Amplifier - Octopus
Amplifier's third release - a double CD - is a grand experiment with songs, sounds and music, beginning with 'The Runner'. A slick assemblage of electronic sounds matched to the thump of running feet. Speeding up, slowing down, tiring, losing breathe, till eventually crossing the line to the thunderous acclaim of a 'Day In The Life' like crashing piano chord.
A metaphor for this magnum opus, no doubt.
Hardly user friendly, but a stall setting opening. A "listen if you dare" challenge. It works. You want to hear more.
'Minion's Song' is altogether more accessible. A grandiose Floydian epic, with little rainbow touches of Klaatu and the Fab Four at the edges, adding weight and colour.
'Interglacial Spell' is huge. It stomps in on an earthshaking riff. A half spoken narrative marches to the beat of the song's powerful rhythmic core, the words like space junk in orbit around a black sun, gradually being sucked in by gravitational force.
That Beatles' influence is again heard on 'The Wave'. There are clear echoes and shades of that band's experimental musical aspirations, 'Sgt Pepper' and 'Abbey Road' here. Where the guitar, bass, drum limitations are being cast aside and replaced with tape loops, processed samples, string quartets and full orchestras. All set to memorable melodies. A winning combo.
The title track, 'Octopus' is a real standout. You'll love the way it suddenly rears up out of the heavy metal sludge, works through the white noise till it gains an astounding, muscle popping axe solo, and ends with some dazzlingly dark harmonies.
'Planet Of Insects' comes closest to conventional rock/metal/prog. Densely textured, sonically rock solid, with bass heavy rhythms, ringing guitars and a fabulously sinuous tune snaking through the gloom and emerging in the light of emotional impact.     
And so the album continues in true classic prog fashion.
That's "classic" prog, where invention, imagination and feel hold sway over contemporary prog. Music that seem to consist entirely of convoluted rhythms, contrived time signatures and ice cold execution.
Effectively, 'Octopus" is two hours of matching new, innovative musical ideas to the tried and tested, with respectful nods to pioneers like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Yes. And it's all turned out so well. Who would have thought.

Written by Brian
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
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Brian: 8/10

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Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Member) - Friday, February 11, 2011
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Comments: 166
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I check out a couple of the songs, such as Octopus, and one definitely would need to be in a more laid back mood to really capture the little nuances that the songs have to offer (basing this of course from a few songs that I managed to check out). I will be getting this one.

Posted by Little Drummer Boy
Friday, February 11, 2011

Comment by Brian (Staff) - Friday, February 11, 2011
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LDB - yes, you're absolutely right. You need to get into the right mood.
But I found the album does this for you - after a couple of tracks, you're hooked.
I'm looking forward to hearing your opinion once you've heard the whole thing.

Posted by Brian (Staff)
Friday, February 11, 2011

Review by Brian

Released by
Ampcorp - 2011

Disc: 1
1. The Runner
2. Minion's Song
3. Interglacial Spell
4. The Wave
5. The Octopus
6. Planet Of Insects
7. White Horses At Sea // Utopian Daydream
8. Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange
Disc: 2
1. The Sick Rose
2. Interstellar
3. The Emperor
4. Golden Ratio
5. Fall Of The Empire
6. Bloodtest
7. Oscar Night // Embryo
8. Forever And More

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