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Amplifier - The Astronaut Dismantles Hal CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.88 | 65 ratings

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4 stars I first heard Amplifier as the support band for Porcupine Tree in Bristol last year, and I wasn't paying too much attention because I was so desperately waiting for my favourite modern band to turn up. Also I didn't know their music.

However, there was enough here to make me stand up and listen - especially in the latter two songs of their set - as it sounded so spacey! I don't remember what these songs were - but guys if you are reading this - then use that formula.

I eventually decided to buy some of their music - especially as they have been compared to Oceansize - also one of my favourite bands.

Let me say this - from this EP - they are a little like Oceansize and Porcupine Tree, but I would say that they are their own band, and maybe shouldn't be compared. Maybe they aren't quite as good as PT or Oceansize, but I think maybe that's a little unfair for me to say that yet, because I haven't heard their full albums yet.

However - I DO think that this EP is REALLY GOOD - and very different. It is extremely spacey, and the lyrics tremendously support that. That there is only one guitar in this is a total surprise. All the Synth sounding parts are created by guitar, and that is a really fantastic idea - and it works really well.

Don't turn it up too loud - there is a lot of feedback, and it may damage your ears! But I remember Dave Gilmour once saying on the Live at Pompeii (modern version) that feedback is what it's all about or something.

This band has a lot of potential, and I can highly recommend them - for those that love a lot of heavy power but not raw metal noise (unlike Prog metal). I'm not sure that metal fans will understand this music, but equally Indie lovers and pop lovers won't either. It's not romantic music to play to your girlfriend!

The music is great, and deserves a very good rating - although I think it does have a couple of minor faults, that if ironed out will send Amplifier into the greats of music.


WHAT's REALLY GOOD.... The guitar work, the feedback and the generated synth sounds. His pleasant voice (no annoying strained falsettos, or death metal roaring). The lyrics - totally lush - really science-fiction and fitting with the spacey music. The mixture of grace and power and build-up - all awesome! The science-fiction feel.

The slight faults (I mean they really are only minor - this is meant to be constructive!).... Sometimes the drums seem a little dulled out (a harder and more clashy sound might work sometimes). Although I really like Sal Balamir's voice, he occasionally sings the words a little short and doesn't carry it into the bassier parts of the sound (occasionally needs a bit more bassier/ lenghtier/ melodramatic - to move with the guitar sound somehow). Also the songs seem a bit too repetitious - might need a little bit more variation within (this is where Oceansize excel - sorry I shouldn't compare it's not fair). Also, a short guitar solo that flows into the near-end of Continuum would have been nice, but maybe I'm a little too old-fashioned! I know guitar solos can sound old-fashioned, cheesy and often don't work, but I feel an occasional short one that flows with the music might be beneficial. I mean 60 seconds of guitar solo over a full album surely would be acceptable?

One great song is the hidden Scarecrows at the end of the EP. This more gentle acoustic like song is really really moving. They should do a few more songs in this field. Maybe they could start with a song like this and build up the power as the song extends. I'm sorry - it's not for me to tell a band what to do, and I really don't mean to be critical. It's also unfair - I ought to reserve my judgement until I've heard Insider.

All said and done - a fantastically interesting EP - well worth the money, and I highly recommend it. I love the Astronaut Dismantle HAL title. I'm a great fan of 2001 - Space Odyssey - especially the HAL/ Jupiter mission part. *******I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the movie, turn off the sound and watch the HAL/ Jupiter mission part, and listen to this EP at the same time - it really works!********


PinkPangolin | 4/5 |


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