Amplifier – The Octopus

Artistic visions and commercial opportunities often collide with each other. Musicians want to put out their music as they intended it to be, while record labels are striving to make a certain amount of profit. British band Amplifier are in that situation with their new The Octopus record, which is actually a two disc effort. They’ve decided to put it out on their own label, thus preventing any sort of interference from outside sources. It’s a quite a gamble, so let’s take a closer look at what their latest effort is all about.

The music on The Octopus is good, really good. Amplifier have a lot in common with Oceansize, but they’re also heavily influenced by Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree and the experimental tendencies of A Perfect Circle and Tool. The experimental and psychedelic edge of Pink Floyd has left its mark on The Octopus as well. But then again, which band within the progressive rock and metal isn’t influenced by Pink Floyd in some way?

The guys in Amplifier took their time creating this album. This resonates in the carefully constructed songs like Minion’s Song, Interglacial Spell, The Wave, The Emperor, Golden Ratio and the brilliantly titled Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange. This album is a great example on how effective song writing can create a perfectly balanced record. Each composition is a sonic adventure through intricate psychedelics, different sound effects and different layers of music revolving around well-written songs.

The voice of Sel Belamir has the same timbre as Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, thus enhancing the Porcupine Tree connection. With The Octopus Amplifier operate at the same level of excellence as A Perfect Circle and Steven Wilson and Co. It does take a lot of patience before The Octopus sets in, but it doesn’t get much better than this, especially when you appreciate adventurous and ambitious music. The pristine production underscores the grandeur of this record.

Amplifier deliver the first great record of 2011 with The Octopus. If this is an indication of things to come within the progressive rock/metal genre, then we’re in a for great year!

written by Raymond Westland

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