THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY (Itaca) LP/CD
And yet again THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY have managed to record an album, which is brimming with passion and creativity. The predecessor 'The Pink Alchemist' already displayed the band's unrestricted capability to merge different musical influences, which resulted in one of the best hard progressive albums of the year 2008. The only thing that changed within the last two years is a slight change away from the heavy rock components in favour of a more polished and soul-infected sound. A bit sad, because I really liked the dirty bluesy roots in 'The Pink Alchemist'. So it took me some time to get used to 'Itaca' - now I guess I have succeeded in that. It is also of note that THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY have extended the space rock elements, which leads to the fact that some of the songs are reminiscent of later Hawkwind.
Highlights including the chilling 'Colours of the Fire' which features some fabulous vocal performance by Jony Moreno - accompanied by female background vocals (and, as throughout the album, powerful rhythm work by Andoni Ortiz Domingo and Jose Javier Manzanedo). 'Oh! Warsaw' is packed with beautiful layers of keyboards, leaving room for some stunning saxophone work which adds a very jazzy feel to the track. Another wonderful tune is 'No Way Back Home', a brilliant combination of early Santana and early Jethro Tull where, once again, the saxophone gives a jazzy vibe to the mid section. Now it should have become clear to the attentive reader that 'Itaca' is multi-faceted, complex and highly demanding. Every single song tells its own story and the technical realisation leaves no stone unturned.
Despite all complexity, THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY is a progressive rock band where the heart is as important as the head. Moreover, they have a fine feeling for strong hooklines and almost all songs are equipped with slight pop tendencies. But don't worry, THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY are first and foremost a rock band, and the two guitarists do not play a subordinate role here, while Jony Moreno's vocals are as energized as the rest of the band. Unlike many hard progressive groups with talented musicians, their songs still flowed effortlessly together, never staying one place long enough to become stale or repetitive and never becoming overly self-indulgent. There's a nice flow instead of the typical endless jamming. It is, therefore, only a matter of time until this band is more than just a insider's tip. THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY really does deserve to be discovered and appreciated, especially by people with a fondness for all things progressive.