Amplifier - Amplifier
This album from the Manchester three piece could only be best described as progressive metal. using guitars in the most elaborate way possible Amplifier raise the bar for heavy, intense guitar music. Like a rockier Radiohead or an even more malevolent Muse, they make each song sound like a mini-drama with most tracks well over the five minute mark, yet never outstaying their welcome or droning on. Amplifier have been hovering about in Manchester for over five years so to say it's eagerly awaited is indeed stating the bleeding obvious.
"Motorhead" has nothing to do with Lemmy and his Chums as the distorted, scratchy, guitar noises and frequent feedback lead us to a slightly Americanized, earthy vocal. Amplifier sound tight, focused and in control and there's a touch of pretension in it's po-faced intentions, but you're also in awe at the sheer scale of their magnificent power. The mad jam towards the end of the track had a sense that it's been improvised. "Old Movies" has the usual slow build up of a chilled out verse leading to the explosive chorus with a Stephen Hawkings subject matter of space, time and the universe. The riffs of grandiose and their musings about life are interesting to hear in today's climate. "The Consultancy" ups the ante with a melodramatic intro featuring crashing drums and urging you on with the excitement. As the singer proclaims "I feel a ride coming on like a car crash" you know his emotions are at breaking point. Amplifier are a band who love to use effect pedals, maybe even more so than Matt Belamy, but they use restraint when necessary. "UFOs" is weird, wonderful and unsettling. The guitars sound like U2 on their classic "Unforgettable Fire" album and it's the kind of song perfect for performing in stadiums.
"Amplifier" has a strong element of those 70s rockers Led Zeppelin and it's obviously an influence the band adhere to. There are times when the band over-reach themselves and try too hard for perfection, but when they hit the high spots, which is often, you can clearly hear the sound of genius evolving.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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