Spiritual Beggars – Another Way to Shine (Music for Nations)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Rock

Music for Nations has seen fit to give their four albums’ worth of Spiritual Beggars material a new lease of life, releasing each opus on coloured vinyl with a free CD rolled into each package –  and new artwork too. And we’re glad that the label has made this move, as the Swedes’ 1996 to 2002 period was particularly bountiful.

Sophomore album, 96’s Another Way to Shine, saw founder and ex-Carcass/current Arch Enemy man Michael Amott peeling off gloriously heavy, groovesome riffs like there was no tomorrow, and singer Spice leading the charge with a gutsy vocal performance. Anyone who’s only familiar with Amott’s extreme metal work will probably get a shock listening to retro-flavoured gems like the gargantuan Magic Spell, as the axeslinger sounds like he was born to play this music. What’s more, Spiritual Beggars’ songwriting is so strong that it should resonate across generations of rock fans: if you’re unmoved by tracks like Sour Strains, you’ve probably got no soul…

Another Way To Shine really marked Spiritual Beggars’ arrival as a bonafide act, not just an interesting diversion for Amott. Classic rock, classic album.



Spiritual Beggars – Mantra III (Music for Nations)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Rock

Another Way to Shine’s follow-up saw keyboardist Per Wiberg add another dimension to Spiritual Beggars’ sound, and saw the band pen a glorious song in the considered, mature Euphoria.

Released in 1998, Mantra III lacks some of looser, relaxed vibe that envelopes its predecessor, but it’s still bulging with Iommified anthems like Homage to the Betrayed and booty-shaking romps such as Redwood Blues.

The hazy Inside Charmer brings to mind The Doors (before it explodes into rock ecstasy), and Broken Morning has an almost funky strut to it – both are thoroughly entertaining and representative of an album which perhaps fell short of expectations at the time, but still gets you boogying as if your life depended on it.

Another fine effort from the talented Swedes.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 High sprits


Spiritual Beggars – Ad Astra (Music for Nations)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Rock

The last Spiritual Beggars album to feature original vocalist Spice, 2000’s Ad Astra proved to be a fitting close to his career with the Halmstad outfit, as it’s a phenomenal chunk of ballsy hard rock, glistening with rich seams of psychedelia. Left Brain Ambassadors gets the party started with a Herculean groove, the ultra-catchy Angel of Betrayal is surely one the band’s finest ever songs, Escaping the Fools storms in like Black Sabbath on a coke binge… yes, it’s a good’un alright, and was something of a breakthrough for the quartet.

This was a band entering the noughties with a fistful of riffs and a heartful of passion for their music, and they hit the road for almost two years following Ad Astra’s release. If these songs are anything to go by, those live shows must have been a blast.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Astral journey


Spiritual Beggars – On Fire (Music for Nations)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Rock

Marking the start of a new era for the Beggars, 2002’s On Fire saw Spice replaced on vocals by Janne ‘JB’ Christoffersson of Grand Magus fame – arguably one of metal’s greatest contemporary singers – and Roger Nilsson join the fray on bass too. And fittingly it’s a more melodic release than its predecessors, with JB thrust into the spotlight and more than holding his own.

A very different proposition to Spice – more Dio than John Garcia – JB brought his own bombastic, classic metal style to the band. And on songs like rough and tumble opener Street Fighting Saviours, and the stomping, adrenalin soaked Tall Tales, it was the perfect fit.

Ok, so Michael Amott’s riffs don’t exhibit the same flair as Spice-era albums, but there’s a swagger to On Fire which is infectious… and this album proved that the band could flourish with its new line up.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8.5/10 Fired-up

 Reviews by Richard Holmes