Stray From The Path - Make Your Own History
Record Label: Sumerian Records
Release Date: October 26, 2009
First thing's first: it's getting harder to impress me if you're a hardcore/metal band. The reason for that is all the generic, fake scenecore (Asking Alexandria, I See Stars, you get the idea) plaguing music these days. Original, honest hardcore is becoming more scarce today... unless you've heard of a little group of gentlemen named Stray From The Path from Long Island, New York. This band epitomizes the spirit of old school hardcore, yet can be technical and complex all at once. The result is an unbelievably angry and cathartic mix of noise and sound. Their previous record, Villains, went regrettably unnoticed while appealing to a lot of angry hardcore kids. However, their latest release, Make Your Own History, really broke ground and got them noticed.
The creeping opener, "Lucid Dreaming," with its gang chanted vocal intro could almost give off the impression of just another "HXC!!" band, but that's only until Drew York's Zach de la Rocha-esque vocals, rolling drums, and almost mechanical guitars break in. The song plays out like an intro which leads to the following bruiser, "Manipulator." This song is where the album kicks it up a notch and launches into a frenzy of throat shredding vocals and insane instrumentals. The cynical hooks laid throughout ("If misery loves company, you can find me in a crowded room") show that these boys have something important to say. It also has one of my favorite breakdowns ever ("F*ck my life!!!"). The next song, "Negative and Violent," follows suit with blazing guitar lines and York's lyrics preaching against people who have nothing but bad things to say, which seems slightly ironic considering their whole ethos. It's a very sobering listen.
The pummeling gems keep coming with "Damien" and "Fradulent." The former is an older hardcore sounding thrasher that is a violent bash against ignorance and the latter is a shot at fake scenesters. And therein lies the whole aura of this album; these boys sound extremely mad but the overall theme of this record is not just being angry for the sake of being angry. Make Your Own History teaches exactly what it's title says: think for yourself, don't let anyone else control you, and leave behind your own legacy. It also makes a very nice social commentary on society ("The Things You Own End Up Owning You"), people who hold you down, ("Black Anchor"), and undying loyalty ("Comrades"). It's evident that the seering vocals, spikey guitars, and spastic drumming, while highly impressive, take a backseat to their message. However, that isn't a bad thing. It's rare to find a band like this these days.
The crushing title track closer leaves the listener with a good taste in their mouth and wanting more, ending with a disjointed breakdown and the repeating of the lyrics "Make your own history! Leave behind your legacy!" It's clear that these guys are begging - scratch that - demanding you to listen to their philosophy and take what they're telling you into consideration (much like Rage Against The Machine did back then, who likely had a major impact on STFP). Hands down, this album is one of the most straight forward and brutally honest albums around right now. It transcends into more than just heavy music, it challenges the listener to go against conformity and the scene. In closing, STFP is hardcore's version of a radical thinker. God speed, fellows!