Best Tour On Earth Counterparts Stray From The Path, Varials, Chamber, Granite State
Stray From the Path
“The king equals the elite, the queen equals the government, the bishop equals the church, the knight equals the military, the rook equals the police, and the pawn equals the people,” explains Thomas. “This was the first time the vision and the theme of the album came before the music. We had the artwork first. We wrote this during a pretty dark and reflective time in our lives. In an age where government has failed, they made us feel as small and as insignificant as ever. In this game, all of the attention is turned onto the people: white versus black, Democrat versus Republican, gay versus straight, or Trump versus no Trump. They know the fight is within the community. There can be no fight against the establishment.”
Nevertheless, STRAY FROM THE PATH continue a 16-year tradition of speaking out. This tradition has transformed the group into genre luminaries. Most recently, Rock Sound placed Subliminal Criminals at #17 on its coveted “Top 50 Releases of 2015” list, while its single “First World Problem Child” [feat. Sam Carter] racked up 721K Spotify streams and counting. In support of the record, they hit nearly every corner of the globe with the likes of Architects, The Amity Affliction, Beartooth, Stick To Your Guns, and more in addition to Warped Tour.
In 2017, the boys hit the studio for their fourth straight collaboration with producer Will Putney [The Acacia Strain, Body Count] and first with vocal producer Jesse Barnett. Recording with Craig behind the kit for the first time, they ignited a fresh spark.
“Since Craig joined, the vibe of our band has been electric,” Thomas continues. “Everyone has a brand new fire in them to push us to places we’ve never been. He’s added a chemistry on and off-stage that has changed us for the better, and we’re writing our best material to date because of it. Then, there’s Will. He’s basically a member at this point. He’s our tie breaker. He understands us better than anyone. Also, Jesse brought in something we haven’t had yet on a STRAY FROM THE PATH album.”
They introduced the record with the first single “Goodnight Alt-Right”. A full-blown aural assault, it goes straight for the jugular, confronting and courting controversy head-on.
“When Richard Spencer, a white supremacist, was punched on-camera a few months back, it was great to see that he and his hatred were not being tolerated,” he explains. “We were shocked to see that people were actually defending him though. They said he should have freedom of speech. They’re not wrong. People should be able to exercise free speech. Sometimes, the things you say come with consequences. There is enough hate, misery, and division in this country that we don’t need a televised white supremacist saying, ‘This country belongs to white people.’ Bottom line: if you preach hate, expect hate.”
Elsewhere on the record, Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die and The Damned Things brings pure rock fury to the rousing and rambunctious “Strange Fiction,” and the “insane voice” of Knocked Loose’s Bryan Garris adds another dimension and dynamic to “All Day & Night.” In a rare cameo appearance, hip-hop luminary Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks spits raw truth on “The House Always Wins” between a chaotic, combustible, and catchy hardcore onslaught.
“Vinnie might be the craziest feature we’ve ever had,” Thomas explains. “Jedi Mind Tricks, and Vinnie specifically, is one of the most politically aware and ferocious acts of our generation. I know he doesn’t collaborate much, so to have him do an entire verse was an incredible honor.”
Ultimately, only death is real comes at the right time.
“This is the world we live in,” Thomas leaves off. “It made a heavier and darker version of STRAY FROM THE PATH, and death is the only thing that’s certain.”
The Philadelphia, PA quintet—Travis Tabron [vocals], Mitchell Rogers [guitar], James Hohenwarter [guitar], Sean Rauchut [drums], and Mike Foley [bass]—augment an airtight assault of metallic unpredictability and hardcore spirit with poetic punchlines and lyrical storytelling that wouldn’t be out of place on a Kendrick Lamar verse. Maybe it’s the water in Philadelphia, but the same gritty streets that inspired everyone from Rocky Balboa to Meek Mill powered these five musicians. The group’s debut Failure Control EP yielded a string of fan favorites such as “Deadweather” and “Stigmata,” which both cracked 100K Spotify streams. They released the Absolution split EP with Vicious Embrace in 2016 and earned acclaim from Alternative Press, Revolver, Punktastic, and more. Varials approach heavy music from a different angle altogether on their full-length debut, Pain Again [Fearless Records]. This mindset expands the possibilities of “heavy” throughout 11 brash, bruising, and brilliant anthems, with the band taking a collective step forward. They collated ideas for what became Pain Again before entering the studio with producer Josh Schroeder [King 810] during early 2017. Booked for six weeks, they tracked everything in under two with Travis often impressively writing lyrics in the booth and on the spot. Ultimately, Varials tell the story in their own way, and it’s bound to make a big impact.