OffTopic is a hard rock/metal band out of Spain. I had not heard of them before and had no idea what to expect when I pressed play to hear the 6 songs on their "Backstage" EP. I was surprised and pleased by what I found.
The songs on "Backstage" have a familiar sound to them. They remind me of the radio friendly hard rock bands of the 80s, and call bands like Vixen, Kiss, and Slaughter to mind. They also have a modern feel to them similar to that of Velvet Revolver, Puddle of Mudd, and Shinedown. "Time Flies", "How Many Times", and "Game Over" are the standout songs for me on this EP.
Right off the get-go, guitar player Toni Sánchez-Gil establishes OffTopic as a solid hard rock band. His riffs are heavy and groovy and his solos on all of the songs are stellar. Cristian Millán on drums and José Luis López on bass each get a chance to show off throughout the 6 songs. Lead singer Rosa Ibánez has a nice strong voice, not as polished as you'd might expect and want, but a good solid voice nonetheless. She can really tear it up when she is unrestrained, such as on "Time Flies" and "How Many Times".
I have a few concerns about "Backstage", the first of them being the backing vocals on the opening track "Mask". Even though it sounds like Cristian Millán is pulling double duty, sometimes the backing vocals are a bit loud in the mix and might benefit if one of the guys were to join her while recording backing vocals. Another concern I have is the power-ballad "Because of You". There is a keyboard part that sounds like woodwind and horns during the soft verses that does not blend well with the heavier portions of the song during the chorus. "Because of You (Reprise)", the last song of the EP, is much better than its predecessor because that keyboard part is stripped away. My final concern, and a relatively small one at that, is that while the production is quite good, the overall sound could be beefier and heavier.
Overall, OffTopic is a great band with great songs. The musicianship is top notch. If you are a fan of hard rock and metal and like any of the bands that I have referenced, you should really check these guys (and lady) out.
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Live Long and Rock Hard,
Space Kev's Rating: 7.75 out of 10
Some of the songs on their MySpace page are sung in Spanish.