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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Spiritual Beggars

Spiritual Beggars

Review by Gary Hill

This is a reissue of a CD that was originally issued in the 1990’s. It was the debut for this Swedish outfit and showcased a powerhouse band. These guys have a blend of classic rock and stoner metal that finds them not far off from acts like Clutch. In fact, I’d say that fans of Clutch should really enjoy Spiritual Beggars. Heck, anyone who likes their rock heavy and with classic rock and roll influences would dig this one. It’s a great disc without a weak track in the bunch. It’s a good thing this has been reissued because it’s a vital album. This isn’t any kind of earth-shattering genre bending, but it’s also just plain cool!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Yearly Dying
A meaty metal riff gives way to a killer jam. This intro reminds me a bit of Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil.” They turn it into more of a classic rock with heavy bluesy textures sound. We get a tasty guitar solo and up until late in the track you would probably cast this one strictly under the heading of raw metal. The thing is, they through in a weird (and very cool) jazz jam to end things.
Pelekas
Fast paced and powerful, this is stoner metal at its best. I hear some hints of Danzig on this, too. They shift this out to a funky little progression mid song and then power it out from there into a killer metallic groove. This is meaty and oh so tasty.
The Space Inbetween
If the central riffs on the last couple tracks were good, this one is incredible. A fast paced grind this feels a bit like Motorhead – at least in terms of the main theme. They haven’t created a whole new mold here with this track, but they have worked out all the rough spots (and there really weren’t any) to get a “class a” model. We get a great guitar solo on this, too.
IfThis Is All
You might hear the early Motley Crue sounds on this piece. In some ways it doesn’t differ a lot from the rest of the music on show here, but they have such a tasty sound, what difference does that make. This is another scorcher on a disc that’s full of them. It also has one of the best guitar solos on show. The instrumental segment with its shifts and turns is a killer, too. I hear early Rush on this one, as well.
Under Silence
A rather frantic grind leads things off. They launch out into a killer metallic rock and roll groove from there. Once again, don’t expect completely new ground to be broken, but figure that this is some of the tastiest examples of the genre you’ll find. The instrumental break on this one, with its thundering bass and bursts of guitar, is excellent.
Magnificent Obsession
This is a slower jam. Other than that the motif isn’t that different from the rest of the music here. This is another great tune on a disc that doesn’t have any weak music. They turn this out into a killer space rock meets stoner metal jam as they carry on, and you might hear traces of early Hawkwind in this mix. The spirited bass certainly adds to that impression. At over nine-minutes in length this is the longest cut on show here. This is probably the best track on show here and by itself worth the price of admission.

Blind Mountain
This cut feels to me a bit like Mountain meets Black Sabbath – if you can wrap your head around that. The instrumental section on this one has a jam band turned metallic sort of feel to it, with a healthy dose of blues wrapped into the heart of it. They create a little side trip late in the track that’s a cool change of pace with a classic rock riff taken into metal territory to it. 
If You Should Leave
More metal Mountain music leads this off. They move this stomper through a number of varying sections and deliver it with every bit of power and class we’ve come to expect from them.
Nowehere To Go
This a grinding jam that’s rather plodding in terms of its tempo. It’s another strong track and has a bit of a psychedelic feel to it. This is probably closer to a pure “stoner rock” sound, but still they make it their own. You might even hear a bit of Ted Nugent on this one. The distorted, warbly guitar solo segment is a nice touch. There is also a cool movement here where a drum solo is interspersed with a great metal jam. You can spot the Sabbath influence when they come out from there.

Sour Stains
Here it’s a faster pace. This is another slab of tasty retro rock with some serious stoner metal textures.  The bass line on the instrumental segment late in the track really feels a lot like something that would have come from the mind of Geezer Butler. The cool chugging grind later is another Sabbath-like element.
 
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