I'm not a huge fan of heavy rock; I tend to listen to the quieter, more melodic veins of rock music. However, every once in a while, some loud and growling surprise jumps out at me, screaming `You there, pay attention to me! I'm every bit as good as your usual, easy-on-the-ears listening!' The self-titled debut from Amplifier was one of these surprises.
My first thought upon listening was `How does a three-piece make so much noise, and make it sound so good?' Frontman Sel Balamir uses a variety of pedals and effects to switch the sound of his guitar at will, yet it doesn't sound overly synthesised; there's something raw and menacing about it. The slow, low growling of Motorhead sets the tone for the album, before the building epic "Airborne" (personal favourite track) readies listeners for the pounding war march that is "Panzer".
It's not all intense listening, though. More restrained tracks such as "On/Off" and "UFOs" are also present. You certainly won't be listening to this album for something quieter, though - these tracks give a bit of breathing space and some time to recover before that snarling guitar launches you into another bold and boisterous riff.
The vocals are another strong point - Balamir's baritone voice holds its own against the noise of the instruments, and varies from calm and controlled to overwhelmingly intense. The lyrics are also great, in my opinion, being very unique whilst not too obscure. A theme of industrial imagery flows throughout, which makes the album very much a whole.
I could say more good things about pretty much all the tracks - the psychedelic "Post Acid Youth", the screeching, high-octane sound of "The Consultancy"... and then there's the bonus disc as well. Whilst not as good and what I consider as `too epic' at points, it's still a good addition to the package. Definitely worth buying.