Review Summary: Another killer non-mainstream album goes unheard by millions of people who have no idea what they're missing!
To say that Spiritual Beggars was a departure from the rest of Michael Amott's work would be an understatement. For those who arent familiar with death metal, Michael Amott was a guitarist for the grindgore band Carcass, and later lead guitarist of Arch Enemy. In the past, Amott has played against some of the most brutal voices in the genre, and although many people were impressed with his considerable skill they could not handle the intensity of death metal vocals. Spiritual Beggars is the answer to this problem. They fuse Michael Amott's guitar, with the pleasant-sounding voice of Janne Christophersson, creating a unique hybrid of metal and hard rock.
The guitar work throughout this album is stunning. This is the only time I have ever heard Michael play without a rhythm guitarist, and he does an exceptional job. Although he has retained most of his death metal roots, he has also adapted his playing to mesh with the rock n roll feel of the album. His riffs are fast, melodic, and groovy and the solos are absolutely searing!” Dying Every Day" is an absolute masterpiece, with powerful hard rock riffs and a solo that flies into the stratosphere, then drags it back down for some dark earthy tones. As far as the guitar is concerned, this album is every bit as good as "Rise of the Tyrant."
The vocals of this album are definitely the most memorable part of Spiritual Beggars as a whole. If you expected Spiritual Beggars to be fronted by a growling menace such as Angela Gossow, you were wrong. Janne has a very powerful voice that manages to be deep and soulful, without being the least bit guttural (with the exception of “In My Blood”). In some places his voice is shockingly similar to that of Jimi Hendrix. The vocal work on "Through the Halls," sounds like "Angel," by Hendrix. Janne is a very talented singer, and a great choice for this genre.
Unfortunately, the drummer of Spiritual Beggars, Ludwig Witt, is nothing special. He can hold his own with the rest of the instruments, but he doesn’t add any sort of creativity to the album. His beats are simple, and the speeds of his rolls are nothing to be proud of. Amott’s choice for drummer seems odd, considering in both Carcass and Arch Enemy, he is backed by talented drummers.
Sharlee D'Angelo brings "Demons" to life with his bass playing. Unlike in Arch Enemy, Sharlee bass is very audible, and is a driving force behind this album. Incredibly heavy bass riffs accompany Michael's riffing throughout songs like "In My Blood," "Through the Halls" without being overshadowed by the louder instruments.
Lastly, one of the things that makes Spiritual Beggars a standout band, is the addition of the keyboards, played by Per Wiberg. As with the bass, the keyboards are not drowned out, instead the shine through adding texture and soul to the album. Outstanding keyboard work can be heard in "Dying Every Day," and "No One Heard," but if you’re looking for some great keys, listen to Spiritual Beggar's live performances.
In conclusion, Spiritual Beggars is a very talented band, and Demons is a very solid album but one thing I find extremely disheartening how unknown they are. It took me ages to even find this music, and even longer to get it. If you liked Spiritual Beggars, spread the word! Tell your friends, tell your family, and get the word out about this band!
Dying Every Day
Sleeping With One Eye Open