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THE OCTOPUS

Amplifier

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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5 stars I think I just found my top album of 2010. "The Octopus" by Amplifier is an ambitious double album sprawled across two hours of wonderful music. Now, normally I would decry the whole idea of even making a double album, as I have had a pretty bad track record when it comes to double albums in the past. The vast majority of the time, I'll find myself bored before I even get to the half-way mark of a double album due to lack of variety or interesting music (*cough* The Wall). I was honestly quite a bit worried that the same would apply for "The Octopus", so color me surprised when I listened to the entirety of the album only to find myself wanting to listen to it again and again.

"The Octopus" shows Amplifier at their very best, and dare I say most progressive. No, I'm not talking about "prog" in the "Look at us, we can create long, bombastic songs with lots of odd time signatures" sense.. but from the beginning of the album all the way to the end, you can hear the band experimenting with different sounds and trying to expand their borders into new territory, to great success.

As far as the actual music is concerned, there are a lot of interesting moments throughout that not only hold the listener's interest throughout the course of the album, but also make the listener want to come back for more. I have a really hard time singling out any individual songs as being weak in any sense of the word. Overall, "The Octopus" is an absolutely fantastic album that begs one question: Where will Amplifier go next?

Update: Just thought I'd express one thought about Amplifier that I think often gets misrepresented on this website. I think a lot of people who see the band listed under the "Psychedelic/Space Rock" category, having not checked out their music before, will probably be disappointed with their music. If anything, I think Amplifier is more well-suited to being listed under "Heavy Prog". They occasionally have spacey moments in their music, and sometimes the space rock themes can be found in some of their songs, but as a whole I wouldn't begin to classify them under this grouping.

Report this review (#349552)
Posted Friday, December 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sincerely believe that this album is not for me, is an album of Psychedelic, Space Rock? I don't think, rather I found a post-prog album, I sometimes found it very monotonous, but I must admit they did a better job than his previous works, sometimes I seemed to hear a very commercial band, I only found few progressive elements in this lbum, as in his previous works, in my point of view not think it should be one of the best albums of 2010, my rating is 3 of 5 stars, just because I think that have more progress than his previous works.

I using a translator of Spanish to English in my reviews.

All The Best.

Report this review (#349817)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The beginning is important in all things....

This album is by far the most adventurous effort from the band to date, and all bases from space rock to proto Black Sabbath metal via grunge to anthemic neo-stadium rock are covered. Can you label this band? Well they're not prog-metal ' la Opeth at one end of the scale to Dream Theater at the other. This site has listed Amplifier under "Psychedelic/Space Rock" - wrong again. I would like to suggest that Amplifier are "rock-prog" in that although there are are proggy elements to their music, and the "space" label is largely confined to the lyrical element, it is merely a flirting with the genre, ROCK is really their home ground.

The music is introduced with a heartbeat from another dimension, later consumed by proto- grunge thrashing. We're living on borrowed time, and a killer lumpen-prole doom riff from the Sabbath cabinet invites us to step right up for the end of the world. Title track The Octopus gives room to breathe while we hurtle through space, the human DNA at the command of another race. The weaker bend to the will of strong on The Planet Of Insects. Yeah, I think I'm getting the picture now. The sonically epic Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange features a skewed flamenco motif and gives visions of excess and obsession with the ephemeral; hold on to nothing, suckers.

A trip into deep space starts with The Sick Rose, a low tempo scene setter to the prose of William Blake. Things zoom off on a driving riff into the Interstellar travelling faster than light into the heart of the sun. The Emperor could almost be a 21st century Have A Cigar in reverse, straining for and railing against the excess. Watch out or the system will suck you in and grind you down, and where do we go from here? Eventually it'll all come crashing down under its own weight as more heavy riffing presages The Fall Of Empire. You'll leave here with nothing at all. A heavy trip. We've all made errors of judgement chasing the metaphorical dragon, but hey, let's come down to Earth and lay waste to Hollywood and the American Way with our own anthemic Oscar Night, death to Hollywood. At the end, who do you want to become, Forever And More, grab your own star.

...have you found yourself where you once started from?

You have to work at this album, it's not an easy ride and it was never intended to be. Stick with it and you will be rewarded in spades. Amplifier are more than the band anyone thought they were.

The whole thing was produced without the help of a record label and I only hope that all the hard labour put into this project pays off for the band, both artistically and financially, as there is always the danger that a project like this could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back - let's hope not. If anyone from K-Scope reads this, methinks that would be an ideal home!

Report this review (#376831)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'The Octopus' - Amplifier (7/10)

When attempting to craft a truly landmark-worthy statement in music, the trend in rock music is generally to create something in excess. Be it a groundbreaking concept piece, or a sprawling double album, the formula often rests on how much ambition is involved. Such is the case of UK rock group Amplifier, with their third album, entitled 'The Octopus'. A vast output of material topping the two hour mark, Amplifier's attempt at a prog rock masterpiece is quite good, although a much more effective experience may have been insured, had the album not drawn on an hour past it's welcome.

Although many bands (particularly those within the 'progressive' scene) try their hand at double albums, few are ever able to feel quite worth the length and investment, with even the best bands letting some filler slip by into the final product. With that being said, 'The Octopus' feels like a compilation of an excellent psychedelic album and a decent alternative rock release, with the songs meshed together to give some semblance of flow. Unfortunately, while 'The Octopus' is graced with a few absolutely majestic pieces of music, the less convincing tracks give the album that much less of an excuse for being so long, leading one to believe that the band may have been better off releasing this double-disc opus as two separate albums.

With a sound that is easily associated with fellow Brits Porcupine Tree or Oceansize, Amplifier do manage to take their roots in prog and merge it with a more accessible alternative rock sound to appeal to a demographic beyond the underground progressive music circles. However, despite quite a few songs that don't sound too far from the sort of British alternative rock that has stormed the media as of late, Amplifier's fundamental influences are quite easily located in prog rock. From the first disc's soundscapish opener 'The Runner,' hurried footsteps in stereo almost immediately rings with Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon', and implies that the band is attempting to write something just as epic. As well, 'Interglacial Spell' carries a very Middle-Eastern undertone that is synonymous with Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' (incidentally from their own double album 'Physical Graffiti'). However, many of these little homages feel plainly derivative over clever, and as a result, it's as if 'The Octopus' cannot handle the pressure of holding the company of such giants.

That being said, much of the music here is quite good. The best moments are without a doubt however, the spacey, psychedelic voyages the band takes with such numbers as the title track 'The Octopus', 'Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange' (graced with one of the greatest guitar solos I have heard in a while), and the final track 'Forever And More'. All in all, the first disc is quite a bit stronger than the second, although the album's sheer length does undeniably work to deter the overall enjoyment of the music.

While 'The Octopus' does not reach the echelon of the masters, Amplifier certainly demonstrates their ambition with this vast double album. At two hours long, one can expect a pretty daunting task getting into this album, but as with all good music, the songs here do grow and ferment with time, proving that while not a masterpiece, Amplifier has put just enough good things in the album to make for a great, if not truly excellent listen.

Report this review (#381391)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars It has been a long time coming, but "The Octopus" was definitely worth the wait. Two hours of music is never easy to pull off, but Amplifier do so with considerable flair (strangely, its predecessor feels longer at half the length).

"The Octopus" takes us on a journey through space, from the experimental opener through to the edge of space time. There are too many tracks to go through one by one, so here are a few of the highlights :

'Minion's Song' : A surprising start for those familiar with Amplifier, especially the uplifting ending that begs the listener to sing along.

'The Octopus' : A very dark piece, with a brooding baseline. This is Amplifier at their most controlled, even when the song sets off on a powerful surge of heaviness a bit after the halfway mark.

'White Horses At Sea' : This is the kind of thing that was missing from "The Insider", a gentler less bass driven piece, which allows the listener to pause and appreciate the view before the first half's epic closer. It is none the less majestic for as much.

'Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange' : A challenger for best song of the album, this song mixes some trippy psychedelic elements with a massive, powerful chorus. It could almost be catchy if it weren't for all the time changes. The end solo is likely to be mentioned by many a reviewer.

'Interstellar' : A song of many parts, if you take the main riff it could almost pass for single material. The wholc ten minutes taken together, however, makes for challenging listening. One of the most ambitious pieces on the album.

'Forever And More' : A powerful closer, and yet strangely uplifting too. This is Amplifier at their most strident and confident. The listener is left tired from the trip but satisfied by the journey.

A few minor quibbles can be had with the "sounds" between some of the tracks (particularly on the first disc) which add little to the experience. Also, 'The Emperor' has yet to really captivate me. Then again, 'The Sick Rose' and 'Interstellar' are difficult acts to follow.

Easily 2010's finest album in my opinion, Amplifier have outdone themselves. "The Octopus" has all the elements to be a future classic.

Report this review (#383996)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I've made no secret for my love of this band which started for me with their 2005 EP "The Astronaut Dismantles HAL". I finally found their debut some time after that and was blown away by what I heard. It's still my favourite album from this Manchester, England trio. "Insider" the second album was great but not as good as the debut.The second album wasn't exactly a positive experience for the band as they had 3 months to write and record it for the label they were on."Octopus" is the complete oposite as the band took 3 years to complete this ambitious double album. In an interview I read recently in "Classic Rock" magazine with guitarist / vocalist Sel Balamir he tells us how he holed himself up for a year and taught himself how to finsish the record. He says he never wants to spend 3 years on a recording ever again but in the end feels it was worth it for this their magnum opus. At one point in the interview he says laughing "We're not a Prog band". It's amazing to me how the media have brainwashed a whole nation into thinking that Progressive music is lame and to stay clear. I think that attitude is starting to change thankfully but even Steven Wilson for years tried to distance himself from Prog. Now he embraces it. Some never stopped like Robert Fripp and obviously many fans of Progressive music. So okay this isn't a Prog album.You can say it it but it doesn't make it true because this is Prog people ! And it's a concept album (haha).

Sel talks about the concept. "The Octopus signifies a mechanism of existance.The whole project exists somewhere between rock music, philosophy and creative writing. Part of it's about randomness and everything descending into the entropy of information and ... it all sounds very wanky when I talk about it. That's why I wrote it all down,to make it more self-evident". They gave a 70 page hardback book with the first pre-sold 1,500 cds describing the concept.Yeah this isn't Prog at all (haha).

Anyway as far as the music goes it's fantastic but i've said it before, i'm not into concept albums, especially double concept records. Regardless this is a 4 star record but it could've been 5 stars if it was pared down to one cd with the best tracks on it. Still this is a definite highlight for 2010 and close to being a top 10 for that year. Heck maybe in time it will become a top 10 afterall there's a ton of music on here to wade through.

Report this review (#401376)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Some really great, though very dense (as in, 'very interesting; requiring a lot of the listener's attention') music covering nearly two hours! Wow! How luxurious would that be to be able to sit with headphones for a two hour musical journey! But, music of this calibur--production value, sound quality and compositional skill on par with the likes of PORCUPINE TREE, RIVERSIDE, ANATHEMA, PHIDEAUX and LUNATIC SOUL--may be worth it! As a matter of fact, if you're a fan of the above listed bands, you'll find a lot of sounds, riffs, and and structures to be very similar to each of those. Nice MARIUSZ DUDA-like vocals and beats throughout, lots of post-2002 PORCUPINE TREE heaviness, many of the subtleties for which PHIDEAUX is known and loved, and frequent reminders of the Post Rock feel of ANATHEMA and LUNATIC SOUL. Overall, though, I'd place thses guys--and particularly this album--in the category of 'RIVERSIDE/PORCUPINE TREE 2006;' probably better than "In Absentia" and head and shoulders with "Second Life Syndrome." Well done. No weak songs. Just . . . a lot of music. Definitely an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection.
Report this review (#417990)
Posted Friday, March 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After hearing some really great things about this band and their new album The Octopus. I finally chanced upon this album at my local record store. Let me begin by saying it blew my mind on the first listen and still does after so many subsequent listenings. I will not go through a track by track especially on a double concept album. All to be said, is that every track flows expertly and they seem to have their own style , but of course with influences like, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, maybe a little Crimson and general psychadelic pop as well, but it is far from pop. It's rather hard to find the time to listen to the whole album completely, but even in blocks it radiates something special. Sel Balamir is a master crafter of guitar and soundscapes, Matt Brobin is an extremely gifted and tight drummer and Neil Mahoney contributes ear candy Bass noodlings that complement the others perfectly. I wish I had the 70 page story line and lyric book, but it didn't come with my copy. I make up my own fantastical stories as I listen anyway. I think this album(s) is truly a masterpiece and deserves every star available.
Report this review (#423974)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
Starhammer
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "This one's dedicated to Walt Disney..."

Despite being labelled on this site as a 2010 release The Octopus wasn't actually commercially available until early 2011.

The Good: This is the third studio album from the Manchester band but having heard of them I didn't really know what to expect. There are 16 tracks here, spread equally across two discs and with most clocking in at well over five minutes it is definitely a lot to digest! But like a seven course meal of the highest quality it can bring almost infinite pleasure if consumed in moderation. Full of kicking riffs and spacey soundscapes the style reminds me of both Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd, but it is far from derivative. Each song is carefully crafted and I am surprised at how engaging some of the longer pieces are despite minimal variation, a true sign of masterful song writing. I'm not going to go through the album in detail as I'll let you explore it yourself, but if I had to pick my favourite songs it would be The Runner and The Wave from disc one, and Interstellar and Forever and More from disc two.

The Bad: Somewhat ironically its only shortcoming is its length.

The Verdict: A surprise package that I highly recommend opening.

Report this review (#500493)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
obiter
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars As someone who followed this band for years and was skint when it came to the special album give aways at first release ... to say i was gutted would be the understatement of the decade .. nah I would be las disappointed as Higbald as he relaxed and said: oh all those sails in the east look lovely

this is an 11 star album.

simply bands no longer do this anymore. if you're prog you must get this. tom schulz, dan fagan these guys dedicate. Beefheart. Zappa. More Dedication.

For me the closest comparator to this album is Topographic Oceans: not in sound but in sheer vision and balls.

Yes, I got the stickers, yes i got the bumf, yes i got the diatribe. but you know what ... this album bloody well deserves It is simply better prog then anything else in years.

If the first Amplifier albums could be said to nod towards commerciality (even if only with a thousand yard stare) then this one gives the bird. As far as I am aware there is no other band in Britain or Ireland getting anywhere near close to this.

Still no major deal for this awesome outfit. If I win the lottery they'll have all the studio time they want.

You will not get better prog than this in 2011.

Report this review (#500779)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars When you hear an excellent epic album it is apparent immediately

The enigmatic icon of the octopus logo led me to this album after seeing the logo appear in various forums and finally I have had my ears blessed with this incredible spacey music. Amplifier move from psychedelic prog passages to aggressive distorted metal blasts. The vocals are clean and come from another dimension removed from the music totally at times. They use echo effects and psych prog nuances to immediate effect. Influences must include psych prog acts as well as more recent Riverside, Anathema and Porcupine Tree. The music is always creating indelible melodies and very authoritative statements of fresh prog served up with blistering space rock. Some of this concept album is on the dark side, some expletives are heard, and at times the music is loud and overbearing but is never dull. The three musicians are tight and unrelenting on every track; Sel Balamir is the main focus on grinding and spaced out vocals; Neil Mahony is the bass engineering section and this is topped by Matt Brobin on drums. There are many guest musicians spattered throughout including some female vocalists to augment the sound.

This album is a beast running for 2 solid hours over 2 CDs. There are so many highlights on this incredible album. In no particular order, the songs that instantly lit up my mind include the 8 and a half minute 'Fall of the Empire'. This cranks along with killer riffing and strong emphasis on spacey guitars and odd time sigs. The Wave is like Hawkwind, especially the lyrics repeated, "In Another Dimension". 'Golden Ratio' generates cold atmospherics with echoed vocals and excellent phased guitar licks, using effects pedals that build to the raucous melodies. The guitar riffing is gold at time such as on the pounding guitar driven 'Interglacial Spell'. The sound is very heavy driving nails into concrete metal with ambient keyboards sustained over the top. The lead breaks are the type heard on psychedelic Hawkwind albums. 'The Emperor' is another blaster with effective and spaced out acid fuelled punctuations of sound. The heavy riff is broken by simple high pitched guitar tones. The melody is infectious with quieter passages and breaks. Belamir's vocals are excellent multitracked in places giving a vibrant full sound "over the edge of the ocean, the edge of devotion keep circling" It is a loud sound when the band go into full flight and let loose on their instruments, and it is an exciting sound.

Highlights are scattered throughout. 'Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange' is an instant classic with magnificent atmospheric passages of guitar. The vocals are clearer and well performed by Balamir and it has a great melody that gets lost in layers of guitars. The lead break at the end is stellar, soaring into the stratosphere; revelling in arpeggios, and high impact melodic sweeps; absolute bliss.

'The Sick Rose' that begins the second CD has a creepy intro that reminds me of Roger Water's preternatural screams on 'Careful With That Axe Eugene'. The ambient atmospheres of keyboards generates a dark illusory peace, and a moderate pace follows with some otherworldly melodies that may remind one of Spanish or Greek music. The vocals add to this feel, then it locks into a distorted series of guitar chords. It builds over strong percussion and notable basslines with a repeated phrase "it's a life destroyed".

Also on offer on this epic work is the bass driving mini epic 'Interstellar' sounding like Led Zeppelin on acid. The time sig here is an incessant delightful off kilter motif. The melody melts into your mind and then is joined by dirty guitar distortion and some inspired harmonies. Once again this sounds like Hawkwind meets King Crimson. The unremitting riff is hypnotic and makes this one of the most memorable tracks. As soon as it starts you are met with that pulsating hammering riff and it is a pleasure to indulge within.

The concept of an octopus is prevalent in many of the tracks creating a conceptual framework. At times the music is more beauty than beast, such as on 'Minion's Song' that is piano driven, though no less dark in lyrical content than the rest; "well, catch them, catch them hold your waters, with fame and paradise not forsaken sing along to the Minion song, emerging from the jaws of each lion, treading on in a far constellation ride away on the wings of the Minion"

'Planet of Insects' has a chilling sound with multilayered keyboards and a powerful guitar grind. Sounds like Muse's guitar style in some ways with Porcupine Tree sounding vocals, though Amplifier are distinctive in style. Once again a consistent riff throbs consistently over the verses. There are some great slides down the strings on this track and it is heavy on every level. The lyrics are enigmatic; "it's all I know and ever see are your insects crawling over me" and you can interpret these any way you like. The buzzing sounds at the end add to the haunting atmospheres.

'White Horses At Sea / Utopian Daydream' is another fantastic track that is challenging and ambitious in structure. Riverside style vocals with crystalline guitar tones begin the track. Soon it builds to the mid section which consists of blasts of distortion and keyboard. There is a King Crimsonesque feel in the style of guitar finger picking also. Utopian Daydream continues quietly with otherworldly atmospheres, a sole piano plays, till we hear the voice say "excellent" that may be mistaken for Smithers from "The Simpsons" .

One last track worth mentioning is 'The Octopus' that begins with complex effects and a pulsating bassline. The melody is stunning, very stark and then Balamir's vocals alienate the soundscape further; "I never let you go" The guitars are terrific building an atmosphere of dread, though those melodies also hold a semblance of beauty. Then it builds into a swirl of chaos, with some metal guitars and a dark wall of sound. The effervescent music is present on every track, there are no filler tracks, and it keeps getting better with every listen. If you have 2 hours on hand this is one of the best ways you can spend them. Both CDs are equally powerful, some tracks will appeal more than others as always, and there are some awesome unforgettable moments that will astound, and some tracks go for too long, so not a masterpice, but on the whole this is one of the great releases of 2010/11.

Report this review (#502798)
Posted Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amplifier's third studio album The Octopus, from early 2011, is a superb album and a definitive moment in the band's career. The British trio have crafted a truly interesting and inventive album that gets better with every successive listening.

Split across two eight track CDs, one white on black, on black on white and coming with a thank you document providing access to a special website and the digital download of the stunning four track Fractal EP, as well as full of tiny stickers of the artwork in a unique Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails style marketing experiment, Amplifier really give thought to the delivery of the album and engaging fans imaginatively.

Initially I came across the band on a sampler cd of modern progressive rock artists, where the song 'Interstellar,' blew me away coming across as some sort of missing link between Kyuss style desert/stoner rock and King Crimson's three latest studio albums, with a Roger Waters fan on vocals.

This turned out to only be a tiny part of the band's overall style, one section of their grand and eclectic sound that mixes modern alternative rock with the progressive spirit. Tracks like 'Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange,' and 'Fall Of The Empire,' are exciting and captivating, and the album as a whole is simply as marvelous as it is ambitious, full of lengthy tracks that feel equal parts spacey and grungey.

The album flows brilliantly from beginning to end and is best absorbed of many repeated listens as a complete piece. No tracks feel out of place or weak, nothing brings the general level of quality down for even a minute.

I also really enjoy the production of this record, the mix and the treatment of vocals and background keys are really well handled and make the album sound important and grand without being either over-polished or intentionally retro.

Overall, The Octopus is one of the best and most interesting albums you are likely to hear this year and I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes any sort of intelligent rock music, prog or otherwise.

Report this review (#521811)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Amplifier's The Octopus offers a two-album brace of space rock in the Floydian tradition blended seamlessly with more modern alternative rock influences, a seam of post-rock, and maybe a teeny tiny pinch of Genesis and Ozric Tentacles here and there. The band's debt to Pink Floyd is occasionally a leeeeeettle bit overplayed - the opening intro section lifts just a little bit from Dark Side of the Moon and the eagle-eared will pick up some lyrical references here and there - but they're still appreciably more fresh and original than your typical Pink-Floyd-and-alt-rock band like Anathema or something. This one didn't get the attention it deserved when it slipped out a couple of years ago, but hopefully that will change in the long run, though I suspect some may be turned off by the somewhat intrusive and undercooked vocals.
Report this review (#959094)
Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, I really have no words to describe the potentiality of this album. It is impressive and powerful all the way around. All the songs have a perfect synchronicity that makes you enjoy the album totally without having the feeling of removing it from your CD player; you will wait for more and more, but don't worry, there's more. After you finish listening to the first album, which is impressive, you just need to change CD and you will have the experience going on with the second part of the album. At the beginning, and especially without knowing what to expect from AMPLIFIER, I thought that maybe two albums were way too much to listen to a band for the first time, but after the opening sequence you immediately have that feeling of: I THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY GOOD ALBUM TO LISTEN TO, and indeed it is. I don't want to describe song by song because I would kill your expectations with a subjective perspective, I just tell you: Get it and listen to it, it's a must!
Report this review (#1041157)
Posted Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars "The grand benchmarks against which all British progrock albums will be judged", says the opening line on the cover of the original album. Bit cheesy and exaggerative, yet not far off from the truth.

First of all... double cd rambling on for two powerful hours? Yes please! The first cd takes a strong headstart with the Pink Floyd rip-off (ok, let's say inspired by) "Minion's song", to then lead the listener back to the more Amplifier-sounding tracks of "Interglacial spell" and "The wave". After a bit of this fill, the scene is now set for a brutal prog-piece, the title track "Octopus". Certainly not throwing the listener at the deep end right away, we are talking about a very slow build-up, which ends in some extremely strong prog-atmosphere, ticking and ticking towards the refrain, which then blows up in your face like a bomb with its beautifully built riffs after five minutes of slow expansion. The rest of the cd holds some mediocre and some more amazing moments alike, "White horses at sea" certainly belonging to the second one with its dreamy Floyd-like atmosphere again.

Then as you move on to the second cd, it will be hard not to notice that the opening 20 minutes are nothing short of a sheer prog-miracle, starting with "The sick rose". Eastern sounding soundscapes butter up the way for a series of increasingly heavy riffs, ending in a jaw-dropping and epic finale... Amplifier at their best. Not allowing you to rest much, the ride takes you right on to a much more playful song, "Interstellar". It is another favourite of mine with its bubbling riffs, which are toying with the listener through half of the song, not knowing where to go, then eventually settling for a less dark but definitely groovy finale. As for the rest of the cd, whilst not much else will stand out ("Fall of the empire" has a few cool bits though and I certainly love "Oscar night") I will still give the whole album the maximum rating... because it is just so damn well put together and because some of the songs are amongst the best ones I ever heard in this genre. Amplifier wanted to make a masterpiece that they can be measured against, and they did. And whilst they could (and probably should) have got rid of some more mediocre moments to result in a somewhat shorter but more spotless album, it does not change the fact that the strengths of The Octopus make this album outstanding enough for the band to be measured against it for the rest of their career... and yes, maybe even those other British bands.

Report this review (#1540279)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | Review Permalink

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