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Spiritual Beggars Ad Astra Review

General Information:

Artist: Spiritual Beggars
Album: Ad Astra
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Stoner Rock
Released: 2000
Length: 60 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Music for Nations

Track List:

01. Left Brain Ambassadors
02. Wonderful Word
03. Sedated
04. Angel of Betrayal
05. Blessed
06. Per Aspera Ad Astra
07. Save Your Soul
08. Until the Morning
09. Escaping the Fools
10. On Dark Rivers
11. The Goddess
12. Mantra
13. Let the Magic Talk

Spiritual Beggars Ad Astra Cover

Spiritual Beggars Ad Astra Cover

Spiritual Beggars Ad Astra Review

Ad Astra is the fourth Spiritual Beggars album and the last to feature original singer Christian “Spice” Sjostrand. It is a fitting final album for him that sets the standard in terms of his own performance and that of his band mates which have all improved leaps and bounds in the time since their debut album, Spiritual Beggars, was release in 1994.

There is no build up or easing off with Ad Astra. Spiritual Beggars go in at full throttle and after the third song, Sedated, you’re already half expecting the group to throw in a ballad but we’re in luck – there aren’t any. Ad Astra is almost an entire hour of face melting guitar riffs, authoritative percussive blows, dense bass and lively keyboard work to fill in any semblance of quiet.

The first parts of Until the Morning and Mantra would have you thinking otherwise before you get floored by brooding doom metal force on the former and flashy solo work on the latter. Given that Spiritual Beggars don’t slow down on Ad Astra and focus primarily on the guitar, it is hard to call it sonically diverse. What they lack in this department is more than made up for with their finely honed song-writing skills and stunning musicianship that will blow your mind straight out the back of your head.

Ad Astra is a staple of the Spiritual Beggars discography with the single-minded, full throttle approach to the song-writing actually being the Spiritual Beggars greatest asset that doesn’t fail them for a single moment.

External Links:

Spiritual Beggars Homepage
Spiritual Beggars on Wikipedia | Ad Astra on Wikipedia
Spiritual Beggars on Discogs | Ad Astra on Discogs

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Melvins A Senile Animal Review

Melvins A Senile Animal Review

Artist: Melvins
Album: A Senile Animal
Genre(s): Heavy Metal, Rock
Subgenres(s): Doom Metal, Hardcore Punk, Sludge Metal, Stoner Rock
Released: 2006
Length: 41 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Ipecac Recordings

Track List:

01. The Talking Horse
02. Blood Witch
03. Civilized Worm
04. A History of Drunks
05. Rat Faced Granny
06. The Hawk
07. You’ve Never Been Right
08. A History of Bad Men
09. The Mechanical Bride
10. A Vast Filthy Prison

Melvins A Senile Animal Cover

A Senile Animal is the 15th album by sludge metal pioneers Melvins. Playing alongside founding members Buzz Osborne (guitar) and Dale Crover (drums) are bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis of Big Business. Having 2 drummers might sound redundant or gimmicky even for a band that pioneered the unlikely fusion of hardcore punk and doom metal but any sense of doubt is buried deep under an avalanche of marinated distortion and mayhem.

All 4 band members share vocal duties but you’ll be hard pressed to single out who’s who with their uniformed ghoulish wails. Aside from the odd line, the lyrics are hard to make out even at the best of times. In a way that can only be pulled off in rock music, the lack of clarity here adds a certain murky charm to A Senile Animal.

The blend of hardcore punk and unassuming doom metal plods with the aesthetics of stoner rock rings true to the sludge metal sound. Most songs on A Senile Animal lean heavily in favour of the hardcore punk influences as well as the unique styling of the Melvins. The major change comes with the last 3 songs; A History of Bad Men, The Mechanical Bride and A Vast Filthy Prison. They are on average 6.5 minutes long (whereas most other songs are about 3 minutes) and the tempo all but dies so that the Melvins can let the doom metal inspiration ooze out.

Their flexible song-writing and genre-bending styles add a wealth of depth that is rounded off by how fluidly drummers Dale Crover and Coady Willis play together. The Melvins will give you a real tour de force on A Senile Animal that you won’t find anywhere else.

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Spiritual Beggars Demons Review

Spiritual Beggars Demons Review

Artist: Spiritual Beggars
Album: Demons
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Hard Rock, Stoner Rock
Released: 2005
Length: 49 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Icarus Music, Inside Out

Track List:

01. Inner Strength (Intro)
02. Throwing Your Life Away
03. Salt in Your Wounds
04. One Man Army
05. Through the Halls
06. Treading Water
07. Dying Every Day
08. Born to Die
09. Born to Die (Reprise)
10. In My Blood
11. Elusive
12. Sleeping With One Eye Open
13. No One Heard

Spiritual Beggars Demons Cover

Demons is the 6th effort by Swedish quintet Spiritual Beggars. The band draws on influences that span across the rock spectrum to include elements of psychedelic rock, blues rock, hard rock and even heavy metal for the colossal song In My Blood. When meshed together these diverse influences form the basis of the semi-obscure stoner rock scene, of which the Spiritual Beggars are usually associated with.

The lyrics are quite straightforward and focus on the struggles of life, regrets and depression but are presented in a way that is more akin to perseverance than misery. It is the last album by Spiritual Beggars to feature singer Janne “JB” Christoffersson (Grand Magus) whose powerful grit laden voice brings the songs on Demons to life in a way that few others ever could.

His voice is backed by a plethora of catchy, driven guitar leads and passionate solos courtesy of founding member Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, Carcass). This contrasts with bassist Sharlee D’Angelo as his playing seems to exist somewhere in the middle of everything else and while never being washed out, he rarely comes to the forefront. He gives the album a denser sound quality but lacks many of the outstanding moments you’ll hear coming from the guitar.

Spiritual Beggars frequently delve into fluid instrumental passages that give each band member the chance to really come to life and show that they have perfected their craft. Drummer Ludwig Witt injects creative fills between verses and keyboardist Per Wiberg provides colourful, sometimes textural keyboard lines (and an extended solo at the end of Dying Every Day). He often sounds like he is taking on a support role but if he featured more prominently it could have introduced an exciting and different dynamic to their sound.

Spiritual Beggars embody the heart and soul of rock music on Demons and in doing so they create a genre defining album that should have a place in the collection of all rock fanatics.