Spiritual Beggars - Earth Blues review
|Release date:||April 2013|
01. Wise As A Serpent
02. Turn The Tide
03. Sweet Magic Pain
04. Hello Sorrow
05. One Man's Curse
07. Too Old To Die Young
09. Road To Madness
10. Dead End Town
11. Freedom Song
12. Legends Collapse
Disc I [Limited edition bonus - Return To Live: Loud Park 2010]
01. Left Brain Ambassador
02. Beneath The Skin
03. One Man Army
04. Wonderful World
05. Fools Gold
06. Star Born
07. Concrete Horizon
Earth Blues, the 8th full length album by Sweden's Spiritual Beggars and I really didn't know how to put my thoughts into writing about their latest release. Don't get me wrong, I really dig it, and compared to their other albums this one has more "oomph" and depths to it. There are far less psychedelic infused songs on here, which maybe signals a new direction for the band.
2013 is also the bands 20th Anniversary and I think Spiritual Beggars took a step back and focused more on the overall cohesion of the album instead of on the individual songs. Don't get me wrong, the songs are great on the new piece and I am not saying that their prior releases lacked this "quality control". I just feel that their last album, Return To Zero, was a bit too - epic for a lack of better words, and Earth Blues seems more complete as a whole.
With such skilled as well as musically diverse members it sure is refreshing that Spiritual Beggars did not take the easy road in bringing us just another "super-group" of musicians who play the style they are accustomed to. No, they did a 180 and concentrated on the long forgotten era of Seventies groove indulged tunes. In short, if you are looking for even the slightest similarity to Arch Enemy you probably won't get this album.
Do I hear Black Sabbath on the opening riffs of "Turn The Tide"? Sure.
Does the beginning of "Hello Sorrow" somewhat bring Thin Lizzy to mind? Yes.
Am I thinking about Kansas, Ronnie James Dio and a lot of Uriah Heep while listening? Oh hell yeah, without a doubt. But Spiritual Beggars don't just copy and paste those sounds but rather put their own modern spin on it.
It is sometimes hard for a band to get their point across with just one guitarist and nobody can deny that Michael Amott (Arch Enemy) knows how to get the best out of his instrument. So it is no surprise that in each and every song on this album he showcases his craft and makes those notes sing even more. A second shredder is really not necessary in this band since Mr. Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth) does provide the balance between heavy and symphonic quite well on his keyboard.
As with their prior releases, the bass is very heavy in the mix and Sharlee D'Angelo, who is also Amott's band mate in Arch Enemy, proves that he is not just talented in the "darker" art of bass playing but also very capable of delivering the ambiance with a mean groove to any song.
Not much to say about the drumming on the album; it's awesome, straight forward with no fuss and - well, yes, it's great.
This is also the second album with ex-Firewind singer Apollo in charge of the vocal duties and while I was skeptical and maybe not all that pleased with his performance on Return To Zero, he totally nailed it on Earth Blues. Maybe the band had more time to develop a "working" relationship with him, who knows? While Apollo does not have that dark JB (former singer) voice, he sure as hell has a range which is kick ass and very, very well represented on this album. From low to high and anywhere in-between, in short - that dude can sing.
I really like the entire album but three songs do speak to me the most: "Dreamer", which is a nice little ballad, the closing track "Legends Collapse" and "Too Old To Die Young", which is by far my favorite track on the album. Spiritual Beggars brought their point across with this release - the Seventies will live in our hearts forever.
Written on 24.03.2013 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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