My expectations on the new album were really high, because Janne of Grand Magus is now part of the line-up, after former vocalist and bass-player Spice left the band. And I was a bit fed-up with the old sound of the Beggars. For my taste, "Ad Astra" was too polished and, somehow, overproduced. It's not to deny that Michael Amott knows, how to play his guitar and the rest of the band is tight and precise as hell, but I've missed a deeper emotional approach in the music.Ok, this is the new album "On Fire", and times have changed. Janne's powerhouse vocals are giving stronger bluesy vibe to the songs, and the production is more natural what lifts up the dynamic in the music. "On Fire" is full of influences from bands as Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath (in the 80's!)and a bit of Thin Lizzy, as in the opener "Street Fighting Saviours". "Black Feathers" is a total 80's Heavy Metal track, bombastic and epic and not really my cup of tea, while "Beneath The Skin" knows to surprise with a hookline, that won't leave my head since weeks.
Another song I like to point out is the brilliant "Fools Gold". But aside of the 70's, Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society left their footprints in songs as the above mentioned "Beneath The Skin" or "Young Man, Old Soul". All this has changed the sound into a better direction, but what I still miss is the deeper emotion in the music. That's still my biggest problem with the Beggars, since the "Mantra III" album, although "On Fire" is more down-to-earth. So what about my expectations, you may ask? I prefer the new album a lot more than the forerunner and it's a nice ride through Heavy Metal and Hardrock history with all the highs and lows. The limited digipack contains the epic bonus track "Burden Of Dreams", what means that you've got twelve songs, all in all. You will find "On Fire" in your nearest record-store, where you can make your own opinion about it.