Amplifier
The Octopus


4.0
excellent

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (79 Reviews)
October 2nd, 2012 | 43 replies | 4,353 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not quite enough ideas to be spread across a double-album but nevertheless an excellent release from the Manchester based purveyors of space-rock.

'Amplifier' are a three piece space rock outfit hailing from Manchester in England. The band originally intended to record their 3rd and 4th albums simultaneously but decided to release the bulk of the material as this double-album. They have been compared to Oceansize on a number of occasions and indeed after his former band had broken up guitarist Steve Durose joined Amplifier for their 2011 tour.

When somebody mentions 'space rock' the type of music that normally springs to mind is that of early Pink Floyd or Hawkwind, at least if you forget the term being associated with some American and British alternative rock bands of the 90's. Amplifier do indeed blend influences from both camps as the music does take on a slight alt-rock edge at times. The spectre of the aforementioned giants of the genre loom large only a short way into the album as 'The Runner' segues into the Hawkwind-esque 'Minion's Song'. But the fun doesn't really start until 'Interglacial Spells' heralds its arrival with a trumpeting fanfare and some deranged lead guitar mayhem before settling down into a churning riff which propels the song forward with a relentless groove. The title track maybe seems a shade overdone but once the music takes off at the halfway stage it is difficult not to be drawn in by the cacaphony of doomy riffs, chaotic lead guitar and swirling synths. 'Oscar Night // Embryo' and 'White Horses At Sea // Utopian Daydream' are a couple of the more contemplative offerings and are reminiscent of early-period Porcupine Tree. In fact when the band take things down a notch in this fashion the Wilson influences are quite evident.

Although the more laid back efforts on here are enjoyable Amplifier are most definitely at their best when they let loose and put the pedal to the metal. A case in point is one of the real highlights in the guise of the mesmerizing 'Planet of Insects' with its relentless spacey riffs and air of controlled chaos which admirably paints the ideal backdrop for a retro 60's science-fiction tale of an intergalactic war against a host of ravening insectoids. Listening to the song you can almost picture poorly animated giant ants raging across the landscape in glorious black and white while vocalist and lead guitarist Sel Balamir throws out psych tinged lines such as 'predating on their magic powers, that radiate before their fingers, and though they try to suck me dry, they’ll never manage to consume my feeling of overjoy' . Balamir's 'overjoy' spills over in buckets on 'Golden Ratio' with its trance-inducing melodies and floating wah-wah guitars echoing away behind deftly building walls of fuzz. The majority of the music on this album is enjoyably mesmerizing space rock with flashes of brilliance but on the more pessimistic side there isn't quite enough decent material here to be spread over a double-album. Some of the tracks are overlong and the ideas run a bit thin on occasion.

I would definitely have considered giving this an even higher rating if the ideas had been condensed to fit into 60 or 70 minutes of music. As it stands this double-album contains rather too much filler for my taste. However, as it is being sold at the price of a single album I cannot recommend it more heartily enough to any fans of the genre.



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user ratings (96)
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3.8
excellent
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O masters of the Universe, won't you please reveal, the secrets of The Octopus, inside me that I fee...


Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

planet of insects - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsJ_lzhiHb0
golden ratio - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnzutc5EROo
oscar night - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJ7U_VMbmwQ

album streamable at amplifier.bandcamp.com

Digging: Atomic Ape - Swarm

greg84
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



7162 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great write-up. U hit the nail on the head with the review. I do think there's too much filler on this album.

Digging: Floor - Oblation

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thx greg, ye should have been condensed

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



18612 Comments


they should make you contributer damn. pos.

I like how you strategically wait for your other reviews to be off the home page and them BOOM another review by menawati lol.

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well thx atari but .......

1/ I just had some reviews I did weeks ago I will dry up now, and i dont want to have 2 reviews on front page

2/ I would not make a good contributor bcos I can't write reviews for really new stuff. Just don't have the time or the skills of absorbing music quickly.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



18612 Comments


yeah that's cool of you to not have 2 reviews on the home page.

Well contributor or not you're a good reviewer.

YankeeDudel
October 2nd 2012



9291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Havent listened to this much since it came out really but it was pretty good from what I remember. Def shouldnt have been a double album but w/e I hate double albums 98% of the time.

Digging: Ravi Shankar - Three Ragas

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 2nd 2012



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well they selling it at price of a single and if you chop out the filler when you listen its better, maybe i should give it 3.5 but i was sorta reviewing the best 60 mins of music

Yazz_Flute
October 2nd 2012



18735 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Didn't like this.

Digging: Anekdoten - Vemod

PistolPete
October 2nd 2012



3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

glad to see a review for this finally, wanted to write one but the album is too meaty for me to dissect and be able to explain properly

you gotta admit though, ya there's filler, but way less than you'd expect just looking at the tracklisting before listening. Interstellar is hands-down the best song they've ever made

Digging: Jolly - The Audio Guide to Happiness (Part 1)

cb123
October 2nd 2012



1962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

quite enjoyed this, is a bit of a chore to sit through all of it in one sitting but still a great album...even if a little over ambitious

Mad.
January 4th 2013



2931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review's kinda short to cover the whole album, but it is 2 hours long.

I really enjoyed the album, I'd say the only filler track is The Emperor so I can't really say anything else bad about the album apart from how long it takes to listen to...

stabbler
January 29th 2013



1413 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

side 1 : great
side 2: average
overall: good

JS19
March 27th 2013



3629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is one of the only double albums I've heard with no filler. What is everyone blabbing about?

Digging: The Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity

Mad.
March 27th 2013



2931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My thoughts exactly, bar The Emperor, which drags occasionally...

side 1: great
side 2: brilliant
overall: AWESOME

Forever and More is one of the best closers I've ever heard.

JS19
April 7th 2013



3629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think all the tracks except for:

- White Horses at Sea // Utopian Daydream
- Bloodtest
- Oscar Night // Embryo
- Forever and More

are 5 material

Mad.
April 7th 2013



2931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm sorry bro, Forever & More is one the best tracks on there. That intro, those lyrics, that build up, and then the second section which is absolutely mindblowingly good - the slow increasing groove of the bass until the burst of power that is the climax, man that song is perfect.
- White Horses is a nice relaxing change from the heavier side, though not one of the best
- Bloodtest has some great drumming and psychedelia
- Oscar Night's lyrics work so incredibly well, the way he says "death to Hollywood" so innocently...

Weaker tracks are:
- Minion's Song
- The Octopus (great until it repeats itself in the second half)
- The Emporer

...imo...

JS19
April 7th 2013



3629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don't get me wrong, none of them are even average, I just think they're a bit more forgettable than the rest. I really love The Emperor as well, and most people don't. Just re listened to Forever and More and yeah it's better than I gave it credit for...

Mad.
September 1st 2013



2931 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You learn to love the length of this, it never gets old in the way that you can revisit different tracks all the time. Forever & More gives me the same feels every damn time

Gard3n
September 5th 2013



271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Average rating is WAY too low. But it's a record that needs time to sink in.



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