Spiritual Beggars - Demons

13 songs
49:00 minutes
***** ***


Michael Amott has been one of the most influential people in the first wave of death metal, creating with Carcass the founding stone for anatomic gore death metal. When Carcass disbanded, he remained faithful to the genre with his new band Arch Enemy, but also decided to create an alter ego with Spiritual Beggars. A funny anecdote is that Carcass co-guitarist Bill Steer also went retro with Firebird.

Spiritual Beggars released their debut already more than ten years ago, with Demons being their sixth CD already, and their second with vocalist JB who also just released a very good new album with his band Grand Magus. Although Spiritual Beggars sound like a regular rock'n'roll band, there is more celebrity present here: Keyboarder Per Wiberg plays with death metal avantgardists Opeth, and bass player Sharlee d'Angelo is also a member of Arch Enemy. Only the drummer seems to be only in Spiritual Beggars.

Demons is a stylish Seventies hardrock album, combining groovy European hardrock (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple) with the more earthy American variant. The result is a bunch of songs that sound the way a good vegetable soup has to taste: thick, rich and full of healthy vitamins. JB has a very present voice, as much at home with deep gravely hardrock rants as with the rarer more melodic moments. The rhythm section is deeply rooted in the early Seventies, with Amott's guitar being the actual star, although the keyboards add enough of olde-tyme synth layers. To quote the label info: "There's just no substitute for a killer riff".

You can't summarise Demons more concisely. And the only thing preventing me from dealing a higher rating is the fact that there are no really overwhelming tracks on demons, but the quality level is constantly high, with not a moment's time to bore yourself. Maybe not as dirty as the last Grand Magus record, but full of substance and ideal for friends of retro hardrock.

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