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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
9
Insider
Format: Audio CD|Change


on 1 August 2007
Don't get me wrong, this album is good but it could have been so much better. Amplifier have a relentless talent for creating thumping Prog. Rock but I can't help feel that they have exhausted the space theme that is inherent in all their albums. The stop gap EP between this offering and the first album, 'The Astronaut Dismantles HAL' is creative genius and has many anthemic moments which catch demand attention to admire their complexity and sheer power. This album fails to meet that standard and is somewhat weaker than its predecessors, I would still recommend it as the tracks O Fortuna, Insider and Hymn of the Aten are all gems.
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on 26 January 2007
When I first heard Amplifier I considered that they were an inferior version of Oceansize but with this album (and on subsequently re-listening to the 1st album and the interim mini-album) I really have changed my mind and would definitely consider them superior to Oceansize.

With "Insider" I immediately thought that the sound reminded me of something else but I couldn't put my finger on it until I realised that it is very reminiscent of Hemispheres era Rush. Of course you then start to see the other similarities - Let's hope that Amplifier don't develop a penchant for accoustic guitar intros, keyboards & silk shirts!
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on 4 October 2006
The self titled album and subsequent EP had quality written all over... This is no different, and for my money it pushes the envelope even further.

I wont bother with a track by track review, as the album needs to be enjoyed as a cohesive whole, no skip buttons needed here!

I have no idea who to compare Amplifier to, I have never heard a sound quite like theirs. Oceansize perhaps offer a similar magnitude to their sound, but this is a whole new beast altogether - heavy, vast soundscapes, a wall of sound at times, relentless - but it never feels overwhelming. Lyrics are at times profound, but easy to comprehend.

If anything this is more accessible than their first efforts, in my opinion at least - or it may just be because i now know more of what to expect. Either way, this wont be leaving my CD player for a long time. Believe the reviews (Kerrang, a straight 5/5 for instance) for once, they aren't hype, Amplifier are the real deal, they deliver in the studio, they deliver live, and hopefully this album will deliver them the success they so richly deserve.

Volume dials were made for bands like this.
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on 8 November 2006
Mind-boggling how just 3 blokes can make such powerful, yet intricate and sophisticated music - not just on disc, but live also. They have their own superb distinctive sound, with Sel's soaring guitar work and rich vocals, Neil's rock-solid yet inventive basslines, and Matt's seismic drumming which would make John Bonham run for cover. There are, indeed, moments which remind me of Hemispheres-era Rush, (not a bad thing!) but I also hear occasional echoes of other marvellous trios, including XTC and The Jam. With "Insider", their sound continues to progress. Great musicians, great music. No wonder they were chosen to support the mighty Porcupine Tree on tour recently. The previous reviewer opines "...superior to Oceansize"...a sweeping statement indeed...personally, I would not like to choose between them, both incredible bands, and top blokes (I must say a thank you to Sel for personally exchanging my Amplifier t-shirt by mail as I'd picked the wrong size - what a service!!) If Porcupine Tree's ever-increasing (and overdue) success is a sign that punters are, at last, appreciating more progressive rock music, then it is high time that bands like Amplifier and Oceansize also receive the exposure and success they deserve so richly. It is difficult to know what other music to play after listening to Amplifier, because it is such a bludgeoning yet euphoric experience. It is a bit like the old Maxell TV advert with Peter Murphy being blasted in his armchair by his hi-fi, or going 10 rounds with Lennox Lewis (I imagine). Well, I have just finished listening to "Insider" whilst typing this review, so I'm going to try winding down with the latest from another band worthy of your attention, The Pineapple Thief.

Good luck to Amplifier with "Insider" - I hope that it turns out to be the breakthrough album that it deserves to be, and I hope to see you on tour again before long.
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on 4 October 2007
But that's a bit of a disappointing statement. Their debut album was one of the best I've heard in years, and is something that I listen to constantly. Their EP "HAL" was equally stunning, with just a tad more edge to the overall production. "Insider" is a good album, but where are the deftly written anthems, where are the infectious lyrics and musical moments? There are some good tracks on here, but not a one is the equal to any of the songs off the debut. Hopefully the third full-length rumoured to be available in January '08 has Amplifier returning to form. And no, I don't think that they've exhausted their space-progressive rock angle... not by a long shot. Bring it on, boys!
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on 24 July 2011
well luckily I heard The Octopus first! The band is definitely in there but the production is horrendous making a good band sound average (think Solstice "Silent dance" for those in the know). Go for "The Astronaut Dismantles Hal" and "The Octopus" and treat this as an heroic failure! Any chance of a remix?
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on 4 October 2006
The second album by the Manchester three piece has a lot to live up to. The debut was a masterclass in thrilling modern prog-rock, and 2005's ep 'The Astronaut Dismantles HAL' added more sheen and sci-fi imagery into the mix. 'Insider' offers even more: more complex song structures, more crisp production, more mental Keith Moon style drumming, and more crushing guitar riffs with layer upon layer of fuzz and distortion. Needless to say, it doesn't disappoint. Opening instrumental 'Gustav's Arrival' sets out Amplifier's manifesto from the first shriek of feedback. The guitars are staggering big and heavy and quickly give way to the band's most original element: Sel Balamir's amazing, twisty-turny lead guitar hooks. Listening to them is akin to being a passenger driven at top speed along a winding mountain road with a madman at the wheel. Muse's Matt Bellamy surely will be taking notes: 'Must try harder'. The album itself consists of a range of variations on their central sound. Sometimes the sheer wall of noise (god knows how many guitar overdubs each song must have)detracts from the tunes, other times it is integral. While perhaps lacking as much variety as the previous releases, there is certainly enough here to get very excited about. In particular, 'O Fortuna', 'Strange Seas of Thought' and 'Procedures' make an instant impression, balancing the crazed guitar riffs with memorable tunes and vocal phrases. The other songs will certain benefit the listener with more plays. The only criticism could be that after such an explosive opening, the album struggles to reach such dizzy heights again. However, this is really picking at straws, and if you like intelligent rock that doesn't tread the mainstream path (think Oceansize, Tool, Cave In), then this is for you.
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on 3 October 2006
Wow, what can I say about this? Being a huge huge fan of the debut album and the EP I had great expectations for this. I am not disappointed one single bit! This album is the cleverest, most layered, in your face, mind boggling, drift away 60 minutes you'll hear for a long long time. Amplifier are one hell of an act and have an ability to make you sit up and listen with each track having that special moment that punches you in the head and makes you go "my god...this is brilliant!" God knows how they do it! These guys deserve to be huge. Well done!
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on 21 September 2007
Seems 0 out of 7 people found my review helpful which is pretty good odds (Did you not notice the 5 Stars?) .. this is of course better than any Shampoo Commercial I've seen .. I bet responsibly at the track but have only lost about €2m online .. Blur said Modern Life is rubbish but it's not so much Life .. What is the saying. " ..'em if they can't take a Joke" .. I am a big Amplifier Fan, having purchased in advance both the Octopus & Echo Street CD's plus I've got all the others I had just thought a humorless review wouldn't do them justice .. So to confirm Barry Scott is fictional and we are really into the good stuff here. It's a ....Monster. I used to go for Domestos but then Tesco Value came along & it was Moon river all over again. And .. Please do yourself a favour - Listen to no one but yourself, trust your own judgement.
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