Spiritual Beggars keep the rock rolling on its ninth record, Sunrise to Sundown. The title track is a straight forward rocker with a tinge of psychedelia. The song is rather generic despite frontman Apollo Papathanasio’s souful vocals. Things improve on “Diamond Under Pressure” which is a mix of Deep Purple and 80s hair metal. Keyboardist Per Wiberg pulls off a convincing John Hammond impression while Michael Amott throws out a nice bluesy solo. The fast paced “What Doesn’t Kill You” again shows the band drawing inspiration from Purple’s hard rock period. It is a fact paced track layered with guitar and organ leads. It is also a short progressive rock song, clocking in around four-and-a-half minutes. There are a few hard rockers like “Hard Road” and sleaze punk inspired “Still Hunter.” The primitive “I Turn To Stone” is based around a repetitive drum beat that is interrupted by several dreamy acoustic guitar phrases. It is one of the most unique tracks on the record and takes the listener on a ride.
Sunrise to Sundown is strong in some areas and weak in others. The musicianship is disappointing at times because the members played in some of the greatest metal bands of all time. Michael Amott and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo both play in Arch Enemy. In addition, Amott’s musical resume includes Carcass and Carnage. Per Wiberg played in Opeth. Still the songs on Sunrise are not that awe inspiring. I understand that this is a hard rock project, but these guys are perfectly capable of playing stellar rock. There are bright spots when the band finds its groove and a sick lead here and there. However, the record falls a little short.
Sunrise to Sundown is not a bad record. There are some decent tracks and a few good ones. However, the record is just naff and there is a feeling that the group is holding back. I would not recommend this record unless one is a big Spiritual Beggars fan and has to have every record in the band’s discography.
For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://www.spiritualbeggars.com/