The OctopusAmplifier’s third album is a gargantuan piece of work. Stunning in its scale, over the course of a two-hour opus, Sel Balamir, Neil Mahony and Matt Brobin ramp up the bombast to galactic proportions, somehow doing so without leaving the light of their earthly observatory.

Self-financed and three years in the making, The Octopus is not merely a grower, but a consumer of what soon feels like the pathetically tiny human brain. Blasting off for Planet Queensrÿche on the three-minute mark, piano-led opener ‘Minion’s Song’ is energy-filled and broad in scope. ‘The Wave’ is a sprawling, Zeppelin-driven beast, while the unforgettable title track is mysterious, pulsing and seductive.

Dominating part two, sinuous ‘Interstellar’ is the record’s standout cut. Here, a creepy-clown musical box intro explodes into an edgily cool, dark motif that loops the listener away on a ten-minute — should that be ten-light year? — voyage through space. ‘The Emperor’, meanwhile, with its effect-laden vocals and surprise pauses makes clear the Manchester-based trio are not afraid to explore their prog leanings. Indeed, vocalist Balamir wisely lets the drama speak for itself across the second half of the album, ‘Fall of the Empire’, to name but one song, a work of epic, black majesty.

To the rational, The Octopus may be just two polycarbonate plastic optical discs. But play those discs, and the sound of three drugged-out astrophysicists expressing themselves through the medium of hard rock will more than rearrange your mind.

Release Date 31/01/2011 (AmpCorp)

David Stedman

David Stedman has followed the Manchester music scene with keen interest since arriving in the city over ten years ago. A Shropshire native, he has a particular fondness for smaller live venues. He is never happier than when listening to acts that make use of a guitar or keyboard in some way.