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Off The Cross - Enjoy It While It Lasts Award winner

Off The Cross
Enjoy It While It Lasts
by Darren Duffy at 07 July 2021, 9:35 PM

OFF THE CROSS are a modern melodic metal outfit hailing from Antwerp in Belgium. “Enjoy It While It Lasts” is their second full length album, following on from the 2017 debut album “Divided Kingdom” and 2018 EP “Era”. There are guest appearances on all tracks by Coen Janssen from EPICA - Arrangements & Orchestration, Joost Van Den Broeck from AFTER FOREVER and AYREON - Grand Piano & Hammond, Matthijs Vanstaen / Roeland Picon Vd Wijngaard - Backing Vocals.

“Masks' opens with a brief atmospheric intro before kicking into the main riff and melody. The verse follows with a dual whispered vocal before breaking into a blackened rasp. There are progressive elements to the drum’s patterns early on, before changing to a more straight-ahead stomping beat with heavy duty riffing. Track 2 “Mute.Deaf.Blind” utilises raspy harsh vocals on the verse, accompanied with the clean variety on the chorus. The addition of orchestration adds an ominous tone to the proceedings. “Exist” raises the energy levels with a more up-tempo approach with just brief refrains for bridge sections before launching into the chorus. “The Dance” is another mainly up-tempo tune inter-woven with a catchy guitar melody.

"This Too Shall Pass" features Fabienne Erni from ELUVEITIE and has a more considered subtle approach with the female vocals providing a nice contrast to the harsh vocals of Daan Swinnen. This track begins with mournful subdued tones building to up to a rousing finale.  “A Broken Narrative” is a more straight ahead track, heavy chords alternating with a neat guitar fill.  “Strife” is a mid-paced stomper, which brings the symphonic pomp to the fore, supplementing the heavy guitars.  “Dharma “ bursts into life with another catchy riff, the bass runs rumble through the verse before the chorus builds up the momentum. “Cease And Desist” opens with a triplet-based pattern, settling into a mid-paced stomp with a hook laden chorus. “Blackbox” has a slightly more progressive feel, moving through the different sections OFF THE CROSS even speed up to blast beat territory. “A Life Lived To Die” is a storming closing track with furious drumming and driving riffs bringing the album to a fitting finale.

In conclusion: OFF THE CROSS have produced an interesting album in “Enjoy It While It Lasts”. They have managed to blend a range of light and shade into one coherent heavy piece of work. The harsh raspy vocals do detract from some of the more melodic moments, but that is by their design.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Masks
2. Mute.Deaf.Blind
3. Exist
4. The Dance
5. This Too Shall Pass
6. A Broken Narrative
7. Strife
8. Dharma
9. Cease and Desist
10. Blackbox
11. A Life Lived to Die
Daan Swinnen - Vocals
Jens De Vos – Guitar
Kurt Hermans – Bass
Pieter De Ridder – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 03 October 2022

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