Spiritual Beggars: Sunrise To Sundown

Michael Amott’s old-school hard rock project sounds more trad than ever.

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More than 20 years after first being established as a trad-metal side project to his more intense day jobs as guitarist of Carnage and now Arch Enemy, Michael Amott’s Spiritual Beggars are making music that increasingly would have found an appreciative hirsute audience at any point in the last 40 years.

While once they were considered fellow travellers on the stoner-metal scene, the post-Dio howl and squalling solos of Sunrise To Sundown’s opening, title track reflect a pronounced move back towards classic hard rock.

The Jon Lord-style organ that opens Diamond Under Pressure is deepest Purple in tooth and claw, an influence that was similarly noticeable on 2013’s Earth Blues. Elsewhere the echoes come from other parts of the Deep Purple family tree, such as Still Hunter’s Whitesnake-y riffage.

The band still pull off such generic material with strutting style and infectious riffs, though, and when Lonely Freedom starts with a motif full of thick, Kyuss-like bass fuzz, the contrast between that and the windswept chorus that follows makes it an all the more exhilarating listen.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock