August 30, 2011 - Sumerian
Stray From The Path’s latest album offers no stylistic breakthroughs or weird left turns—and that’s a good thing. Anybody who enjoyed 2009’s Make Your Own History will like Rising Sun a lot, as all the crucial elements of their sound remain in place. Vocalist Drew York screams with a ferocious intensity somewhere between Converge’s Jake Bannon and Rage Against The Machine’s Zack De La Rocha, and occasional background vocals by the rest of the band add a Fugazi-esque edge to a few songs. Guitarist Tom Williams carves out riffs that superimpose a dissonant, math-rock jaggedness on the chugging roar of hardcore, never soloing but never consenting to just chunk out rote riffs, either. Meanwhile, the rhythm section of bassist Anthony Altamura and drummer Dan Bourke rumble and crash, driving the music forward with a headlong fervor that sends each song straight through the listener’s forehead like a Lawn Dart. Samples from interviews and sermons accent “iMember” and “Prey,” which find the band highly critical of the music scene, religion and society at large. Rising Sun is a fierce, assaultive album with relatively few conventional breakdowns, proving that hardcore bands can get the pit going without settling for clichéd displays of machismo that were burned out by the mid-’90s.