Thursday, December 02, 2010

Spiritual Beggars - Return to Zero

Spiritual Beggars
Return to Zero

What with guitarist Michael Amott and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo’s main band Arch Enemy finding international stardom, keyboardist Per Wiberg joining Opeth and singer JB concentrating on his main gig Grand Magus, it’s a wonder Spiritual Beggars could get its shit together to make another album. But, five years after the last one, the Beggars are indeed back, boasting a new singer (Apollo Papathanasio of Firewind, who apparently has some time, since Firewind guitarist Gus G joined Ozzy Osbourne – ain’t heavy metal incestuous?) and a new LP. Return to Zero follows in the footsteps of the last couple of Beggars albums: brick-smashing 70s-style riffs tagteaming with 80s attitude, with plenty of leadfooted rhythms, generous guitar riffing and vocals so macho leather would be too wimpy for them. Kind of like Deep Purple crossed with Judas Priest. Pitched somewhere between Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan, Papathanasio sounds more comfortable with the classy power metal of Coming Home or the dreamy anthem Spirit of the Wind than with the brawny biker metal of We Are Free or the 80s flash of Concrete Horizon. But there’s nothing here that would set loyal Beggars fans off their feed, and fans of 70s/80s retro metal will find plenty to bang heads about as well.

- Michael Toland

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