Review Summary: Awesome find for any music fan
Its hard to find people that listen to certain artists. Most of the popular music in the industry today isn't the best that can be found. One of the bands that hasn't been exactly mainstream and gotten much attention is Spiritual Beggars. Most know Spiritual Beggars as being an offshoot band from Arch Enemy
, both sharing the same bassist, Sharlee D'Angelo, and guitarist, founding member Michael Amott. The lineup for their fourth album, Ad Astra (a Latin phrase meaning 'to the stars'), also featured Per Wiberg (of Opeth
fame) on mellotron, piano, harmonica, and backing vocals (incredible guy), Christian "Spice" Sjöstrand on vocals and bass (this album Sharlee wasn't apart of), and Ludwig Witt on drums.
Left Brain Ambassador
The opening song for Ad Astra kicks off with a nice bass opening from singer/bassist Spice. Soon in chime the drums and guitars, and you first hear the Stoner-esque voice of Spice. A simple song about someone whose never really experienced life.
Another great song put off by the band. They call it Stoner Metal for a reason. Spice sings about 'oiling the universal joint' and 'my dog sitting by my side, watching me getting high.' Great song nonetheless.
Easily one of the best tracks on the album. Also another song that mentions weed, 'I had my wine and my joints.' All the lyrics are sang in the first minute and a half of the song, leaving the other 2 minutes and 50 seconds (making this song run for 4:20) for the incredible solo from Michael Amott. After the solo comes the outro, a repeated guitar riff that also fades into another great solo.
Angel of Betrayal
This was the first song I had heard from Spiritual Beggars and it completely enticed me into buying Ad Astra. This was the first (and only, to my knowledge) Spiritual Beggars music video. Easily one of the catchiest songs on Ad Astra. Per Wibergs keyboards are easily audible and go perfectly with Spice's singing/bass.
A short and sweet song. The great drums and keyboards make this song stand out just a little more than the others.
Per Aspera Ad Astra
Per Aspera Ad Astra, arguably the title track, is Latin for 'To the stars through hardships.' This song is the happiest in the album, the keyboards enlighten the track, leading up to the solo, a short slow one with the rest of the instruments calmly playing in the back. Its very hard to get the guitar riff out of your head for this song.
Save Your Soul
A fast paced song that is a can't miss for Ad Astra. The guitars/bass seem a little repetitive up until the chorus hits, where Spice loudly yells 'SAVE...YOUR...SOUL!' Another slow solo without backing guitars is featured here. The intensity that Spice brings to this song make it easily a favourite.
Until the Morning
This song is quite different than the others on Ad Astra, Until the Morning being a lot slower than the rest of the album. A static beginning, then an acoustic opener lead up to a slow paced guitar/bass lead. There's also an absence of a solo with this song, making this my least favourite on the album.
Escaping the Fools
Another longer song from Spiritual Beggars. The pace picks up from Until the Morning, a faster paced riff playing throughout the song. The solo on here brings back memories of Arch Enemy, being even faster than the others on the album. The outro for Escaping the Fools is also very well done, a slower paced riff being played under another great solo by Michael Amott.
On Dark Rivers
My favourite song on Ad Astra. A great bass lead with a catchy guitar riff start On Dark Rivers off until the drums and mellotron kick in, and along comes another catchy riff on backup guitar. This song proves what Spiritual Beggars is made of, incredible drumming (some of the best I have heard), two great guitar riffs that are hard to get out of your head, and perfect vocals make this track unmissable. The solo here really shines out over the rest, very remnant of one you would hear from Arch Enemy. The outro ends this song greatly, one of the best ones I've heard.
The fastest paced song on Ad Astra, it starts out with Spice yelling out while the guitars and bass play swiftly behind him. The aggressive drumming and light keyboards compliment the song. This, along with Left Brain Ambassadors, are the two shortest songs on Ad Astra, both running a little over three minutes.
The slowest, calmest, and longest song on the album, reaching almost seven minutes. The beginning of the song consists mainly of a calm drum beat and eerie mellotron keys, the guitars first being heard two minutes inward. The song picks up near the four minute mark with a strong guitar lead. Calm at first, then gradually louder, until crashing at the end. A great closing song.
All around great instruments and vocals.
Very very catchy tunes.
Second half of the CD lacks compared to the first.
May get a little repetitive.
All in All, I'm proud to have this CD in my collection. Not many people know about Spiritual Beggars, and I'm more than happy to be one of them to know. Ad Astra blew me away and will be a favourite to me.
Best Songs - Wonderful World, Sedated, On Dark Rivers