Sound — 8
We live in a day and age where carbon copies are made frequent in the music industry, but where does that line begin to cross a bit too much? Fellow Long Islanders Stray From The Path are not afraid of where their influences come from, whether that's a classic hardcore band like Terror, or the rap metallers Rage Against The Machine. They honestly don't care, and it's what makes me support them. Guitar Nazis can claim that these guys are a RATM tribute band all they want, but in the end, did they ever rip them off? The answer is no, they have their own style. In on guitars, Thomas Williams delivers once again on every single track, whether that's using neat wah pedal moments in "Badge & a Bullet," or simply just using a pedal for that nervous sound in "Landmines," he really is just being himself and coming up with some neat riffs, and that's what I really like about him. Drew York is full of moments, whether that's using his signature sound of "bleghs" or just simply rapping with an aggressive sound. Dan Bourke is of course a bit unnoticed, as their drummer but he delivers, as Anthony Altamura is as well as their bassist, but he delivers as well, especially as a backing vocalist.
Lyrics — 6
Lyrically speaking and comparing the lyrics from this album to their past albums I have to say I wasn't too impressed, but there are moments on here that I do enjoy. From the opening track "False Flag" to the Jesse Barnett featured "Radio," there are some greats. "False Flag" opens up the album on a great note, as one of my favorite tracks:
"F E A R you listening?
Red White and Blue won't look out for you.
F E A R you listening?
Land of the free? where is our liberty?"
I love when Stray writes political lyrics, but "Radio" explores a little bit, from Jesse raging to Drew doing what he does best, you can tell this is a great team up. But my favorite line was the last one where Jesse comes in while I believe Drew and Anthony come in repeating as gang vocals: "You think your life's a hit song, No one is singing along."
Overall Impression — 8
All in all, this band has what it takes to survive in the hardcore/metalcore scene, but I just have a few gripes, and of course some Stray fans reading this might think it's offensive because honestly, I wasn't feeling a few tracks, most notably "Counting Sheep," and at some points "Black Friday," and "Tell Them I'm Not Home" just didn't do it for me. I enjoyed the tapping in "Black Friday," and the message was most certainly notable, but at the same time, it seemed a bit stale. Just something about it wasn't hitting me. The lyrics are great, but the song itself wasn't doing it for me. "Counting Sheep" was just all about talking about someone using hashtags on a photo for attention, which in this day and age is common, but it just doesn't seem like a noteworthy topic to discuss. "Scissor Hands" sonically is another one of my favorites. Jason Aalon Butler nails his parts, and "Badge & a Bullet" has to be this album's main anthem, as it's the most catchy, heaviest, and honestly one of the songs that will hit hard in concert. Stray will keep doing what they do while some will complain, I will support them until the end of time no matter what.