Hackberry - Breathing Space

(CD 2023, 50:07, Construction Records)

The tracks:
  1- Lunares(15:48)
  2- Solitary March(10:21)
  3- Foreshadow(11:44)
  4- Manticore(12:06)

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Hackberry is a five-piece instrumental rock band from The Netherlands consisting of Marijn de Boer (guitars), Chris Bechtum (drums), Tim Hidskes (keyboards), Francesco Bonardi (guitars) and Simon Venema (bass). They were founded eight years ago and their music is a blend of prog rock, stoner, metal, grunge and prog metal. After releasing their first EP Desert Orchid late 2016, they released their self-titled debut album Hackberry in September 2018. This year they areback with a new album called Breathing Space, an album that explores four tracks where each one tells a different story.

I really DO love instrumental rock music, like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or The Liquid Tension Project but to me this album sounds too much of the same - read too many riffs and hooks - and after a while I even find the songs rather dull, although all four tracks are extremely well played indeed! Lunares opens this four-track album and this song clocking in at almost sixteen minutes kicks off with four minutes of slash hard rock pure, which sets the tone for this rather dark and obscure album. Solitary March kind of reminds me of Mastodon, while Foreshadow is filled with expansive keyboards and again blazing guitar riffs by De Boer and Bonardi.

After listening to this album, a couple of times I really must say that these five Dutch guys can handle their instruments, but to me it is all a bit too much: sorry guys. The album will be available worldwide on CD and on coloured vinyl as well.

**+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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