Published on August 24th, 2016 | by Justin G.
Spiritual Beggars: Sunrise to Sundown
Swedish heavy rockers Spiritual Beggars are back with a new studio album, their ninth overall, titled Sunrise to Sundown. It’s the third Spiritual Beggars album to feature vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind), who has proven to be a surprisingly good fit for the band’s retro rock sound. The band also includes Arch Enemy/ex-Carcass guitarist Michael Amott and his Arch Enemy bandmate Sharlee D’Angelo, as well as ex-Opeth keyboardist Per Wiberg and Grand Magus drummer Ludwig Witt.
Spiritual Beggars has always had an old school heavy rock/stoner metal sound, and that hasn’t changed here. Sunrise to Sundown just seems really, really…purple. As in Deep Purple. Previous albums have always had a bit of a Deep Purple vibe, but this one sounds like Mark II tribute album. Part of that is just how prominent Per Wibergs keys are on these songs, and part is due to Papathanasio’s vocal flexibility. He has such a distinctive voice and is so well suited to singing power metal that hearing this more soulful, Gillan-esque tone is a bit of a shock.
Sunrise to Sundown does have its heavier, more “stoner metal” moments (“Dark Light Child” is a great example) and Amott’s riffs still owe a lot to Tony Iommi’s, but it’s impossible to listen to this album and not think Deep Purple. And that’s not a bad thing at all. It has a great groove and is super easy to get into. “Hard Road,” “Lonely Freedom” and “Southern Star” are highlights, but there’s no filler here.
Other retro-minded rock bands may get the attention, but Spiritual Beggars has been doing it longer (and better) than just about all of them. This is a true “all-star” lineup of musicians paying tribute to the kind of music that influenced them. Their love for bands like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath comes shining through here, making Sunrise to Sundown the kind of album that will appeal to fans of the newer bands like Graveyard, Winery Dogs, Scorpion Child and Rival Sons as well as the classic heavy rock bands.
Edition Notes: There’s a special edition CD version of Sunrise to Sundown that includes a bonus disc with two cover songs (Mountain’s “Thumbsucker” and Ten Years After’s “Stoned Woman” as well as five live tracks. The cover songs are done quite well, and while the live material is enjoyable, it’s not exactly essential. Still, it’s worth spending the extra cash on the deluxe edition if you’re more than just a casual fan of the band.
Summary: This band really can do no wrong.