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Amplifier - Trippin' With Dr. Faustus (2017) (Full Album)

Amplifier - Trippin' With Dr. Faustus (Full Album) Amplifier are an English rock band originating from Manchester. The band has released six albums and four EPs since its inception in 1999. Their music has been described as "Soundgarden, Tool, Black Sabbath, Oceansize and Pink Floyd taking copious amounts of mind-altering substances and venturing on a trip through time and space (to another dimension), and back again." Their music is characterized by guitarist Sel Balamir's effect pedals, Matt Brobin's complex drumming, extended heavy sections, atmospheric compositions and philosophical lyrics. Trippin' With Dr Faustus is their 6th and latest album, released in 2017.

As purveyors of intelligent, melodic songs fuelled by huge riffs and prog dynamics, they’re a band who should be in rock’s top league by now. But company buyouts and label mismanagement have hampered their progress, and now here they are releasing their sixth album on their own label. Yet despite their rocky financial position, the freedom of having complete control over their own destiny seems to have genuinely inspired them. Recorded over a three-year period between 2014 and 2016, Trippin’ With Dr Faustus is an immersive experience and quite possibly their finest album to date.

The full armoury of the Amplifier sound is immediately in evidence on opening track Rainbow Machine, its explosive riffing welded onto a meaty groove, while Sel Balamir’s voice is rich and expressive, without ever tipping over into portentousness. There’s more than a hint of 70s stadium rock giants such as Zep and The Who, music conceived and created at an epic scale. But it’s the artful arrangement that highlights their prog DNA, with Rainbow… transitioning through all manner of clever changes. Freakzone ramps up the tension, a gothic guitar refrain accompanying Balamir’s casual utterance, ‘It’s doomsday,’ before more tightrope dynamics, Sabbathian down draught moving seamlessly into Radiohead uplift.

While Amplifier have in the past sometimes been a little too monolithic, here they make sure there’s plenty of light amid the shade. The gutsy folk rock of Big Daddy has a testifying, West Coast vibe, while Anubis is a warm, fingerpicking acoustic reel – both songs benefit enormously from the vocal talents of the mysterious Beth Zeppelin. But Old Blue Eyes brings the album to a suitably dark conclusion, its evil bass riff sucking at the air, its wah-wah like a mocking choir of demons. Only the Devil is left laughing at the end. Fancy some swaggering space prog with your apocalypse? Here’s the deal…

Review by Joe Banks

1. Rainbow Machine - 0:00
2. Freakzone - 6:27
3. Kosmos (Grooves Of Triumph) - 14:47
4. The Commotion (Big Time Party Maker) - 21:27
5. Big Daddy - 27:35
6. Horse - 32:47
7. Anubis - 39:24
8. Supernova - 43:08
9. Silvio - 47:40
10. Old Blue Eyes - 53:00

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