I broke one of my own rules with this album and pre-ordered it. I was a little apprehensive but really shouldn't have been.
I find it ironic that the huge sound of Amplifier appears to have been reduced somewhat with the addition of a fourth member. However, the music is more mature, perhaps more intelligent and equally as enjoyable. The wall of noise that Amplifier have made their own is still there in sufficient quantity but has been interspersed with quiet passages, poise, grace and even acoustic guitars and close harmonies.
There are no bad or even mediocre tracks on this album, each one is a peach, which makes the album a classic by my own reasoning. However, the stand out tracks for me are Extra Vehicular (track 3), a 12 minute Floydesque behemoth and Where the River Goes (track 4), which bursts into classic Amplifier wall of noise with hair raising effects.
It would be folly to ignore the Sunriders EP included with the deluxe edition, which is excellent in it's own right, comparible with other Amplifier EPs such as Eternity and Fractal. What I love about Amplifier EPs is that they sound like high quality jam sessions (maybe they are) which give an insight into the development of their sound.
I feel obliged to mention the packaging of the deluxe edition, which is a book containing what appears to be a true story told in words and pictures. Beautifully bound, signed by the band members (my pre-order version was anyway) and containing two superb discs of music, it has become a treasured possession.
Finally, I am a huge PT and SW fan but cannot reconcile the comparisons made by some reviewers. Amplifier started very loud with their eponymous debut and have been maturing since then whereas PT started with trippy, Floydesque, meandering tunes and developed into a band with a big sound (think The Incident). SWs solo work however, is much quieter and thought provoking.
5 stars, classic album.