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Matt Sawyer "Mattipus" (Nottingham, UK)

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Amplifier
Amplifier
Price: £14.70

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Loud and Growling Surprise, 28 April 2009
This review is from: Amplifier (Audio CD)
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.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 14, 2011 11:54 PM GMT


Tightly Unwound
Tightly Unwound
Price: £11.71

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Discovery, 2 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Tightly Unwound (Audio CD)
I happened upon this album (and in fact the band itself) purely by chance - and I'm rather glad I did. After having listened to a few previews of Tightly Unwound, I went straight ahead and bought it.

The opening pair of tracks, "My Debt To You" and "Shoot First" were my original two favourites. The first, a melodic, beautifully-flowing acoustic track, has an entirely different effect to the second, a faster number which laces acoustic with electric to create a rather satisfying sound.

After a while other tracks grew on me. The moody opening to "Tightly Wound", with its synthesized reverberating, almost alien sound is absolutely fantastic, in my opinion - and it contrasts completely with the gentler orchestral ending to the song. A strong feature of this album is the frequent switches in the mood of the music, which prevents any monotony and carries the listener through right to the finish.

And also, a word of advice - when you listen to the final, 15-minute epic "Too Much To Lose" for the first time, make sure you're not in a silent, darkened room. The song lulls you into a false sense of security at one point, with quiet, fading synth, before the sudden introduction of drums (which made me jump!). In parts it's a dark, disturbing track, with Soord's gritty vocals being used to great effect; at others it's more calm and mellow. A very enjoyable close to an equally enjoyable album.

I highly recommend this album, not only to those with an interest in progressive music, but for fans of rock in general. With such a richly-textured musical sound I am surprised that this band is still relatively unknown, especially seeing as they've been around for approaching 10 years now. The Pineapple Thief is a band which definitely deserves acknowledgment, and I'll be keeping an eye on where they are headed now.


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