Lets face it boys, beards just aren’t cool. They’re bristly, detested by the female species and often induce such stigma that the wearer is left open to repeated bludgeoning at the hands of the fashion police. Spiritual Beggars are not merely repeat offenders in this arena; they are top of the special forces’ hit list. Causing those with pogonophobia to run for their very lives, the Scandinavian brutes are nothing short of 21st century Vikings. Oh, and they make pretty cool music too.
Thankfully they’ve decided to leave off burning our villages, but it seems pillaging is a further trait they share with Norse Invaders of old, having stolen band members from Arch Enemy, Mercyful Fate and Carcass in their quest to create a 70’s fuelled riff based band that spews forth some seriously meaty Stoner tinged metal. Understandably, a collective of musicians from such extreme bands could make for a fairly fear inducing encounter but once past the excess hair and into their infectious groove, one discovers the Spiritual Beggars are much more prince than pauper.
Demons is the sixth full length outing from the Stoner metal crew, who really are improving, both musically and technically with each release. Previous album On Fire had some killer riffs and awesome grooves on it, but was found severely lacking in consistency. Having retreated to their Scandinavian lair and plucked up the courage to diverge from the standard fuzzed out Stoner sound, the band have empowered themselves to swing between soft organ infused jams to brutal chunky riffs that have more attack than a mother goose defending her young.
Throwing You Life Away and Salt in Your Wounds kick things off with a blast, and sound uncannily like they were stolen from Orange Goblin‘s last recording sessions and given a tad more melody courtesy of an exquisitely played Hammond while Dying Every Day features vocals as a mere accessory in its epic six minutes of solo’s and free form jams. Through the Walls is an ultra slow grunged out 70’s groove, which as far as I can hear contains a tambourine and a glockenspiel. (now that’s bravery!)In My Blood whacks the metal meter up to 11 with Zakk Wylde‘s influence shining through like a floodlight on the head crushing riffage that carries a (somewhat repetitive) standard to its completion. A vicious attack on the spiritual side of matters occurs in No One Heard: “You’re waiting for salvation/guess it never came to pass/you think you’re God is waiting/all your praying, it’s all lies. I’m not convinced quite what ground Janne Christoffersson has for this level of cynicism which jars somewhat amongst songs about , but let’s just hope he’s got it more faith in God than the authenticity of the comically dire ‘Demon’ that adorns that album cover.