Politics have been permanently on the minds of most North Americans since Trump became president, and while many bands and musicians have shifted their direction to offer their takes on the ongoing political disaster, Stray From the Path have simply doubled down on their original one. The band's latest record, Only Death Is Real, is essentially a soundtrack made for the protests and rallies held by liberal-minded people across America.
The Long Island hardcore crew bring their usual Rage Against the Machine-worshipping sound, with plenty of squealing guitar riffs, harshly rapped lyrics and breakdowns galore across the record. Tracks such as the speedy "They Always Take the Guru" or the anti-Nazi anthem "Goodnight Alt-right" hit especially hard, proudly displaying the band's knack for punchy hardcore jams.
As with each Stray From the Path album, Only Death Is Real boasts some big name collaborations. "All Day & a Night" features jarring shrieks courtesy of Knocked Loose vocalist Bryan Garris, while "The House Always Wins" sports a solid verse from Jedi Mind Tricks MC Vinnie Paz. One of the best tracks on the album comes via a collaboration with Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley on "Strange Fiction," a mosh pit-inducing song that finds Buckley bringing his legendary Southern-tinged screams.
Only Death Is Real shows the band building on their rap-metal-meets-hardcore style, so while it doesn't offer anything new to people familiar with the group, it's a fresh offering of catchy and aggressive songs. Stray From the Path have tackled issues of racism, hatred and other social issues at various times across their career, but with this record, the band deliver the pissed off political record that people want and need in this day and age. (Sumerian)