Like Shadows

01. (We’re) Stranded
02. Escapism Pt. II
03. Centuries Fled
04. Of Nightmare Reality
05. Bullshit Sloganeering
06. Chasing Ghosts
07. The Submerged Tenth
08. Statement of Capitulation
09. We Neither Rise Nor Fall
10. Maps, Legends
11. Dead Weight
12. Flightless
13. For Automation
14. Terminally
15. Tiny Victories

[No Idea Records]

Reviewing a brand new Ampere record is not something I thought I’d ever get to do. Sure, they released a tonne of splits between 2005 and 2008, but the last lone album they put out was the fantastic All Our Tomorrows End Today in the heady days of ’04 and in all honesty I thought they had gone the way of guitarist and scene legend Will Killingsworth’s old band Orchid and stopped making that urgent, visceral screamo for which both outfits are well renowned.

Imagine my pleasure and surprise then when I came across the review of their new LP Like Shadows by Rob over at Lurker’s Path. It was like Christmas in summer – and I don’t even like Christmas that much.

Everything that there ever was to love about Ampere is still very much present in their writing – although the respites are much more succinct. The guitars still sound as beautiful and clean as ever, but by god are they ferocious, a state exacerbated by the relentless kit-antics of Andy Skelly. Meghan Minior continues the fine tradition of female members in bands of this ilk (see Kathy Coppola of Circle Takes The Square), and Stephen Pierce sounds like he’s geting his daily milkshake of sandpaper and razor blades.

The genre is known for both its intensity and its technicality, but you won’t find any weedly leads or sweep picking here. No, the impressive skill comes from constantly shifting time signatures; barely two bars are the same, and in fact, there are no lead parts whatsoever. Killingsworth just doesn’t bother with them (ever, I don’t think) and that’s absolutely fine with me.

Glancing at the track times, you’d be forgiven for thinking tacks like nine second long “Dead Weight” are just that: an intro or filler perhaps, but no; it’s as gut-wrenching and violent as relative behemoth “Of Nightmare Reality” and every bit as integral to the flow of the record. Tracks like fifty-second belter “The Submerged Tenth” have more meat in them than a ten dollar whore. Ampere don’t dally about with build-up and gentle progression; they hit you with everything they’ve got in under two minutes (and that’s as far as it ever goes), but they pack so much into every outing that after thirteen and a half minutes you feel like you’ve gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson.

I must have listened to Like Shadows a good three or four times just whilst penning this review, and every time closer “Tiny Victories” cut out I found myself wanting it to go on. If that’s not a sign of a good album then I don’t know what is.

Ampere’s Like Shadows gets:


– CG


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