Review Summary: Ampere returns like they never left
After ten years, Ampere has become a sort of household name inside of the emotive hardcore scene. Their style remains one of the most original and novel aesthetics to date. Now, after an extended period of silence, they have released a new, ear crushing, heart-wrenching 13-minute LP.
Formed in 2002 in Amherst, MA, Ampere consists of members from legendary bands such as Orchid, Bucket Full of Teeth, and Wolves. They have released a solo album, a compilation of older songs, and eight splits with other bands. They have toured on four continents, a feat that is difficult for a band that plays relatively inaccessible music. One might call them the champions of screamo. But lately, Ampere has slowed down significantly, only releasing one song in 2008. Because only a handful of shows were played in the past few years, rumors of a hiatus formed. But with “Like Shadows,” all of those misconceptions are stricken, showing that Ampere is as strong as they have ever been, if not stronger.
For those unfamiliar, Ampere plays a style of abrasive hardcore at lightning speed, and uses complex and major chords to create a contrast between melody and vocalist. Odd time signatures throw the listener off and add even more energy to the already intense and chaotic music. The quick songs and deep, emotional lyrics read like someone is screaming dense philosophical poetry. The combination of these elements gives Ampere a sound unlike any other – as if Descartes was screaming his final thoughts while the Earth was caving in.
It is evident in their sound that Ampere has been working non-stop since 2008. The 15 songs are stylistically similar to Ampere’s previous material, but function in a way that the band has not explored previously, making “Like Shadows” Ampere’s most cohesive endeavor to date. The album begins with ten seconds of guitar feedback to prepare the listener for the excursion that they are about to take. And from then on, the feedback functions as a transitional element between tracks, as if they never turn the amps off.
These “breaks” are almost necessary, because the music is so incredibly dense; it is as if the listener is given ledges to stand on before diving further down. Moments like the drum motif in “Escapism Pt. II” and the crescendo in “Tiny Victories,” make “Like Shadows” an excellent, if not the best, addition to Ampere’s catalog. For these reasons, I would recommend Ampere’s “Like Shadows” for anyone that has a desire for the extreme.