Review Summary: I am Jack's complete lack of contentment.
I've always kind of facetiously described Stray from the Path to people as a metalcore band who formed from the seditious ideologies of Fight Club's Tyler Durden. Whether it's the anti-materialistic preaching on Make Your Own History
's "Nigeria" and Anonymous
' "Black Friday," or the sociopolitical call-to-arms on just about every other song they've written, you really don't need to look far into their lyrics to find evidence of a band delivering Durden's words, only with a little more vocal aggression, and a little more chugging. Yet after two albums since MYOH
, which was undoubtedly the band's highlight, the question isn't whether we should care about their message anymore -- and it's as fiery as ever -- but rather whether we should care about a band whose sound is as unchanging as their views, when they have hardly anything new to say.
Because the problem with Anonymous
is not that it's the work of a talentless band -- if anything the band's sound is as refined as its ever been -- it's simply that Stray From the Path have vocalized their painfully consistent message over the course of three albums now, and their songwriting just hasn't kept up the same overall quality and ingenuity as it did back in 2009 on MYOH
. The singles "False Flag" and "Badge & Bullet" are simultaneously both as generic sounding as the band has ever been, while also validating pretty much any and every Rage Against The Machine comparison you could make of Drew's vocals. Furthermore, whereas MYOH
had cleverly biting lyrics such as "negative and violent, we're all so important," Anonymous
leaves us with overly repetitious phrases like "pull the pin on the f***** grenade!" that are as nonsensical as they are abundant.
However, this isn't to say Anonymous
doesn't have its moments of greatness here and there. Track "Scissor Hands" features Jason Butler of post-hardcore band Letlive., and his higher range weaving in between Drew York's growls and signature "blehs" add a viciously entertaining touch. Furthermore, tracks "Slice of Life" and "Radio" are relentless, with saw-blade guitar work and driving rhythms, displaying everything Stray From the Path do so well when they give themselves a little room to breathe.
But the problem is that there simply aren't enough tracks that work this way on the album, and it's unfortunate because the Brooklyn natives clearly have it in them to release another record at the very least as exciting and refreshing to the genre as MYOH
was in 2009.