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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great prog rock from complete unknowns, 4 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Astronaut Dismantles Hal (Audio CD)
An excellent album (let's face it, at this length, it's not an EP, whatever the record company says), despite the obscurity of the artist. Each song unfolds slowly, building up layers, until it reaches its climax and sinks back into the depths of space. The structures tend not to be the conventional verse-chorus-verse of pop songs, however, each song has distinct and very recognizable riffs. It is futile trying to describe each song individually, however, for despite the difference in the songs, the album is undeniably intended to be listened to in one go. Spacey, majestic and powerful, this album is everything a prog fan could want, but without the pretension of its '70s peers, and with enough accessibility to appeals to any fan of rock music. With elements borrowed from Tool, the Floyd and a bunch of space-rock voyagers, this album nevertheless comes off as something very contemporary. With guitar sounds that alternate between crushingly heavy and softly atmospheric, innovative, hypnotic basslines, and drumming that flips between moods at a moment's notice, it's amazing to think they're making all these wonderful sounds with just a guitar, a bass, and a drumkit. The vocals are soft and pleasant, not dissimilar to Maynard James Keenan's from Tool, but with less rage behind them. Only one criticism: even at 38:21 (a comfortable length for a full length album, never mind a record officially classed as an EP), the album feels too short. The public wants more, and hopefully, this time next year, the three Amplifier boys will have obliged.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars please make this band famous, 26 Jan 2006
By 
Mr. M. L. Hawes "Mitchmusic" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Astronaut Dismantles Hal (Audio CD)
The follow up to Amplifier sees the band stick to their original direction, but find room for a slightly more tuneful approach. You stil have a similar formula of longish complex tunes which float along with crunching riffs and power chords aplenty, but there seems slightly more bite on this release.
Quite why this band has not reached an enormous audience is a crime. There's some true originality here, great tunes, wonderful playing and the possibility to play stadiums.
If you've not heard of them, imagine a cross between Rush, Radiohead and Doves with a dose of Swans thrown in for grey edge, but really there is no one doing what Amplifier are doing at the moment and for that alone, you should but this record as soon as possible.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful rock by Amplifier, 17 Dec 2005
By 
Dynamo (The Hague, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Astronaut Dismantles Hal (Audio CD)
It is not clear to me whether The Astronaut Dismantles HAL is an album or an EP. Looking at the low price it seems to be an EP. Looking at the playing time (39 minutes) it is more like an album. Anyhow for a low price you have six fantastic songs. Best song is 'Continuum'. A very strong progressive rock song. Second best is 'Live Human'.
The songs of Amplifier are very powerful because of the guitars, drum beats and excellent vocals.
The Astronauts Dismantels HAL is Amplifier's second release in 2005, after their debut album earlier his year. I expect that this band will even get better with every record they make. If you like bands such as Oceansize, Dredg and Porcupine Tree, then you will probably also like Amplifier.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantasitc ep for a great band, 14 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Astronaut Dismantles Hal (Audio CD)
Coming off the back of a critically acclaimed debut album this EP represents a band on the verge of something great . Despite going through the music industry mill with the collapse of their old record label music for nations and the subsequent amicable split from Sony a lesser band would be forgiven for having a hard time creatively. No such problem for amplifier. Re-invigorated with a new contract, a new EP and an album in the works they show no sign of slowing down.

The EP itself will be familiar to anyone who has heard the band before; it is by no means a musical revolution, more an evolution of what was tried on the album. This is not to say that it is stale in any way. Amplifier’s music has always been unique and exciting, and this EP is no different. Amplifier’s aim has always been to produce “pure music” they hate the distinction between instruments and wish simply to craft sounds. The band avoid every cliché in the book, no simple chord progressions, no vocal harmonies, no guitar solos, they have a style of music that is driven by a great technical knowledge, and a deep love of music itself.
Although to see them you would see a classic guitar-vocal-bass-drum combo the vast array of pedals on display hints at what’s to come. The bands name is a direct reference to the number of amplifiers, which the band uses to get some truly unique sounds from their guitars. With the lead guitar (Sel Balamir) using 4 amps and the bass (Neil Mahoney) using 3 the potential combinations of sounds are enormous, add to that 52 different effects pedals between them and the possibilities are almost endless. This lends a complexity to amplifiers music that is not often found in modern rock music, and yet they maintain at their heart the crunch of a true rock band.
The astronaut dismantles HAL encompasses all aspects of amplifier from the in your face rock of everyday combat, to the haunting live human and the ethereal continuum. Above all of the swelling melodies and crashing guitars is the voice of Sel Balamir directing us on his musical voyage singing words that seem utterly nonsensical and also deeply profound simultaneously. This EP is an epic work and hopefully a good taster of things to come. The band are currently working on a new album, which will hopefully see this trend of improvement continue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Have a cigar..., 24 July 2011
By 
Mr. A. E. Green "AEG" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Astronaut Dismantles Hal (Audio CD)
this really belongs with "The Octopus" forget the record execs wet dream of "Insider" (hence the title of this review). Best track? The bonus (please wait 10 min after the end of tack 6), does it have a name?
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 20 July 2006
By 
lexo1941 (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Astronaut Dismantles Hal (Audio CD)
I thought this was the forerunner to the band's debut album, but apparently it's the sequel. Never mind. It's still stunning. I can hear all sorts of influences going on; just to add to the already-cited bands, I'd suggest 'Red'-era King Crimson, and a bit of classic Deep Purple-period Ian Gillan in the singing, but this is definitely not an exercise in early-70s nostalgia, like the far-more-hyped but considerably less long-term-rewarding Wolfmother.

Amplifier are a true rock band, a bunch of guys with a coherent vision, who come across like they could care less if whatever they come up with fits anyone's idea of what the market wants. They are trippy, rousing, aggressive, melancholy, intoxicating and defiantly themselves. They're also, incidentally, the first ever band from Manchester that I've ever thought was any good, which is an achievement in itself given that Manchester, like my own home town, is one of those cities that kids itself that it has a genuine history of producing great music (as opposed to just being remarkably good at hyping itself). Amplifier have been very bad at hyping themselves; I heard about them from my brother, who runs a major record shop. I didn't think that Britain was able anymore to produce a good band, let alone a great one, but these guys have proven me wrong.
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The Astronaut Dismantles Hal
The Astronaut Dismantles Hal by Amplifier (Audio CD - 2005)
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