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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 February 2011
A long time in gestation this self funded release from Britain's most illustrious of trios has finally landed.
What to say. 2 Discs with more than 2 hours of music that will enthrall and draw the listener in with every further rotation. Highlights for me are the emotive White Horses At Sea and the thundering wig-out of Interstellar. Not that quality slips on any of the other tracks, these are merely my faves at this point in time.
I would like hope this release from these criminally undervalued musicians attains the status it deserves. I urge any discerning rock fan to try some Octopus. I promise you won't be disappointed.
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on 25 February 2011
Self-released by this most individual of bands, this album shows a sense of ambition sadly lacking in most modern bands. 16 tracks over 2 discs and 2 hours of music. Quality is staggeringly high, welding huge and imaginative riffs to memorable hooks and genuine lyrical intelligence. A concept album of sorts, the early limited editions from the band's own website included a book which shed some light on proceedings. Resolutely modern yet with some of the sense of space and light/shade shown by classic bands such as Pink Floyd, filtered through riff monsters like Soundgarden, unexpected twists and turns pop up everywhere. There are hints of jazz, sixties pop handclaps, a truly convincing Mr Burns impression at one point along with an excellent collection of memorable tunes. Deserves the sort of audience commanded by Porcupine Tree et al, and I fully expect it to be sitting on top of my best of list come the end of the year. Would suit fans of Tool, PT, Oceansize, most modern prog and anyone who loves the sheer cathartic power of riffs. Simply brilliant.
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on 1 March 2011
Well I've been waiting for a long time for an album to have this impact on me after just a couple of spins.
An astounding piece of work - if this isn't the best new prog album of 2011 then I sure want to hear the one to beat it to the crown.

Freed from record label interference Amplifier have spread their wings and have recorded their defining album.

For fans of the rockier side of prog, space rock and good rock music in general - equal parts melody and hard riffing guitars a marvelous concoction of rhythm and sound.

Dont hesitate a moment longer, indulge yourself, prepare for 8 legged enlightenment.....

Note , this edition is a relatively basic gatefold sleeve which reflects in the bargain price (its perfectly acceptable to these ears mind you), for a more luxurious packaging option then head over to the amplifier website.
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on 4 April 2011
As a fan of Tool, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and Yes, Amplifier's latest was always going to inspire considerable interest. It certainly matches the Floyd's level of ambition whilst on certain tracks (The Wave and Planet of Insects are good examples) they revert to the crunching riffs of metal prog. Most of the time though, it is classic prog whose influence wins out with charmingly overblown lyrics and multiple layering of sounds and effects. The richness and fullness of this album is testament to the restless creative anima of the mancunian wizards behind it.

The first cd remains my favourite, if only for the twin wonders of the Black Sabbath influenced Interglacial Spell and the doom laden title track which remains the most evocative effort that this collection has to offer. Generally, the consistency is higher throughout this cd and the fluency of interchanging ideas washes artfully over every sonic experiment. The second disc proves to be a little more ragged in places and lacking in the expansive wonder of the first, but songs like The Sick Rose with it's Kasabian inflected delivery and Golden Ratio still rank very highly indeed.

The real wonder of both discs is that as the album grows in intensity and ferocity, it does so without sinking under the weight of guitar onanism or thematic incoherence. For me, mortality and the physical versus the ethereal are the twin ideas that inhabit many of this record's dark corners but the beauty of Amplifier's ambition is that the listener is left to make up their own minds about what they mean.

This is Prog at it's most earnest and unashamed with a breadth of scope and levels of bombast that would overwhelm many lesser mortals. The subtle shifts of tempo and mood fix the listeners attention on the album for the entirety of it's lengthy duration (which is no mean feat).

Essentially then, one of the best prog albums of recent years (up there with Laterlaus and Fear of a Blank Planet) which delivers grinding riffs, synth loops and powerful vocals. A must-buy!
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on 30 March 2011
I had heard of amplifier before but wasn't really sure what they were like. I read a couple of reviews for this album the octopus.
The first thing to say is the packaging is lovely. It includes a nice double gate fold cover housing the 2 CDs, an interesting booklet and leaflet explaining an experiment the band are undertaking. It even comes with some stickers. The real plus is a web link to download (for free) an accompanying EP. All this for £6.99 is a real bargain in my eyes.

As for the music itself, well it is generally good but there is a lot to digest, 2CDs with 70mins of music on each one. These are divided into 8 tracks on each CD hence the title octopus. I am only on the second listen so this review is based on first impressions only. The most obvious influence on the band is "dark side of the moon" era pink floyd. There one or two ambient tracks that replicate the sound and atmosphere of that album really well. However, it isn't all floyd worship as this band also like to riff and riff hard. I was trying to figure out influences here as some of the riffs sound familiar but I can't. I think the band make them their own. There are echoes of Oceansize in places, not surprising since the two bands come from the same area and mike from oceansize makes a guest appearance on this album.

Overall I think it is a massive achievement to produce 16 "prog like" tracks without a drop in quality across both CDs. Also a note on the production which initially sounded a little flat on the opening ambient tracks, but actually sounded fantastic when the riffs and drums start kicking in. I'm sure with more listens I will come to cherish this album in the same way as efflorescence by oceansize.
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on 22 March 2011
The more I listen to this, the more I love it - it's complex and layered in the best sense. It starts with a statement of intent in track 1, which sounds so Dark Side of the Moon it seems the band's almost arrogantly setting themselves a benchmark of all-time-classics. At the same time, The Sick Rose could just as easily be called "an homage to Tool's last two albums", just to cover their bases with the modern classics too. It balances the heavy guitar and moments of quiet beautifully - this is the album I was hoping Oceansize were gearing up to make.
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on 12 May 2011
I had never heard Amplifier before and only purchased this as I had read some good reviews and also thought the cover was fantastic
Upon its arrival I put it on my ipod as this is where i do most of my general listening in the week
I also loved the album concept and if purchased from the Band then you get a load of free stickers to help spreed the message of The Octopus (Great idea)
The album if i am to be really honest was not an instant hit for me
I actually found it difficult to get into
Very complex musical ideas that were initially hard to digest
However when I got a chance to put the CD in a machine and sit and listen to it through a decent hifi system, i began to really understand, the complexities of the album
As I started with, this album is Texture for the ears
I'm not going to review each song, all i will say if buy it and give it time to mature and grow
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Amplifier's third studio album The Octopus, from early 2011, is a superb album and a definitive moment in the band's career. The British trio have crafted a truly interesting and inventive album that gets better with every successive listening.

Split across two eight track CDs, one white on black, on black on white and coming with a thank you document providing access to a special website and the digital download of the stunning four track Fractal EP, as well as full of tiny stickers of the artwork in a unique Radiohead/Nine Inch Nails style marketing experiment, Amplifier really give thought to the delivery of the album and engaging fans imaginatively.

Initially I came across the band on a sampler cd of modern progressive rock artists, where the song `Interstellar,' blew me away coming across as some sort of missing link between Kyuss style desert/stoner rock and King Crimson's three latest studio albums, with a Roger Waters fan on vocals.

This turned out to only be a tiny part of the band's overall style, one section of their grand and eclectic sound that mixes modern alternative rock with the progressive spirit. Tracks like `Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange,' and `Fall Of The Empire,' are exciting and captivating, and the album as a whole is simply as marvelous as it is ambitious, full of lengthy tracks that feel equal parts spacey and grungey.

The album flows brilliantly from beginning to end and is best absorbed of many repeated listens as a complete piece. No tracks feel out of place or weak, nothing brings the general level of quality down for even a minute.

I also really enjoy the production of this record, the mix and the treatment of vocals and background keys are really well handled and make the album sound important and grand without being either over-polished or intentionally retro.

Overall, The Octopus is one of the best and most interesting albums you are likely to hear this year and I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes any sort of intelligent rock music, prog or otherwise.
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on 15 April 2011
This double album has to be Amplifier's magnum opus - surely they can't beat this...
Amplifier have managed here to produce two hours of music that interests with the first listen, and then draws you in deeper with every subsequent listen. Best listened to with the headphones on and the light off.
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on 23 August 2012
It's fair to say that music really gets better than this. This is one of the best albums ive had the pleasure of listening to recently. Amplifier push the boundaries with this space rock/progressive masterpiece of a double album. How they aren't on top of the world is beyond me. Sel Balamir has pushed the band to its greatest point and what a peak this really is.

Every texture of song you could wish for is hear. Pure adreniline rushes of space rock like 'Interstellar'. Theres hook filled, head nodding songs like 'The Wave' and 'The Emperor'. Heavy but catchy as hell songs like 'Interglacial Spell' and 'Golden Ratio'. Dark, brooding numbers like the title-track and 'Bloodtest'. Slower and thoughtful tunes like the wonderfully named 'Trading Dark Matter On The Stock Exchange' and 'Oscar Night//Embryo'. Every single song hits the mark, and at over 2 hours long that is an incredible achievement. The great thing is with all the ambient and sci-fi noises the album really does sound like it was recorded in space.

Underrated doesn't even begin to cover the album. The Octopus proves that Amplifier are one of the most talented bands around at the moment and has to be heard to believe how great it truely is.
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