Stray From The Path – Rising Sun
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Record Label: Sumerian
I've been following Stray From The Path on twitter for a while now, and one thing I've definitely noticed is that the Long Island based band love hockey. My timeline is sometimes filled with the band trash-talking members of Underoath and This Is Hell and other hockey thoughts, so I thought it would just be best if my review of their new record, Rising Sun, only contained hockey metaphors and puns.
Great idea, right?
Okay, I'm just kidding about that, but if I was going to go that route, it'd be easy to say that Stray From The Path is the enforcer of the hardcore scene, and Rising Sun is the body check that will land you on the disabled list. Throughout the eleven tracks, there are smoking riffs, chaotic rhythms, and vicious vocals that grab you by the neck and never let go.
The album begins with vocalist Drew York and company chanting, “We are the light/we are the light/to guide you home.” It's true, Rising Sun is the light to guide you away from all the terrible imitation metalcore bands in the genre. Immediately, there is the colossal one-two punch of “Death Beds” and “Mad Girl.” Jonathan Vigil (vocalist for The Ghost Inside) goes toe-to-toe with York on the former, using his deep bellows to counter York's raspy yells during its punishing breakdown. Tom Williams' guitar riffs burst through like laser beams on the volatile “Mad Girl,” which includes some of album's most honest lyricism.
A trio of spectacular guest vocalists appear at different points of the album, each one offering a nice contrast to York's ferocious growl. Other than the aforementioned appearance by Vigil, Andrew Neufeld (Comeback Kid) and Cory Brandan (Norma Jean) grace two different tracks with their distinct vocal stylings. Neufeld rapid bark works with York on the spontaneous “Bring It Back To The Streets,” while Brandan kills the chorus on the venomous “Prey,” a torrid track which has the band calling out those who use the Christian faith for financial gain (“Just sign your name on the cross, and turn it upside down”).
Ex-girlfriends and religion exploitation aren't the only things York calls out either. On the thunderous “iMember,” York's lyrics criticizes bands (cough Attack Attack! cough) who rely too much on technology to create their music. Paced by Dan Bourke's pummeling drum work, the buzzing guitar work deliver assaultive breakdowns that hit perfectly.
Stray From The Path's spastic and sometimes off-kilter musicianship will break up the monotony of the current metalcore scene. Sure, they aren't the most creative band out there, but their commitment to fuse chaos and aggression into each song will undoubtedly win them many fans (perhaps even Vancouver Canuck fans). They want to make noise and they want to make it loud, not giving a damn who it pisses off. On Rising Sun, Stray From The Path aim for the jugular and they don't miss. BLEAAH!