The Soulbreaker Company Premiere “Arrhythmia” Video; Sewed with Light out Nov. 30

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the soulbreaker company 2018

Basque Country progressive heavy rockers The Soulbreaker Company release their sixth LP, Sewed with Light, Nov. 30 on Underground Legends Records. It is their first outing through the label after serving as a longtime staple act for Alone Records, but regardless of who’s putting it out, the band’s sound remains unmistakably their own. In their more than 13 years together, the band has been through a number of lineup changes and have undertaken a persistent sonic evolution, and as the latest manifestation of that, the 11-track/48-minute Sewed with Light brings an overarching pastoral feel to still-weighted grooves and tones. With vocalist Jony Moreno out front surrounded by his fellow founders in guitarists Asier Fernandez (also vocals) and Dani Triñanes, melody runs central throughout the proceedings while Javi Free makes an impression on synth in “Together” and piano in “You Guess but You Don’t Understand,” and the drums of Andoni Ortiz and bass of Illan Arribas tie together a vision of progressive heavy informed by the likes of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin that nonetheless seeks to repeat the work of neither of them. Beginning with its longest track (immediate points) in the seven-minute “Inner Dark,” Sewed with Light offers a balance between a rich, textured sound and a graceful live execution that’s emblematic of their sonic maturity but still exciting to hear.

Acoustics, fuzzed electrics, a variety of keys and malleable vocals all come together to create the tapestry evoked in the material, which is peaceful even at its heaviest moments the soulbreaker company sewed with lightand has precious little time for needless aggression. Even as “The Word, the Blade” picks up into its chorus, the feel remains easy and accessible, and as they cap with the electronics-and-drone piece “In the Beginning,” the vibe remains more experimentalist than angry. Though it’s relatively short at 2:57, “Arrhythmia” represents Sewed with Light well. Preceded by the keyboard/Mellotron-laced “Avoid the Crash,” it’s more uptempo than some of what surrounds, but set as the penultimate inclusion on the tracklist, it’s obviously meant as a last-minute kick to get listeners on board for the far-out closer that follows. Like the best of the classics from which they take influence, The Soulbreaker Company are able to distill a grand or epic feel down into a song that’s tight in its structure and doesn’t need to hit the 10-minute mark to make its impression emotionally. Centerpiece “Persephone” brings together Free‘s spacey synth and the lead guitars in a one-into-the-next trade of solos and still has room in its five minutes for a memorable hook and an engaging melody. With the early prog-out of the quick “I am the Void” and the breadth of the subsequent “The End of the Day” and “Together,” there’s much for listeners to dig into, but whether one sits and parses through every move, shift in tone and groove, every part change and chorus, or if one simply goes along for the ride, The Soulbreaker Company offer an enticing invite to take its component songs on and live with them for a while. Some records you hear and that’s it. Sewed with Light feels more like a multi-sensory experience.

I’m thrilled today to host the premiere of the video for “Arrhythmia” with my thanks to Underground Legends for letting me do so. You’ll find it on the player below, followed by some info and links as always.

Please enjoy:

The Soulbreaker Company, “Arrhythmia” official video premiere

THE SOULBREAKER COMPANY’s official video for Arrhythmia from the album “Sewed With Light” available on November 30th.

Written and Directed by Elba Berganzo

The Soulbreaker Company is:
Jony Moreno: vox
Asier Fernandez: Guitars, vox
Andoni Ortiz: Drums
Illan Arribas: Bass
Dani Triñanes: Guitars
Javi Free: Synths, Piano, organ

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Cuzo, Ensalada Ovni: Alien Communications (Plus Track Premiere)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on July 19th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

cuzo ensalada ovni

[Click play above to stream ‘Noches de Sol’ from Cuzo’s Ensalada Ovni, out in September on Underground Legends Records.]

At its core, Cuzo‘s Ensalada Ovni seems to be most about balance. A balance between guitar and keys, guitar and bass, bass and drums, drums and keys, guitar and drums, and the fluidity that emerges from that balance. It is the Barcelona trio’s sixth album and their first for Underground Legends Records, having made their debut with 2008’s Amor y Muerte en la Tercera Fase (review here) and followed it with 2010’s Otros Mundos (review here) as they continued to develop their deeply progressive instrumental approach.

The next year, they hooked up with Can‘s Damo Suzuki for Puedo Ver Tu Mente, and Alquimia para Principiantes and Son Imaginacions Teves followed in 2012 and 2013, respectively, but three years is the longest stretch between Cuzo albums to-date, so it’s with more than a little interest that guitarist Jaime Pantaleón, bassist Fermin Manchado and drummer Pep Carabante make their return with these nine tracks. As to what the time has done to the band’s sound, Ensalada Ovni offers something of a shift in tone from Son Imaginacions Teves, some movement away from the fuzz that record proffered at times and which their earlier work did as well, toward a cleaner, more purely progged take, but they were headed in that direction already. The key is in how dug into the sound the three-piece is, how linked they are through chemistry when they play.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say “it sounds like a band’s sixth record” — first because it might not necessarily sound like a compliment, second because who the hell knows what a sixth record sounds like — but Ensalada Ovni clearly benefits from Cuzo‘s prior experience and dedicates itself to moving that forward across its tight-woven but not overly dense 36 minutes. For all its flow and for all the grace with which it blends the elements at work, Ensalada Ovni almost feels like it should be more self-indulgent than it is. Any even semi-experimental offering is going to have that side to its personality, and Cuzo‘s latest definitely qualifies, but PantaleónManchado and Carabante keep a human core underlying the twists and turns of “Cuenta Atrás Muda” and the subsequent “Plutonium” that sets the tone for what plays out across the rest of the record, establishing the across-the-board balance noted above. That’s a tradeoff, inherently.

cuzo

Balance comes at the expense of danger, but I don’t think a song like “Il Dio Serpente,” which sounds a little in its dreamy guitar like it’s auditioning for a Gary Arce collaboration, would necessarily work as well if it sounded like it was about to fall apart. Rather, the skillful hand(s) that guide it lead the listener through its jam-influenced course easily, and as long as one is prepared to go along, it’s an engaging trip to take, particularly backed as it is by the shorter psych freakout/keyboard wash of “Todo Ha Terminado,” a quick but linear part meld that gives way to Ensalada Ovni‘s centerpiece title-track, which feels lush in its keys early but still manages to bold hold a groove and avoid getting lost in itself. Very much emblematic of the album that shares its name.

Guitar leads the way into “Noches de Sol,” but the drums still play a foundational role in the track, giving Pantaleón the space to establish the initial breadth of the track before moving into the jangly central figure, spacing out from there and returning once again to the simple strum. Cuzo‘s tones may have gotten less fuzzy over time, but their delivery still has presence in its motion, and the funky start of “Maquina Suau” demonstrates that cleanly. The song is under four minutes long but among the most singularly immersive on Ensalada Ovni, more driven by its synth, though it’s the guitar that ultimately wahs the way out over a cymbal wash, jazzy and funky in kind.

Space continues to be the running theme through “Cuzolar” and closer “Good for Business,” the former with a more laid back roll that highlights Manchado‘s smooth tone beneath its forward keyboard line, and the latter which seems to start out on a similar course but shifts into more manic guitar strumming at about its halfway point. Never quite knowing what to expect, toying with nontraditional structures, playing up one side over another — these are all pretty consistent factors throughout Ensalada Ovni‘s run, but the overarching sense of design behind the record shouldn’t be ignored, and though they have worked at a prolific clip to get to where they are, it’s very obvious that Cuzo have reaped the benefits of their experience as a band. Expect Ensalada Ovni to be another step on a much longer path, though it offers landmarks on its way as well.

Cuzo, Ensalada Ovni teaser

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