Review Summary: Stray From The Path make good on their promises, but fail to make an impact.
Riding on the success of their most recent full-length Subliminal Criminals
, Long Island’s Stray From The Path continue their political firestorm with their follow up LP Only Death Is Real
. Vocalist Drew York is still brimming with vitriol, yet a bulk of his lyrics tends to come across as slack and tiresome. While lines like “You just got knocked the *** out”
and “Everything has its price, but the price is wrong, bitch”
tonally suit the album’s flavour and context, it’s hard not to feel like it detracts from the overall message when this sort of language is commonplace.
A selection of guest vocalists add some much welcomed variance, but oddly enough are all positioned at the album’s tail end, causing the records second half to end up being far memorable than its first. Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley tears through ‘Strange Fiction’, his lyrics providing a much needed sense of imagery and storytelling that it’s hard not to classify it as a more fleshed out song as a whole, and even Vinnie Paz lends some diversity to the penultimate ‘The House Always Wins’.
It’s this peculiar imbalance that makes Only Death Is Real
a bit of a lopsided listen. Majority of the albums openers are adequate, but pale in comparison even to the inherently repetitive yet catchy ‘All Day & A Night’, which questions the project’s length. Could this have performed better as an EP? Musically it doesn’t tread much new ground, and Drew York could certainly strive to be a little more articulate, but Only Death Is Real
proves for a fun listen at the least, and thankfully one that has a voice.
It’s imbued with an admirable sincerity, and York’s fiery vocals scream the glory days of hardcore, however there’s a part of me that believes Stray From The Path could lift their game to eventually release a really special record. While Only Death Is Real
is angry, political and spits mad venom, it falls shy of making an exemplary statement. But then again, in the words of Drew York, “don’t hate the player, hate the game”
Dre’s Top Three:
Loudest In The Room
All Day & A Night