posted on 4/2007 By:
So here we have a re-issued and expanded EP by an Austin, Texas outfit by the name of Amplified Heat. This band, comprised of three brothers by the name of Ortiz, at first struck me as a caricature of late 60s/early 70s-era hard rock; the band’s website depicts them as a bunch of oversized-personality rockers who keep busier wrecking shit live than writing or recording good music. A few listens to this disc puts a lie to the persona though. This is a well-crafted and furiously performed example of raucous, overdriven throwback blues-rock that’ll rattle the blown out speakers of every stoner rock fan who can find a copy.
Stoner rock as a term though doesn’t quite accurately describe Amplified Heat’s sound. Where that term usually brings to mind the echoey effects and crushing distortion employed by Monster Magnet, Kyuss and the like, this band projects a far more classic rock-obsessed sense of drunken spontaneity. Their sound draws fairly evenly from Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, early-period Black Sabbath and maybe a dash of ZZ Top, mashing them all together into a gritty vintage paste and then compressing the salty riffage with a punk sense of urgency. High velocity numbers like “Heart Attack,” “Bi-Polar” and “Contrabandista” whip past almost before you notice how catchy they are, and slower tracks like “I Don’t Care” and lengthy closer “Dead Man Walkin’” allow the musicians to exercise a little (very little (teensy-weensy)) bit of restraint. All three of the Ortiz boys are very respectable musicians. Jim Ortiz’s low gain guitar work is somewhat clichéd but is energetic enough to suit the wild tunes, and he sings in a throaty pseudo-melodic howl that calls to mind a slightly more musical Scott Hill, of Fu Manchu fame. Gian Ortiz provides a rock solid arsenal of bass grooves, but the star of the rhythm section (and the band) is drummer Chris. It is his riotous, fill-intensive skinsmanship that lends Amplified Heat their ecstatic energy, and his joint channeling of Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and Bill Ward (Sabbath) is both a technical marvel and wildly enjoyable to hear.
This is quite an impressive little disc—though not quite a gem—and if these guys stick to their guns and keep recording instead of burning out, they could potentially be one of the best classic rock throwback bands around. Recommended listening for stoners, drunken brawlers, and anyone who’s seeking some derivative but fun rock music.
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