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Strana Officina - Law of the Jungle Award winner

Strana Officina
Law of the Jungle
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 12 June 2019, 6:23 AM

Since 1977, yes 1977 STRANA OFFICINA has been rocking the Italian metal scene with original members Bassist Enzo Mascolo, Brothers Danio and Rolando  Cappanera who are guitarist and drummer respectively. With newcomer Daniele "Bud" Anoillotti added on vocals in 1982, the line-up has been consistent since then, with the occasional second guitarist added. Consistency like that can get you stuck in a comfortable position, but in this case their album Law of the Jungle has a freshness about it, an energy that feels like they enjoyed the hell out of recording it. At the same time the skill learned only through years of playing shines through masterfully written compositions. They know their respective roles in the band and effortlessly play to each other’s strengths.

From the opening "Crazy About You" Daniele's voice has been reminding me of Ozzy's in his "No Rest for the Wicked" era, his prime in my belief, but "Bud" has an extra ability to scream at will, as demonstrated on the Italian lyric "Difendi La Fede" which also showcased Rolando's ability to throw out a frantic drum pace younger drummers would collapse from. Danio loves his effects, and uses them extensively, but not to excess, just enough to help with the feel of the music. "Endless Highway" is a master class on how to use effects properly, learn from it you aspiring guitar players! Enzo Mascolo is the last piece of the puzzle, with the perfect sound for a band with one guitar. His sound has the right amount of mid-range to cut through and let him fill in the empty left during solos.

Songs that really stuck out for me are "Law of the Jungle", a head banger with some beautifully performed time signature changes many modern Prog bands would be jealous of. "The Devil and Mr. Johnson" is a fitting tribute to the master blues man who sold his soul for his guitar playing ability. Heavy and gritty, a fitting song about dealing with the Devil. If there is one thing to criticize about this album, it's the mix. The sound of each musician is excellent, top notch and precise, but the volume levels change with each song and the tone (not the sound) of each member might be bright one song and more muddy on the next. It sounds more like it was done haphazardly rather than to fit the feel of a song. Not perfect, but forgivable, especially with the quality of the music behind it. STRANA OFFICINA's Law of the Jungle is definitely worthy of addition at any true Metalheads collection!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Crazy about You
2. Difendi La Fede
3. Endless Highway
4. Guerra Triste
5. Il Buio Dentro
6. Law of the Jungle
7. Love Kills
8. Snowbound
9. The Devil and Mr. Johnson
10. The Wolf Within
Lineup:
Daniele "Bud" Anoillotti – Vocals
Danio "Kappa" Cappanera – Guitars
Enzo Mascolo  – Bass
Rolando "Rola" Cappanera – Drums
Record Label: Jolly Roger Records
     


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