Let’s not be coy – Stray from the Path has never been a band to shy away from the occasional Rage Against the Machine comparison, especially after the breakout experience following the release and subsequent touring off of Make Your Own History. However, as the band has progressed musically and gained a bit more attention as a bright spot in the hardcore scene, they’ve slowly taken on more of the Rage persona – be it by being outspoken about issues in the scene or the world or by just taking bits of the classic Rage sound into account on their riffs.
With the viral marketing hyping up their newest outing Anonymous, the band’s release of a new track this week, aptly named “Badge & A Bullet,” marks perhaps the closest they have gotten to fully embracing the Rage sound. “Badge” features grimy but funky guitars and a mid-tempo introduction with Drew York’s signature shout. The problem is, the song seems a bit too focused on a tried and true formula rather than being the generally rule-breaking, fiery band Stray has personified over the last couple albums. Sure, the song is about disliking the law and all that good stuff, but it feels pretty safe and not all that memorable compared to even the less meaty moments of 2011’s Rising Sun. Though not terrible in any sense, there’s at least a sense of disappointment from this Stray fan that this song doesn’t deliver the usual spark you’d get from the band.
Perhaps it will make a bit more sense in the scope of an entire album, but on its own, “Badge & A Bullet” just doesn’t pack the punch you’d hope to have from a Stray from the Path song. Hopefully this isn’t a foreshadowing of what we’ll hear on Anonymous.