Remember that one band you used to dream of playing in as a kid, and then life got shit complicated and you looked the other way till that “something” that comes your way and jolts you into an overwhelming sense of déjà vu? Stray From The Path and their new full length “Anonymous” are that “something”. RATM fans, roll call please.
Stray From The Path delve into a sonic boom assault from the word go. “False Flag” begins with gang chants and a furious riff, punctuated by some of the most amazing drum and bass locks. An equally aggressive chorus line drives this number home. “Badge and Bullet” speaks of police brutality and the usual abuse of power by the city’s finest. With lyrics that would probably be carved onto the walls of a jail cell in all probability, Andrew Dijorio (aka Drew York) is a brute force to reckon with. Thomas Williams’ parts are refreshingly original to listen to and I remain curious how he comes with such a catchy hook for every track. Just when you thought the band was done flipping off the system, they launch an equally honest to reality video clip to go with the track which should have most of you foaming at your mouth in anger.
“Scissor Hands” is your cue to trash your room and more of course. With Andrew’s earnest lines and the driving force of the music, this one’s a winner. Anthony Altamura’s delicious bass lines are served on the side of the main course that is the entire SFTP sound. Every once in a while his fills build up to an introspective and melodic section while Drew York prepares for his next assault. Also, the track features Jason Butler (Letlive.) and his skilled growls. It goes without saying that when music of any genre syncs with politics it can only result in a soul-bearing almighty BANG! And “Black Friday” is chockfull of that given how the lyrics go “…Money won’t buy you a heart of gold…” and “One for the money, two for the money/ Forget about the Third World staying hungry”.
The band’s instrumental segment really shines on the track “Landmines”. Boasting of one of the sickest intro riffs I’ve had the pleasure of snapping my neck to, “Landmines” is a good example of how relentless the band can be in their delivery. This I believe is also a great example of the fact that fast tempos and intricate technical compositions are not always necessary to perfect an album; sometimes aggression is the key ingredient. Picture the entire album as the soundtrack to Johnny Depp’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, only this time, replace the drugs and debauchery with conflict and aggression. The general lack of respect for bodies in positions in authority is mutual, I believe.
The band has done a good job of apportioning enough fuel throughout the tracklist, which should be good enough for the bodies flying all over the pit when they embark on The Anonymous Tour in support of the album. You can track their tour dates here. While most musicians shy away from glaring topics that beg attention at all points of time, Stray From The Path don’t stop at mincing words but take the bull by the horn. Ranging from politics prevalent in all walks of life, the day to day backbiting we deal with, authoritarianism strains in our government, etc. Perhaps the very root of Hardcore/Punk demands such an influence, but not all pull it off with such finesse. Stray From The Path, my friend, do not deserve to be lumped into that limping majority. They are a class of their own and are a deft hand at what they do.
What also deserves a special mention is the amazing freshness and originality in their songwriting approach. Even though the roots of the band are visible to all of us they are not just a mash up of the forefathers of the genre. Rather they have imbibed everything in between to put forth a healthy cocktail of the chiaroscuro of beautiful discord and sensibility. Despite the obvious RATM influence- Exhibit A, 3rd track “Radio” (featuring Jesse Barnett from Stick To Your Guns; quelle surprise, eh?)- that many cite in them, they are far from being a Rapcore rip-off. There isn’t a hint of monotony in the record in spite of a more or less similar compositional template being used in every track. Every single track portrays a shade of chaos and calamity in a unique manner and should be an anthem to a cause.
Chaotic. Fist pumping. Brutal. Why? Because fark normalcy, that’s why. This is the bee’s knees!