Wednesday 10 September 2014

Amplifier - Mystoria (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 8/9/14
Label: Superball Music

 “Mystoria” CD/DD/LP track Listing:

01. Magic Carpet (03:41)
02. Black Rainbow (03:20
03. Named After Rocky (05:01)
04. Cat's Cradle (05:03)
05. Bride (03:56)
06. Open Up (06:16)
07. OMG (06:27)
08. The Meaning Of If (02:55)
09. Crystal Mountain (04:29)
10. Crystal Anthem (04:15)


Amplifier is a rock band from Manchester, England. The band has released four albums and four EPs since its inception in 1999. Amplifier's sound has been described as "Soundgarden, Tool, Black Sabbath, Oceansize and Pink Floyd taking copious amounts of mind-altering substances and venturing on a trip through time and space (to another dimension), and back again." Their music is characterized by guitarist Sel Balamir's effects pedals, extended heavy sections, atmospheric compositions and philosophical lyrics.

The Band:

Sel Balamir | vocals, guitar
Steve Durose | guitar
Alex “Magnum” Redhead | bass
Matt Brobin | Drums

Erie leads over fast hammering pulloffs begin a Satriani-esque voyage of 80s lead ecstasy in the opener “Magic Carpet.” With a brief melodic outro harkening to Holst's Jupiter a fine beginning. The second track “Black Rainbow” has the vocals begin some solid riffing. The trippy bridge with dreamscape vocals is really well done and displays some nice songwriting.

“Named After Rocky” begins with a burly riff into some 70s single note fantastic-ness, channeling some heavy Zeppelin groove. Pretty cool drumming on this track during the chorus with some nice variation on a four on the floor groove then changing it up ever so slightly. A cool wah solo into a brief Rushian arpeggio run bring it back into the coda resolving into a variation on the big riff from earlier. I do really like how this song starts with a pretty typical ABAB type pattern then once the bridge finishes it resolves in a cool and unexpected way.

A departure from the first three tracks, “Cat's Cradle” and “Bridge” move back to an open poppy song structure that is very vocally heavy. The sixth track “Open Up” begins with one of the cooler riffs I've ever heard. A synthy buzzsaw guitar riff with an ominous groove underneath and some atmospheric lead work sets a cool mood. This is my favorite song on the album and the only thing I can compare it too, is a weird mix of Muse and Justin Chancellor's first band Peach.

“OMG” has some heavy 70s influence in every aspect and sounds like “Houses of the Holy” era Zeppelin in parts. Some really nice bass playing and great tones on “OMG” by Alex “Magnum” Redhead. The bridge and solo section of this song demands to be heard as some drugged out soundscapes over some oddball bass riffing is a fun treat. “The Meaning of If” brings it back to stoner rock territory with some nice riffing and great tones. “Crystal Mountain” has a nice drugged out western feel that makes you feel like you are tripping balls at burning man.

An exceptional recording with everything being very audible and balanced Amplifier captures some of the most delicious lead tones I've heard in quite some time. Combined with an airtight rhythm section and some nice vocals definitely an album to hear. Nice to hear some actual real singing as well. Check it out below.

Words By: Chris Tedor

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