Courtesy of Travis Barker’s cultural renaissance and the prominence of artists like Machine Gun Kelly …
Offering so much more than just your average heavy music, American hardcore heroes Stray From The Path have become mainstays of music that is equally thought-provoking and hard-hitting; and their tenth studio album Euthanasia is undeniably the quartet’s most colossal and acerbic yet.
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For a band continually poised to tackle socio-political issues, it’s little surprise that Euthanasia comes laced with some of the group’s darkest moments of their career to date. Throw in the pandemic, isolation and a genuine question mark over the ongoing future of Stray From The Path in the wake of this brand new album’s release, and you’ve got yourself a maelstrom of stupefying angst, blistering instrumentals and one of the most impressive outings from the New York group in their 20+ years of existence.
There’s no mincing words or instrumentals on Euthanasia, and opening track Needful Things gleefully doubles down on pummelling drumwork, furious soundscapes and a metallic-soaked bounce, while squarely aiming some spitfire vitriol as vocalist Drew ‘York’ Dijorio screeches “Are you in, or in the way?.” For anyone who may have forgotten that Stray From The Path are in command of some ballistic musical talent, May You Live Forever swaggers in next with some brash Rage Against The Machine-esque energy alongside show-stopping beats and basslines courtesy of Craig Reynolds and Anthony Altamura respectively. Following a telling nursery rhyme-like intro declaring “join the police” immediately followed by gunfire, III caustically grabs further onto RATM influences, busting out a scathing chest-bump of a track that squarely takes aim at the ongoing oppression faced by many, particularly in the band’s homeland, at the hands of the police force. And it’s not just the police on blast on Euthanasia, with Chest Candy equally ripping into the military via riotous arrangements and lyrics like “Tell me the fucking truth / Who do you recruit? / Drifters and disposable youth / Searching for purpose / Send ‘em into the furnace / Thank you for your service.”
Ultimately in 2022, Stray From The Path are more pissed off, precise, and prolific than ever before, and we are all the better for it via the palpable monument that is Euthanasia.
Chuggs reign supreme throughout Euthanasia, notably on the riotous Guillotine which cleaves menace and an eye-watering breakdown for good measure. But, as the band have proven time and time again, they ain’t no one-trick-pony, with an outing from Jesse Barnett from Stick To Your Guns that would make the Deftones smile while simultaneously offering moments of reprieve from the venom, rap-metal brilliance on the devastatingly jaunty Law Abiding Citizen, and a groove-laden name and shame aimed at the cowards of the modern age, including climate-change deniers, on The Salt In Your Spit. And while it’s undeniable that Stray From The Path have been inherently influenced by the ongoing musical escapades of Rage Against The Machine throughout their career, their case as the undeniable heirs to the RATM mantle, minus mimicry or blatant imitation, comes staunchly in the form of Neighbourhood Watch, before closing track Ladder Work rounds out proceedings with a bleak but ferocious blow, complete with throwback record scratches, emphatic grooves and a haunting repeated spoken line “To meet the criteria required for euthanasia, you must have an incurable, constant state of unbearable suffering.”
While it’s a genuine shame that so much of the underlying thematics brandished on Euthanasia stem from ongoing and current issues facing humanity as a whole, Stray From The Path’s efficient brutality benefits wholeheartedly from timely content, overwhelming proficiency and perhaps some of the most focused songwriting of the band’s storied musical journey so far. Ultimately in 2022, Stray From The Path are more pissed off, precise, and prolific than ever before, and we are all the better for it via the palpable monument that is Euthanasia.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Needful Things, III, Chest Candy
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Rage Against The Machine, The Ghost Inside, Stick To Your Guns