Spiritual Beggars - On Fire review
01. Street Fighting Saviours
02. Young Man, Old Soul
03. Killing Time
04. Fools Gold
05. Black Feathers
06. Beneath The Sun
07. Fejee Mermaid
08. Dance Of The Dragon King
09. Tall Tales
10. The Lunatic Fringe
11. Look Back
12. Burden Of Dreams [bonus]
Sweden's Spiritual Beggars were virtually written off following the departure of bassist/vocalist Spice after touring commitments for 2000's breakthrough album Ad Astra were completed. Many would have thought that Spice's other group, The Mushroom River Band, would have filled the gaping hole he left behind, however, Spiritual Beggars have come back mightier than ever with the appropriately named new album On Fire.
During the lull, guitarist Michael Amott recorded a new album with his other regular band [Arch Enemy's Wages Of Sin]; drummer Ludwig Witt recorded with Firebird [Deluxe] and Per Wilberg recorded with Mojo Rising. But when it came time to regroup, they decided to recruit vocalist JB [Grand Magus] and bassist Roger Nilsson [The Quill]. Along with the line up change, comes a change in sound from the band. The stoner rock sound that defined their fourth album Ad Astra has been cast aside for a classic seventies rock vibe. You could even go as far as to compare the band with classic Burn era Deep Purple, early Whitesnake and possibly even classic Rainbow.
The hard rocking ?Street Fighting Saviours? captures the renewed vitality within the band chemistry perfectly. Michael's riffs simply hold your attention, while new vocalist JB brings shades of soul, blues and plenty of texture to the song. There's a bit of a doom introduction to ?Young Man, Old Soul?, but it isn's long before it shifts into a low down heavy number reminiscent of the old glory days with Spice. The lead off single from the album is ?Killing Time?, and is certainly one of the more commercial tracks on the album, while ?Fools Gold? and ?Black Feathers? sound like some unearthed classics that have been given a recent clean up and finally released. ?Beneath The Skin? and ?Dance Of The Dragon King? are full on masterpieces, with Ludwig and Michael leading the charge. Both are destined to become live favourites! The short instrumental ?Fejee Mermaid? highlights Per's talent and flair, while ?Tall Tales? and ?The Lunatic Fringe? rock like it's 1975! The closing number ?Look Back? is the perfect closer with Per taking the charge once again, but allowing Michael to shine [particularly during the extended solo] without out shadowing each other.
While JB does fall a touch short of the mark at times, there's more than enough feeling and energy on offer here to keep even the discerned listeners coming back for more. Spiritual Beggars have finally found the perfect combination of each other's incredible talents, and released an album that has surpassed all expectations.
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