Manchester prog rockers, Amplifier, have made a name for themselves over the years by consistently producing solid, epic albums that channel the likes of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath while slapping their own stamp on a classic sound and their latest album, ‘Mystoria’, is another welcome addition to that collection.
The ten song collection of guitar heavy and experimental tracks fits perfectly into the cliché of taking the listener on a journey, or maybe a “trip” depending on your perspective. From start to finish, ‘Mystoria’ is like a puzzle; overwhelming at first, but once you get comfortable with it, everything falls right into place.
In true Amplifier style, this album hits the ground running with ‘Magic Carpet’, an instrumental track that’s true to its name with winding guitar solos and a nearly droning repetitive sound that blends well with the chaos coming from the other instruments. The over-arching classic rock sound stays strong through the entirety of the album with tracks like ‘Named After Rocky’ and ‘OMG’, even through the ‘effect heavy’ experimental tracks.
Vocalist Sel Balamir’s smooth and impressive vocals are a solid constant through the variety of sounds and genres coming from each track, made especially evident in ‘Black Rainbow’. Each track’s unapologetically lengthy intro may seem redundant after the first couple songs, but as the album progresses it’s made clear that these effect riddled wailing guitar intros serve their purpose in tying each track to its predecessor.
The album’s final two tracks, ‘Crystal Mountain’ and ‘Crystal Anthem’ are the true showstoppers of ‘Mystoria’. These two tracks provide the perfect ‘come down’ from the album with yet another majestic intro, leading into a slower track that brings the pace down in a subtle way. As the songs merge, ‘Crystal Anthem’ brings the pace back up to another pounding rock track while maintaining an impressive melody and ending the album with an instrumental display that ties everything together with fading drums and guitar solos. Amplifier aren’t doing anything new or groundbreaking with ‘Mystoria’, but they have definitely carved their own path and proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with.