STRANA OFFICINA was first active in the eighties and released their only full-length album in 1989. 1993 the brothers Fabio and Roberto Cappanera (guitar and drums) died in an accident and the band disbanded. Now they are back with the sons of the two deceased members to fill their places. This album, "The Faith", is a compilation album, a best of STRANA OFFICINA, with all re-recorded songs. What I hear when I start listening to this band is not what you expect when you see Italian as the nationality. This is great solid Heavy Metal riffing with real strength and no cheese at all. This is really good! There is nothing else here than Heavy Metal as it was used to be done, but they do it great.
The guitars are heavy and combine well-timed soloing with a strong beating rhythm together with the other instruments. The vocals are not at all part of the castrated Power Metal school, but rather rough and powerful, like Lemmy with a deeper voice. The riffing is what impresses me the most with this album though. All songs are driven forward by riffs that are just catchy and Metal enough. A great example of this is “The Ritual”. The bass adds the depth it should and I like Enzo Mascolo’s handling of his instrument. The drumming is typical for the genre but it is fast and fairly varied so it contributes as well.
When doing a little research on this band I found a place where they were called “the Italian Heavy Metal legends”. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think that this is a great band with many good ideas and for the sake of the fans I think that it is very good that the band has been resurrected. So, all of you old men who think that nothing good has been produced since "The Number Of The Beast" or so, listen to this because here you have one of the bands of “your age” who have taken a step right into the present, and a compelling step it is.
(Online October 31, 2007)