THEPRP REVIEWS

Stray From The Path Anonymous

Sumerian Records 2013

The path of the righteous.

Stray From The Path - Anonymous

10

Stray From The Path tackle modern topics with blunt authority on “Anonymous“; but when it comes to musical inspiration their heart rests squarely in the 90’s. The groups near hero worship of the works of Rage Against The Machine and downset. has been well documented and continues unabashedly on this latest affair. But as is often the case with these Strong Island natives, it is their modernized slant on gritty hardcore and searing charisma that fuel this release.

On “Anonymous” the band are at their best when rallying against the injustices of the powers that be. It’s on tracks like “Badge & A Bullet” and “False Flag” where they plant a firm message behind their incendiary mix of Tom Morello riffs and raspy hardcore meets hip hop verses. With bitter indignation and an underlying resentment of apathy, their urbanized assault on these cuts aims for change as much as it does castigation.

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But then there’s songs like “Counting Sheep” which seem petty in comparison—especially when in part tackling the attention whoring and need for peer validation endemic to social media culture. In theory it’s fertile ground for the bands ire. But when the lyrics include mention of “reposts” and “hashtags” it can feel a touch gimmicky when stacked up against the more righteous diatribes featured. Undoubtedly such terminology is relevant to a good portion of today’s audience. Yet there’s just a sense that given a few years time, such references could very well be as dated as Livejournal and Myspace‘s ‘top 8’.

These concerns don’t stop the band however. They even go so far as to thematically insert the default send message sound from an iPhone (prepare to check your closest Apple device in bewilderment the first time you hear it) while bemoaning their compulsion to communicate with a friend who chose his new girlfriend over his bros.

letlive.‘s Jason Butler cameos on that very track, which is titled “Scissor Hands“—a song that bears more than a passing rhythmic similarity to Rage Against The Machine‘s “Down Rodeo“. While a selling point for the record as a whole, Butler‘s input is probably bit more subtle and quirky than expected.

Stick To Your GunsJesse Barnett also appears on the album. He graces “Radio” with a fitting cameo that compliments the bare knuckle tough guy feel of the song. Even so, neither guest appearance feels entirely crucial as it is the bands own might and drive that makes (and occasionally breaks) the album.

For all they do right here, Stray From The Path will continue to divide audiences with “Anonymous“. They easily stand out amongst their current peers for the rhythmic cadences they apply to their hardcore-leaning passion and fury.

But despite their heart and hunger being laid bare, to an older generation they’ll likely be seen as biting too deep into the catalogs of some true genre pioneers—a claim that songs like “Landmines” entirely validate. Even with the best intentions it’s hard work paying homage.

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