Amplifier
Trippin' with Dr. Faustus


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
July 1st, 2017 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grooves of triumph and dealing with the devil himself…

Amplifier have always been at a crossroad between underground and mainstream. Initially, they tried their hands at the latter, the self-titled debut and Insider boasting some more radio-friendly material that managed at times to condense their awesomeness into 3-4 tight minutes. Still, dissatisfied with all the corporate environment and its less-to-no interest in sonic substance, the band independently released the massive Octopus, which was more or less a *** you to commercial viability. Pouring their hearts into those tracks, they expanded like never before. After some successful ventures with a couple of other labels, the guys once more decided to take the business into their own hands.

So, here we have Trippin’ with Dr. Faustus, another beast that makes Mystoria & Echo Street feel like warm up for what’s to come. Amplifier always had a knack for huge riffs as well as reaching absolution lyrically (these days Muse should take notes from them) and this record makes no exception. Sel Balamir’s cosmic tales take a twisted turn here by dealing with the devil in person. You have sarcasm, supernovas, Egyptian gods, big daddies, horses and rainbow machines all in one setting. Much like the bizarre artwork that features hundreds of fan-sent pictures mashed into disturbing/random collages, the album is a musical Frankenstein comprised of bits from their entire discography. I believe it lands closest to The Octopus, but it doesn’t get as deep as that odyssey. Tunes like ‘Rainbow Machine’ or ‘Supernova’ harken back to the soaring heights of the self-titled LP too, exploding into loud rockers complete with melodic vocals, wah solos and sharp leads. The dreamy, carefree imagery, where the sun’s shining bright (hence the cover) and you’re hazily drifting through clouds over the horizon, only that record of theirs truly creates for me (the rest usually display darker or melancholic pictures). This is the closest they’ve come to ye olde days and I’m really happy about it.

Moreover, you get cuts like ‘Kosmos’, ‘Silvio’ or ‘Freakzone’ that step it up a notch, catapulting you into outer space. The former features a larger than life riff accompanied by a droning sample, until it takes a few trademark detours. Its layers are windy though, hitting hard without over complicating things. ‘Silvio’ presents one of the effort's main motifs, where an arrogant man meets his unfortunate fate after making some wrong moves. Its slightly dissonant guitar interplay alongside Sel’s soft delivery create a moody number that works really well. Furthermore, ‘Freakzone’ has pieces of Insider and its mix of intricate rhythms & drum patterns with straightforward ones is engaging. Matt constantly makes variations on his beats, leaving the others to either concentrate on their own parts or stop/start alongside his pauses/fills. The shiny guitar leads on the chorus and lovely progressions are contrasting the ever shifting grooves surrounding them. Then, as they ascend, it all culminates into an epic mid-tempo coda which features a flashy, but totally appropriate, solo.

There are some small surprises along the way, especially ‘Anubis’, an acoustic country ditty where the band beautifully displays a side mainly heard on Echo Street lately. The lovely vocal harmonies (another strong point overall) along with the subdued picking make for a nice break from the abundant distorted madness. Moving on, there’s the weirdly straightforward ‘The Commotion’ sharing a robotic, mid-tempo mechanics. It’s not something you would expect from them, yet it’s just as enjoyable because it shifts the record’s dynamics. Also, ‘Old Blue Eyes’ is a cool, banjo enhanced grower on which Amplifier pushed the drums and the wah-assisted bass in front for a darker, brooding sound. They couldn’t resist ending in a powerful way, cranking the distortion and taking off with a final guitar solo.

Overall, Trippin’ with Dr. Faustus is another successful entry in Amplifier’s incredibly consistent discography. This is an album that any fan of theirs will enjoy, mainly because it delivers the grooves of triumph they excel at, but also brings back memories interspersed in new journeys. The music is familiar, however, you can never pin it into only one specific LP’s sound. I must admit it needs a few spins to truly sink in, so take your time and get accustomed to it. Meanwhile, you can never guess what direction Sel & Co. will head into next, still, whatever they decide to explore it's definitely worth looking forward to.




Recent reviews by this author
Cairo Knife Fight SevenBodyjar Terra Firma
Carbon Based Lifeforms DerelictsMonolord Rust
With the Dead Love from With the DeadUfomammut 8
user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2017


4376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent record!



Get/stream it here - http://amplifier.bandcamp.com/album/trippin-with-dr-faustus



'Rainbow Machine' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE4KCRZI2tg

'Kosmos (Grooves of Triumph) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4PoflfAMEo

Digging: Carbon Based Lifeforms - Derelicts

TheCrocodile
July 1st 2017


2824 Comments


never checked these guys. I might check this, but the Muse recommendations make me worried lol

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2017


4376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their themes are space oriented much like Muse's, but these guys are heavier. Check some of their earlier songs too (Motorhead, Panzer, Interstellar, Matmos, One Great Summer, Procedues), they are awesome.

PistolPete
July 1st 2017


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So good to hear

ignorethefashion
July 1st 2017


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I came across this earlier this week, previewed out of curiosity, and was sold upon hearing "Kosmos." There are a couple of spots in the middle of the album that don't do much for me, and that's really the only thing preventing me from rating this higher. It's one of the better albums I've heard this year, and I'm excited to explore the rest of their discog.

audiosmurf
July 1st 2017


70 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys can do no wrong

Coldplaz
July 2nd 2017


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow I had no idea this already came out, gonna check it out.

Their last LP was fun but I was not a big fan of the 2 follow up EPs

zakalwe
July 2nd 2017


23036 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's not out yet is it? Dig this band, octopus is quality.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2017


4376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was released on Friday :D, listen to it!!



@ignorethefashion - Thanks! Listen to the self-titled or Octopus as well, this album has a lot of influences from those LPs.

Mad.
July 2nd 2017


4674 Comments


Hmm i am v skeptical about this after Mystoria and that one track they released which was painfully

Sad they never explored the potential of Echo Street towards a more mature sound

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2017


4376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album is excellent.

Yeah, it'd be nice for them to go back and expand on Echo Street's style. I think it's an underrated record.

ignorethefashion
July 2nd 2017


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@insomniac15 Thanks for the tips! I'll check out s/t and Octopus in the very near future.

Coldplaz
July 2nd 2017


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just gave it a listen, it's a nice alt rock album with lots of heavy psych influences.

I would rank it in the middle of their discography, not as catchy as Mystoria or Progressive as The Octopus, but better than Echo street and Insider.

Sniff
July 4th 2017


3874 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^couldn't have said it better (for the most part cos I have never heard Echo Street or Insider)

PistolPete
July 5th 2017


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gawd why do us Canadians have to wait an extra two weeks for this to come up on apple music??? (I know I know, go download it illegally....I don't do that anymore though)

rasi
July 5th 2017


91 Comments


It's on bandcamp

menawati
July 14th 2017


16584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys are back on form, nice review

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 15th 2017


4376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! Yeah, this is awesome, can't wait to receive the album. I like how the overall rating is raising.

GreenyQueeny
July 17th 2017


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I prefer this slightly to Mystopia, I believe they've found a style that suits them the most on this record. A blend of the spacey feeling of their debut combined with the energy of Mystopia or Insider with hints of their more melodic side found in Echo Street. I like it.

PistolPete
July 17th 2017


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I honestly don't know what to think of this yet. I really liked Mystoria for its conciseness. This one and Echo Street suffer a bit too much from bloatedness. Found it really hard to sit through the whole thing here.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy