Review: “Internal Atomics” by Stray From The Path

If there was any doubt in the mind that Long Island New York Alternative Hardcore quartet Stray From The Path would deliver anything other than an album of Politically and Socially aware tracks of groove laiden riffs with a nod to Rage Against The Machine, then let us dispell that myth now. There is no impact of side project Trade Wind with Stick To Your Guns frontman Jesse Barnett and no label switch from Sumerian Records to UNFD meaning a style shift. Instead, a pair of guests appear in Brendan Murphy of Counterparts and Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan which you could happily see the band touring with and so the only thing that is slightly weird is the cover art, which is straight out of Grand Theft Auto…

…”Ring Leader” picks up where previous album “Only Death Is Real” left off with a venomous vocal from Drew York about about the masses being hypnotised by the clown politicians accompanied by some blistering groove laiden riffs and subtle tempo shifts to get the album off to a flying start. Brendan Murphy of Counterparts makes a guest vocal appearance on “Kickback” which shifts the guitar work into a heavier tone with stuccato riffage forming the perfect backdrop to the vocal rampage. Murphy lends some of the most throat shredding uncleans we’ve heard from him with a verse that moves the barrage of body hits to a square punch in the face. “The First Will Be Last” uses more of a lead tone in the 6 string attack but keeps the bass and a rhythm guitar heavier in the mix to add weight to the sound while depicting a dark future. Craig Reynolds kit work is as good on the recording as it is live and the band manage to capture their high energy live show sound throughout, which is no mean feat.

No script gets ripped up but what Stray From The Path have done is keep everything tight and deliver something that is instantly rewarding. “Fortune Teller” is another blisteringly paced cut with an ocean of squeals, breakdowns piled upon breakdowns and a couple of brilliantly timed “Bleigh!” moments. “Second Death” drives another nail into the coffin of the naysayers with thundering heavier guitar tones and moves the sound into the Metallic Hardcore territory of Knocked Loose with a spit rap vocal. The repeating line of “There is a place in Hell for bastards like you” will no doubt be a fist pumping sing-a-long live. “Beneath The Surface” takes up a Deftones inspired riff (the band are fans and have covered them previously) in the opening half while Drew York roars about a broken home in fine storytelling style. There is always so much more to a book than it’s cover and to a person than the way they look. It pays to remember that. “Something In The Water” asks to break the cycle and the shackles of the negative and repetitive nature of humanity as no-one seems to learn from their mistakes. Slowing things down for a melodic break and slow hip-hop poetry spoken word is an interesting move before the music breaks back in with the bands usually breakneck speed approach.

“Holding Cells For The Living Hell” is the fastest cut, rushing like a Jail break at out of the gate. A gang chant and is a surprise moment as the band put the hammer down with a whirlwind of pummelling kit work from Reynolds and some seriously impressive riffs. Numerous reference to medication could well mean than anti depressants the cells the title references. “Double Down” continues the heavy gauge string attack with Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan adding his throat to an adrenaline fueled rush of a track that leaves no room for doubt that the circle pits are going to be huge. The rap scream of “I’ll bring a Mic, I’ll bring a Mic to a gun fight” is a fine line in an album of fine lines. If you thought that Stray From The Path would give you a breather in the final cut “Actions Not Words”, you’d be mistaken. Drew York asks “How real is your real World?” while referencing 2015’s “Subliminal Criminals” and ask you to help change the World in a call to arms that is one of the albums stand out moments. You couldn’t ask for more from Stray From The Path than what they’ve delic on “Internal Atomics”. Everything that preceded this has been taken and turned up to to 10, each track a politically charged anthem of defiance. They’re an unstoppable force [9/10]

Track listing

  1. Ring Leader
  2. Kickback (ft. Brendan Murphy of Counterparts)
  3. The First Will Be Last
  4. Fortune Teller
  5. Second Death
  6. Beneath The Surface
  7. Something In The Water
  8. Holding Cells For The Living Hell
  9. Double Down (ft. Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan)
  10. Actions Not Words

“Internal Atomics” by Stray From The Path is out now via UNFD

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