Stray From The Path – Euthanasia
Released: September 9th, 2022
Andrew ‘Drew York’ Dijorio // Vocals
Thomas Williams // Guitar
Anthony Altamura // Bass
Craig Reynolds // Drums
For over two decades now, New York hardcore act Stray From The Path have brought different political and social issues to the surface through their platform. Now with their eleventh studio release, the band emerge, post-pandemic fuelled by new frustrations, emotions and ideas to bring us Euthanasia. Will this release further project this band on their upwards trajectory while achieving their goal of maintaining awareness of social-political issues? Let’s have a look.
The album kicks off with ‘Needful Things’ and I’m instantly reminded why Stray From The Path are leaders within their genre. Drummer Craig Reynolds leads the charge with a tight drum fill which gives his cymbals a workout while guitars chug in the foreground. Vocalist Drew York gives his input and his voice is fuelled by anger. Repeating the lyrics “Are you in or in the way?”. Taking the track out is one of the best breakdowns I have heard all year, I dare you to listen to it while sitting still… impossible! Guitarist Thomas Williams shreds a tight riff that takes us into ‘May You Live Forever’. Giving off an early Limp Bizkit feel, this track shows off this class act’s diversity. Maintaining his position at the core of the track, Williams doesn’t hold back and riffs through the entire song, particularly throughout the technically proficient breakdown where Drew repeats “No peace for my enemies/We can do the dance all night/Outcast kids running wild in the moonlight”.
The recent single ‘III’ begins with a children’s singalong of ‘join the police’ with intermittent gunshots filtering through, targeting the corruption of the NYPD and its overfunding, with a lack of positive results. Wall of Sound writer Ricky Aarons made comment that this track takes strong influence from Rage Against The Machine and I couldn’t agree more. Low-tuned beefy guitars come into play while vocalist Drew spits venom into the mic, firing shots in the direction of the NYPD with lyrics such as “Servants of the 187/Send another victim to heaven/Servants of the 187/A bandage and a bullet is a deadly weapon” and “Kill, kill without question/You refuse to learn your lesson/Kill, kill because you can/But now you better fucking pray you got a body cam.”
The first single to be released from this record, ‘Guillotine’ takes aim at the corruption of the wealthy who run our society, benefitting from exploiting the middle class. Groove-orientated chuggy guitars draw me in as York aggressively yells wild with his vocals as he so passionately does, and he doesn’t hold back in any regard. “We tried it your way and it’s broken/It’s over, the people have spoken/The desperate won’t stay desperate forever” emulates the track’s true meaning perfectly. Surprising me with a baseline that holds me on the edge of my seat thanks to bassist Anthony Altamura, ‘Chest Candy’ turns the tempo right up. The group uses this opportunity to bring to light how the military corrupts the minds of young people, particularly with lyrics such as “They said be all you can be/Just sign your name and die for me/Let’s see what colours you can bleed from the field to the infirmary”. Inclusive in this impressively written song is a fun two-step riff and drum fills that don’t fail to blow my mind, Reynolds must have broken multiple cymbals when recording this album as he can’t hold back from smashing them regularly.
The most recent single to be released ‘Bread & Roses’ changes the pace of the album, the hard-hitting instrumentals take a backseat while the focus is directed towards the lyrics in a fashion that is not typical for a Stray From The Path release, and for good reason, guest vocalist Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns chimes in with his clean vocals and adds a perfectly blended dynamic that works well for this song in particular. Barnett’s cleans will serve as a perfect sing-along moment at live performances in the future. Taking the record back to SFTP‘s usual tempo, ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ is where Drew takes the opportunity to list individuals and traits that he finds distasteful, a few direct examples of this from the track are Mark Zuckerberg, Rudy Giuliani, Jesus and climate change deniers. The groove-driven riffs slow down for the chorus before picking back up for each verse. It’s not particularly a stand-out track but it deserves your attention nonetheless.
‘The Salt In Your Spit’ strikes me as a typical ‘run of the mill’ Stray From The Path song as it holds all of the typical elements. An ambient sound playing behind the instrumentals is a welcomed touch throughout the chorus. An impressive mosh-inducing breakdown, filled with pinch harmonics takes this track out to completion. Maintaining that high tempo of the previous track, ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ focuses on pointing out the evils of racism and those who defend it, blatantly or micro-aggressively. The aggression behind Drew’s vocals slowly builds throughout the duration of the track, coming to a tipping point at the breakdown with lyrics “They gave all you motherf*ckers a name tag, so now I want to see blood on the white flag” and “This is not a safe space/We never forget a face”, leaving a strong impression of the message as the chugs of the breakdown see’s the song until the end. Final track ‘Ladder Work’ is the album’s longest offering, standing at just over six and a half minutes. This one caught me off guard. Rather than leaving us with a generic track to finish off the record, the band decided to throw a spanner in the works and really stretch their sound completely while managing to stay true to their roots. Vein.fm‘s Benno Levine features on this one, adding his DJ influences into the fold, which surprisingly slots in perfectly. A heavy instrumental section toward the song’s outro takes this album to completion and the journey is over.
Stray From The Path are much more than a hardcore band that writes angry music about different issues, they are leaders in this genre, setting the pace for those following their path. This band is now eleven studio releases into their career and they aren’t even close to losing their touch.
Stray From The Path – Euthanasia track listing:
1. Needful Things
2. May You Live Forever
5. Chest Candy
6. Bread and Roses (Ft. Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns)
7. Law Abiding Citizen
8. The Salt In Your Spit
9. Neighbourhood Watch
10. Ladder Work
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