Spiritual Beggars – “Earth Blues”

Spiritual Beggars – “Earth Blues” (Inside Out Music)

Formed 20 years ago by Carcass’s Mike Amott, Spiritual Beggars was his stoner rock successor which in time has fitted in with his other band, Arch Enemy, not to mention the other guys’ bands like Firebird, Opeth and Grand Magus! “Earth Blues” is the second album to feature Greek / Swedish vocalist Apollo Papathanasio and right from the first stroke it’s clear that these days Spiritual Beggars are more of a hard rock band with a strong 70s funky groove especially on the Glenn Hughes like ‘Dreamer’. Elsewhere, Amott and Apollo pile on the rock melodies in their respective guitar and vocal talents giving Thin Lizzy a run for their money on ‘Hello Sorrow’ while Papathanasio’s own style owes much to Ronnie Dio although being slightly more gravelly as defined on ‘Kingmaker’. With Sharlee D’Angelo’s crunching bass and Per Wiberg’s Hammond organ rounding off the 70s groove on this neat 12 tracker, “Earth Blues” is a faithful tribute to the sounds and style of an era that spawned some of rock’s greatest legends. Continue reading

Dark Sermon – “In Tongues”

Dark Sermon – “In Tongues” (Nuclear Blast)

These Floridians were formerly known as In Reference To A Sinking Ship which was metalcore before turning to the dark side lol. These days they play fast heavy death along the lines of The Black Dahlia Murder with occasional forays into blurring Behemoth death, although there’s certainly still a strong core element a la Hatebreed in Johnny Crowder’s vocals not just in terms of their hoarse barking power but also the variety of screams and even a hint at pig squeals on songs like ‘The Tree Of New Life’, ‘Cursed’ and ‘Forfeit I – The Crooked Quill’. In between the twin guitars do a fine job of churning out riffs, warbling melodies and experimental like solos to complement the various styles. Although not original it’s clear that the band have found new ground in Dark Sermon, as there’s no denying their tightness and turbine energy in gettin a crowd going on this one. Continue reading

Cerekloth – “In The Midst Of Life We Are In Death”

Cerekloth – “In The Midst Of Life We Are In Death” (Hells Headbangers/ Hammerheart Records)

Eerie, sinister metal from Denmark! Definitely not fans of Hans Christian Andersen, Cerekloth sing to the tune of morbid, grim death. Deep, guttural vocals from Jens Bendtsen Pedersen prominently drive dark songs like ‘Halo Of Syringes’, ‘Mesmerizing Holy Death’ and ‘When Outcast Become Kings’. Graced by ultra heavy riffs and depth charge bass that could sink a ship, the brilliance of Cerekloth comes from the haunting clanging guitar melodies and evil warblings that contrast superbly with the band’s undeniable power. Unlike a lot’ve their death metal peers, these Danes are in no hurry to deliver their pound of fetid flesh – instead, they want to crush you slowly in agonizing death – but only after they’ve scared the living shit out’ve you in the nightmare of this excellent album. Continue reading

Devil To Pay – “Fate Is Your Muse”

Devil To Pay – “Fate Is Your Muse” (Ripple Music)

Goddamn – prime stoner sludge from the Indiana wastelands! Reputedly inspired when singer / guitarist Steve Janiak was hospitalized in a drug-induced coma, these backwoodsmen lay on the juice with syrup thick riffs from dirty guitars, fuzz toned bass and shed smashing drums. You could hear Devil To Pay if they were playing in the middle of the Ozarks! Still, they have a prime rockin edge that shifts songs like ‘This Train Won’t Stop’, ‘Wearin’ You Down’ and ‘Black Black Heart’ into a higher gear compared to their more weed hazed cousins. Janiak’s own vocals mix in Jerry Garcia with even a little Danzig in his more soulful moments but overall DTP is one of these balls out bands in the spirit of Karma To Burn, COC and the mighty Scissorfight. Continue reading