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Amplifier - The Astronaut Dismantles HAL

Amplifier - The Astronaut Dismantles HALThis new release from Manchester based trio, Amplifier, still retains the magical sounds heard on their debut album (see review), but this time, we get a forty-minute offering classed as an E.P containing six songs.  Amplifier are a new breed of band mixing prog roots with the classic Zeppelin sound and the late eighties grunge type sound by such bands as Soundgarden and King's X.

The line up of Sel Balamir (guitars and vocals) Neil Mahony (bass) and Matt Brobin (drums) remains intact, and on the six songs, their playing and presentation is of an high class. First song Continuum, is the longest on the release clocking in at nearly nine minutes, but there is a catch on the final track which appears to be the longest, but is split in two with a silence of around four minutes after the initial five and a half, but then picks up the 'ghost track'.

Continuum has the Zeppelin feel to it straight away with the riffs, but the influence of King's X around the middle period of their Faith Hope Love era shines through. The lyrics are complex, but well written, and they flow well with the music. Second track Into The Space Age has a nice drum pattern combined with the pounding guitar riff and the bass plod and this track works well plus the vocals are an added bonus too.

For Marcia follows and is a slow gentle track with the echo of the vocals which falls into the forth track The Brain Room, which is just a little short instrumental about a minute long, guitar distortion/feedback with a little cymbal ride. There is an explosive start to track five Everyday Combat complete with the military snare drum pattern and the Zeppelin riffs which sound Arabian in some places. Final track Live Human reminds me of a certain Zeppelin song in feeling, Rain Song, but with the added Soundgarden Black Hole Sun type style. I have not got a particular favourite on this release, but this stands out slightly from the rest. The clever lyrics must get credit again, and are well sung by Sel.

Yet another fine product from Amplifer, on par with the previous release. The future looks promising for this fine trio.

Danny Mayo



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