Stray From the Path: Rising Sun

This is the third record, by New York Hardcore kids, Stray from the Path and I have to say, its easily their best. This is a really solid hardcore record from a really solid group of kids. There really isn’t a bad second on this record and every song is two and a half minutes of pure aggression being yelled into your ears, forcing you to pay attention to what the band has to say.

Stray from the Path have done something that I haven’t really seen in a while (with the exception of Gallows and Letlive) in hardcore music nowadays and that is that this band are unpredictable. They infuse elements of Hardcore, Metal, Rock, and other various influences into their music that it becomes hard to really define the band and thats one of the things that attracts me to this band. They have a level of unpredictability and a level of danger that i haven’t seen in many bands nowadays. For those of you who are unaware of what this band have done, it doesn’t matter really where you start or what your entry point is with this band because their sound hasn’t changed or delineated at all, but they have grown a lot and their songs have only gotten better, so i recommend listening to the band from the beginning and if you don’t like their first album, then you’ll never like them.

One other thing i’d like to point out about this band is that its clear that Andrew (the singer) clearly has some issues and if you cant get that or if you feel that this band is just an act then you better stop reading right now, have a good long talk with yourself and then reread this. There are some bands that when you listen to them, you can tell that their singer clearly has some issues because of the way they deliver their vocals (Oli Sykes f Bring me the Horizon is a good example of what I’m trying to talk about). Andrew here is clearly unhappy and his vocals are so raw and spat that you can’t help but be gravitated to the lyrics and what it is he’s saying. One thing though about the vocals on this record that i’m not too too happy about are is that they are clean sounding instead of the distant, fuzz-boxy type of sound the vocals had on the last two records. But going long with that, the production on this record is really tight and makes the band sound twice as big as before. However this can be somewhat of a Catch-22 with Hardcore bands because the whole feeling surrounding Hardcore music (set forth by Black Flag’s “Damaged” album) is four guys in a room releasing their aggression and pain into their instruments and making violent music. It’s not a style of music that lends itself easily to really tight, professional production because you want that element of closeness and accessibility. That being said however, I think that this record is a compromise of the two. It’s not too tight where it doesn’t have room to breathe, but the quality isn’t as sandpaper rough as before. I quite like how the band sounds on this record, but thats my opinion.

The lyrical content of this album is the same as their previous albums, very rebellious and very political and socially influenced. The sing about how greed affects people and makes them evil people. They talk about why they think the country is going to shits, but at the same time they are also waving the flag for those who, like the band themselves, will never compromise and will never fall into the pit of “society” and encourage people to join them in their fight and stand up for whatever you feel is right. The whole idea of the album title “Rising Sun” is saying (in my opinion) that the time for change is now, and we can either fight back or we can sit back and watch the world crumble. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

The songs on the album here are all pure aggression condensed into two and a half minute anthems. Like i said before, there really isn’t a bad second on this record. This is the kind of record that, even if i’m not pissed off at all, makes me want to get in a fight with someone for no reason whatsoever. Some of the songs even include  sub-bass drops under the beat downs, adding to the sheer level of intensity and ferocity of every note played.

In conclusion, this is a very strong record from a very strong band. They’ve played a lot of shows already and are slowly working their way up bills and I think that this new album will rocket this band to new heights. The band are currently on tour with Terror, and the Acacia Strain. I highly recommend checking them out because i’ve heard that they’re live shows are just as unpredictable as their music.

Luke Helker

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