Sunrise to Sundown
Reviewed By Chris Gibbs
Guitarist extraordinaire Michael Amott (Arch Enemy, ex-Carcass, ex-Carnage) is one busy man, that’s for sure. The fiery redhead’s long standing, '70s influenced classic rock supergroup, Spiritual Beggars, have just released their ninth studio album, Sunrise to Sundown. That is just as many records as Michael’s main band, Arch Enemy.
Spiritual Beggars employs a plethora of major players whom themselves are extremely active individuals when you look at their resumes. The current line-up consists of bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy, Witchery), drummer Ludwig Witt (Firebird), keyboardist Per Wiberg (ex-Opeth), and vocalist Apollo Papathanasio (ex-Firewind).
I am not well versed in the band's earlier output while they were fronted by Grand Magus vocalist Janne "JB" Christoffersson, but Apollo most certainly suits this band to a tee and this marks his third recording behind the mic. Having previously fronted Greek power metal giants Firewind, Apollo is in fine form, sounding like a young, crazed Ian Gillan. In fact, we can take such comparisons even further by saying the entire band has been possessed by Deep Purple.
"Diamond Under Pressure" is a perfect example of this statement. One could potentially swear that the legend Jon Lord is laying down these mammoth organ riffs from beyond the grave. I don’t intend this as a slight towards the band by any stretch, if anything it’s a compliment to a band obviously proudly wearing their influences and hearts on their sleeves as this is surely no accident. “No Man’s Land” even brings to mind the oft forgotten Tony Martin-era of Black Sabbath with a chorus that is lifted straight from Headless Cross.
Things definitely take a turn for the better towards the end with "Dark Light Child" and “Lonely Freedom” standing out as far more original sounding songs, as does closer “Southern Star”. While the performances from all players are stellar, two thirds of Sunrise to Sundown is heavily focussed on Deep Purple or similar bands of that era and sadly, that’s all I can seem to hear.
Such prominent focus on a specific sound results in the imbedded thought that it has all been done before and results in the question; why do it again? The legends came, they saw, they conquered and that classic era of timeless music is and will always be readily available for us to enjoy. Be it at the click of a button or the more enjoyable task of physically putting on a classic rock record.