eagerness of former times. Fans of early Deep Purple for instance, they will not believe their ears and the guitar skills with excessive spatial distortion and wah wah pedal effects are akin with the magic of Jimi Hendrix. ‘Demons’ turned out to be a very organic record, it catches the live atmosphere of a band performing in the studio. JB as vocalist, making his entrance on the previous album ‘On Fire’, is a fantastic front man. He sounds raucous when needed, but makes your flesh creep when he shows his melancholic nature in a track like ‘No One Heard’. Bass player Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy, Mercyful Fate) is quite new and keyboardist Per Wiberg we all know from Opeth. Concerning the production we are dealing with a famous name again: Fred Nordström.

The intro makes it instantly clear that we are dealing with extreme high quality here. “A Simple intro like that?” I hear those doubtful figures mumble… yes such a brief intro…

just listen to those stone-pitted riffs and the epic melody which is splinted on top of it. Roll ruffles summon some expectations and then the band cuts loose in ‘Throwing Your Life Away’ with delicious greasy vocals, droning bass and groove-laden riffs. The chorus is irrefutable Spiritual Beggars and that means inviting us to sing along (or maybe just hum for those more sedated ones). The muddy riff texture never lacks of energy or speed and magnificent seventies soloing with a tear in the right eye glance pass all by before they swallow the bait again in the almost light chorus. Sturdy rockers like ‘Salt In Your Wounds’ and ‘One Man Army’ (with a familiar sounding guitar run that runs synchronous with the vocals) continue the revels.

But not only in grooving rock tracks these spiritual beggars rule. The mid paced ‘Through The Halls’ proves that these Swedish lads go to the bone in quieter songs too. Just consider those sensitive vocals where sentiment drips off. But never cheap romantic attitudes, always contemplations which can be described as licking of the wounds of an intense existence. Jesus, what a hell of a singer is JB! And I used to think that Spice would be hardly replaceable. Another apex is ‘Dying Every Day’. It begins rather frank with a wah wah guitar intro, swings like hell and refers guitar-wise to the late Jimi Hendrix. It has a stowing rhythm and freaks out gloriously (with that irresistible organ in front – hello Deep Purple), but it offers also breathtaking guitar skills and JB in a very emotional mood. A stunner that has all the ingredients to make it as a classic track. ‘In My Blood’ is without any doubt the most heavy track on the album and they close down with a paradigm of deep emotions. In ‘No One Heard’ JB sings like Kitchen Of Insanity. OK, this comparison does not stand fire. Because nobody knows Kitchen Of Insanity. I would like to risk a second comparison: the atmosphere of the song ‘Easy’ of Faith No More (qua vocals). Be sure to purchase the special edition, for that one comprises a bonus CD with eight tracks live in Japan (April 2003).


Michael Amott: guitar
JB: vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo: bass
Per Wiberg: keyboards
Ludwig Witt: drums


Inner Strength (intro) (1’19’’)
Throwing Your Life Away (3’33’’)
Salt In Your Wounds (3’20’’)
One Man Army (3’57’’)
Through The Halls (5’09’’)
Treading Water (3’33’’)
Dying Every Day (5’45’’)
Born To Die (4’34’’)
Born To Die (reprise) (1’22’’)
In My Blood (4’13’’)
Elusive (3’34’’)
Sleeping With One Eye Open (3’44’’)
No One Heard (5’02’’)


Spiritual Beggars (1994)
Another Way To Shine (1996)
Mantra III (1998)
Ad Astra (1999)
On Fire (2002)
Demons (2005)

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Last updated: 09/07/2005 .
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