REVIEW: STRAY FROM THE PATH - INTERNAL ATOMICS
Stray From The Path released their 9th(!) album Internal Atomics earlier this month. As to be expected from the Long Islanders, it deals with politics a great deal. Their previous release Only Death Is Real even contained a track that sampled a speech from current US President Donald Trump and one that didn't portray him in a positive light by any means! This album also contained the highly controversial song "Goodnight Alt-right", a vicious attack on the rise of racist and Nazi-like ideology that a lot of people both in America and outside of it took great offence to.
So what exactly was to be expected on the next album? If you were to guess that it was more of the same, you would be correct. Not that it has gotten old - if anything, with the resurgence of ultra political bands of the past, it might be more relevant than ever! Stray From The Path are a band who are not happy with the political situation in the United States and instead of just letting their anger and hatred bubble up inside them, they have channelled it in a constructive way to make yet another solid new album. That is their formula and they have stuck to it with every release, so why change what has worked for the previous 8 albums?
Internal Atomics has come at time where the whole world witnesses the madness that is Brexit happening, possible interference from Russia in elections in multiple countries including the UK and US, the possible continuation of the presidency of Donald Trump, the rise of dictators all around the world and so many other things that it's sometimes hard to even keep track. Even the mention of the word Brexit continues to make me and plenty other fellow Brits’ skin crawl. Brexit is indeed a fitting political reference when it comes to Stray From The Path, considering their current drummer Craig Reynolds (formerly of Viatrophy, Brutality Will Prevail and The HAARP Machine) is British!
Our first taster from this album came in the form of "Fortune Teller", released as a single in July. That wasn’t the only song we got before the album’s release either - we were also given "Kickback" (a song that featured Brendan Murphy of Counterparts), "The First Will Be Last" and "Actions Not Words". "Actions Not Words" contained a lyrical callback to their album Subliminal Criminals as vocalist Andrew 'Drew York' Dijorio screamed “complacency is criminal, this shit is not subliminal”. This was a very cool little touch that nodded back to the band's past and I loved it! The repetition of “Thinking like everyone else is not really thinking” on opening track "Ring Leader" may be a somewhat cliched statement, it's one that perennially rings true and especially in today's political climate.
But, it's important to recognise that, despite the hyper-political doom and gloom Stray From The Path specialises in, there is somewhat of a positive spin on this album. Drew York screams “the choice is yours, change the world” repeatedly into your ears during "Actions Not Words". That's something which after listening to this band is something you will definitely feel you can do! That’s another thing this band have pulled off extremely well over their career. Through their rousing political anthems, they give us a sense that the world is not all doom and gloom if you do something about it. Well, it’s either that or they'll make you want to start a revolution...
ROCKODILE RATING: 9/10
Words by Ryan Norton