My favorite way to discover music is through friends recommendations. Right now I have one such recommendation that’s been on the top of my music queue on my laptop, in my car, on my pc at work, and an absolute necessity when I jump online and play some Halo multiplayer; The Octopus by Amplifier. Formed in 1998, Amplifier (Amplifiertheband.com) is from Manchester, UK and is made up of Sel Balamir on guitar and vocals, Matt Brobin on drums, and Neil Mahony on bass.
The Octopus, their third and latest release (Oct. 2010), is progressive rock tour de force concept album reminiscent of Porcupine Tree with a dash of Pink Floyd. The self published album is available as a 2-cd set or download (various formats) through the bands website. I’ve been listening to it daily for the past few weeks and am just now starting to come down from that new great band/great album high and starting to pay more attention to lyrics and enjoying more of the subtle and not so subtle nuances, not to mention just scratching the surface of the website associated with the album (link in image) which looks like a journey in and of itself.
I’m not going to go through song by song but the first ballad, Minion’s Song, beautifully ensnares you into the Octopus with it’s opening melody while the chorus calls you to join of your own free will or be sucked in anyway. The next song, Interglacial Spell just plain kicks ass and is an instant head-banging classic of Progressive Rock (notice the capitals). The rest of the album is equal to the task of the first several songs, lasting over two hours and perfect for anytime you feel like kicking ass or smoking a huge bowl or both – such as the previously mentioned online gaming sessions, a few rounds of darts (curse you H), or as your outdoor early spring bbq theme music that puts the neighbours on notice of your badass bbqing skills.
You don’t get many two hour concept albums but Amplifier pulls it off beautifully, making me salivate to witness a live performance (insert shameless plea to come to the US; Chicago/St.Louis). Octopus is a must buy for all Porcupine Tree fans and progressive rock fans. Oh, and give this album a 10/10 on the 420 scale (I’m talking to you Interstellar).