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On disc: OffTopic

Backstage - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars


(Lausan - 2010)

The Spanish band OffTopic is active since 2006 and released 2 full-length albums in their home country, but due to the Spanish lyrics the interest outside Spain was limited, now the foursome offers 6 songs of their last release album A Fuego re-recorded with English lyrics. A good move, coz this should get them some attention internationally.
They kick off with the heavy Mask. The song is based in traditional metal, but also shows some progressive elements. The framework is delivered by drummer Cristian Millán and bassist Jose Luis López while guitarist Toni Sánchez-Gil add some heavy riffs or melodic leads. Singer Rosa Ibáñez isn't another singer which could be filed under operatic vocals. Rosa has a powerful voice and sometimes reminds me a bit of Alannah Miles, but also of Maria Breon (HolyHell). Rosa has a slightly raspy voice which adds some heaviness to the tunes. Mask is a catchy, riff-based rocker. With Time Flies they offer another heavy rock which shows reminiscences to traditional metal. Toni Sánchez-Gil is showing his talent in every song, but it never becomes sonic ego-trip. For the next tune they slow down a bit, Because Of You is a balladesque rocker - the ballad version you'll get later with the Reprise. Nexx keyboarder Fran Rodríguez helped them with the translation of the lyrics and also added some keyboard parts. For How Many Times they add some heaviness, but you'll also find a slower passage which features Rosa's vocals, in a way this song gives you the best idea about OffTopic as it has all the ingredients of their sound.
A bit more complex they start Game Over, but then they head into a straight forward passage with fast riffs, just to get back to more complex parts. A fast metal hymn which will soon haunt you.
The closer is Because Of You (Reprise), this time a piano-based power ballad with a slightly symphonic touch. Not perfect vocally, but expressive - and no waste of time!
Well, most of the Spanish bands I came across so far were decent, but could hardly keep up with international acts. OffTopic have the potential to stand their ground internationally and if an international label gives them the chance to present themselves to a larger audience, then they soon will conquer the metal world!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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