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Monday, 10 July 2017

Reviews: Amplifier, Starsick System, Bloodclot (Reviews by Paul)

Amplifier: Trippin' With Dr Faustus (Rockosmos)

Mixing Soundgarden, Tool, Sabbath and Floyd with a smattering of Oceansize, Manchester veterans Amplifier's sixth full player is a magical release. Mixing the Mancunian indie edge with some of rocks biggest bruisers in style, I even detect chunks of Anderson era Yes in the mix. Opener Rainbow Machine is a kaleidoscope of sound, time changes a plenty, psychedelia mixing with all kinds of rampant movement, Matt Brobin's complex and intricate drumming combining with Sel Balamir's effect pedal.

Amplifier have been around since 1998 and they ooze confidence. Balamir's live use of the pedal is renowned the worlds over and he doesn't let up. The harmonies and supporting vocals are impressive, and it's no wonder these guys have supported such luminaries as Opeth and Porcupine Tree. Freakzone is a joyous rambler possessing a memorable middle eight. Shades of Placebo also surface from time to time. It's lighter than our usual stuff but there is a genuine feel of quality. most of the songs clock in at six minutes plus, but they really do reward the listener.

Kosmos (Grooves Of Triumph) hauls the listener back to the late 1990s, a combination of acid flower power and the Manchester scene, jangling guitars a plenty. It's laden with groove. From here on it's a crazy mix of styles, with fuzzy stoner (Old Blue Eyes), the indie rock of Big Daddy and the Chili Peppers funk of Horse. This is a super album, far left field of usual listening. Amplifier are a really interesting sound. Check them out. Do something different today. 8/10

Starsick System: Lies, Hopes & Other Stories (Pride & Joy)

When you list your influences as Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Sixx AM (yes, really!) and Nickelback then it's a pretty good bet what the sound is like. The sophomore release from Italians Starsick System follows the radio friendly hard rock of those bands to the letter. Big polished sound, chugging guitars, huge drum sound and a Bon Jovi edged vocal that will no doubt appeal to the Planet Rock crowd in spades.

Marco Sandron's voice sounds like a million others, pearly white and sweet as sugar. The guitar work of David Donati slick and competent whilst the rhythm section of Valeria Battain and drummer Ivan Moni Bodin holds things together neatly. It's just a bit insipid and routine. The cover of Chris Cornell's Bond theme You Know My Name is adequate but lacks the panache and style of the original. Decent enough but I'd save the cash for something with more bite. 6/10

Bloodclot: Up In Arms (Metal Blade)

Featuring Cro-Mags John Joseph, the duo of Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo (QOTSA) and Todd Youth, it's been a long time since the hardcore groove punk metal combination of New York City's Bloodclot hit the airwaves. 2008 to be precise. But that was just Joseph. Up In Arms is fast, frantic and like my best sex, over in a matter of minutes (*Spits out tea* - Ed).

There's no let up, from title track opener, to the one minute Fire or the three minute Siva/Ruda, it's all cleverly knitted together in a maelstrom of chaos. Battery of the highest order and ideal for those early morning commutes when every bastard in the world gets in your face. 'ave it!'. 7/10

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