Amplifier - Insider
Stonerish Progressive Metal
12 songs (59.03)
Release year: 2006
Amplifier, Steamhammer
Reviewed by Aleksie
Surprise of the month

Amplifier was a totally new name to myself from the depths of promoland. Apparently they’re English and have been considerably hyped by the press at large. Goes to show you my awareness of current events in the popular scene. Usually the over-enthusiastic hype generated by the media of the good nation on the island gives me nothing but shudders. Fortunately this time I didn’t let it hold me back.

For a trio, Amplifier generates one hell of a wall of sound on their second album. After the feedback settles down on the opening Gustav’s Arrival, some monstrous, booming chords that remind me of the sub bass-bombs that Devin Townsend is so fond of on his own releases. These crushing blows morph into eastern-tinged riffs and devilishly grooving drum mastery that flattens me right on the spot. Sweet Bejezus, why hadn’t I heard of these dudes before?

O Fortuna carries on the rolling and crooked riffage and quite progressive leanings in song structures. The heavy prog is at times also spiced up with hefty doses of stoner rock which adds even more groove. For that I thank and bless Amplifier. The singer Sel Balamir spews forth his dadaistic and lightheaded lyrics (I mean, check out some of the song titles: Mongrel’s Anthem, Map Of An Imaginary Place, Oort, etc) at a very 70ish style, bringing visions of Genesis. This happens even more so as at times Balamir sounds a helluva lot like Peter Gabriel – a point that will make me like this stuff even more. Gotta love Gabriel-like things. Popesque melodies are also dropped from time to time to make the stuff hook better and it works. Oh, how it works. In fact, from time to time this band makes me think how Tool would sound if their material was slightly lighter and the weirdest fiddlings from their ten-minute mammoths were cut away. Although when in comes to weird fiddling, Amplifier goes there too, for example with Procedures, complete with a typewriter-intro (yes, as in a regular typewriter doing the opening rhythms), tempo-tricks and smoky melodies that fit in very well into the weighty rock n’ roller.

What Is Music? takes us all the way into slightly ambient territory and Hymn Of The Aten sooths us with beautiful guitar jangling before more punishing riff-blasts. The production on this record, you inquire? As Fat Tony from the Simpsons would say: “Suberb” (pronounced /supoib/, mind you). It backs the blasting elements brilliantly and keeps every instrument in balance. Although I would not completely confirm Metal Hammers statement, Think trippy, heavy as fuck sonic violence, I would however agree on their comparison of a crossbreed of Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd.

This music is perfect for dwelling in your own thoughts, quite hypnotic I’d say. As a live experience Amplifier would probably lull me into a trance of some sort. As an hour long package of this kind of stuff, Insider might be too much to handle in one sitting, unless you are a serious progstoner-freak. In any case, I have one of the biggest surprises of the year in my hand right now – one that will stay on my playlist for some time. With or without a bong, Insider should take your thoughts to a whole new level.

Killing Songs :
Gustav's Arrival, O Fortuna, Insider, Mongrel's Anthem, Strange Seas Of Thought, Procedures, Elysian Gold, What Is Music? & Map Of An Imaginary Place
Aleksie quoted 86 / 100
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There are 4 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:15 am
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