Music Review – Stray From the Path’s Only Death is Real

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Say what you will about the current political situation, it does make for some damn fine music.

Stray From the Path’s Only Death is Real is a relentless attack against the present U.S. administration, and its supporters, from start to finish. SFTP have made brutal, confrontational political music before, but not to this degree.

Only Death wastes no time in engaging the listener and demanding them to pick a side. “You with us or the enemy?” in ‘The Opening Move’. This polarisation is characteristic of the album as a whole. Every song shoves SFTP’s political views down your throat, leaving you no room to breathe. It sounds great if you agree with them. If you don’t… Well, you probably won’t listen to this album for long.

Musically, SFTP have not changed much. Rage Against the Machine influenced riffs, punishing breakdowns that make you yearn for a moshpit, vocals that are more rapped than sung. The first couple of songs on Only Death sound very exciting. But then they tend to bleed into each other. The only standout tracks are ‘Goodnight Alt-Right’, ‘The House Always Wins’ and ‘Only Death is Real’.

There are some gems in the long-running stream of vitriol though. The opening of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ for one: “Everything has its price, but the price is wrong bitch.” SFTP do have a knack for creating killer opening lines. Lines that you can’t help but belt out as loud as you can wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. I also love the breakdown in ‘Plead the Fifth’, with the lyrics “Welcome to the melting pot motherfucker. If you don’t like it, then get the fuck out.” And, of course, Keith Buckley kills it in ‘Strange Fiction’.

Only Death is a good album overall. However, it doesn’t have the same replay value as SFTP’s previous couple of albums. It’s too specifically political and has too little innovation.

Rating: 7/10

Recommended for fans of Rage Against the Machine, Hatebreed, Stick To Your Guns etc.

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New Converge EP – ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’

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Yesterday I got a casual little e-mail from Spotify: “New single from Converge now available.”

WHAT?

It’s been five years since their last release (excluding live albums and re-workings) and with no warning this bomb gets dropped on us.

The single is called ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ and along with another track, ‘Eve’, it was released on an EP. The beginning of ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ is pretty standard Converge, in so far as there is anything standard about Converge: fast, brutal and angry. Then it lurches into another direction with “I just need to leave, just need to find my way out”. Oh, these lyrics. They hit deep.

When you’re already convinced that this is another great Converge song, it ends with an epic, annihilating breakdown. The second half of this song is really what takes it to the next level.

I have been listening to it over and over and over this afternoon. ‘About Pain’ has a rawness reminiscent of You Fail Me, one of my favourite Converge albums. The rawness is what makes it so disturbingly relatable.

As for ‘Eve’… I have no words.

Just listen to it. With decent headphones.

It’s a fairly long song at 7 ½ minutes, but keeps you captivated throughout. When I was listening to ‘Eve’, with my headphones on and eyes closed, I drifted off to another world. Especially at the beginning, I felt like I was in The North in Westeros or some post-apocalyptic wasteland or something. I have also been listening to ‘Eve’ repeatedly this afternoon, after I recovered from ‘About Pain’.

This EP only has the two songs, but strangely it’s all you need from Converge. Both of the songs showcase the best of them. ‘About Pain’ features their fast-paced, angry side and ‘Eve’ their more contemplative, experimental side. While they’re very different songs, they’re equally intense. No punches are pulled.

I do hope this means that they have a new album coming up though…

‘Core Classics – ‘Shadow Moses’ by Bring Me The Horizon

I was at my mom’s house the other week and listened to some old cd’s, as I usually do. One of the cd’s that I listened to was Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal. It floored me all over again, particularly the song ‘Shadow Moses’. I had to write about its greatness somewhere, so here we are.

Is it really four years ago that ‘Shadow Moses’ was released? It seems like just yesterday that it popped up in my Youtube feed and blew my mind. I thought it was one of the most epic, relatable songs I had ever heard. From the slow beginning with the group vocals to the fantastic breakdowns and the nihilistic lyrics; I was in love. I played this video so much when it just came out. I still think it’s an unrivalled song within the genre, like a lot of BMTH’s work.

All together now: THIS IS SEMPITERNAL.

Music Review – Motionless In White’s Graveyard Shift

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I have a love/hate relationship with Motionless In White. I adore a lot of what they do, but there is also a lot in which they just miss the mark. It also irks me how often they cover the same sort of subjects in the same sort of language. Always people making them fucking sick, fuck this and fuck that. Gets boring. I hadn’t been following their new music for this reason.

Then I watched Black Friday’s interview with Chris Motionless and my interest was piqued again. I followed the link she gave for MIW’s newest video, for a song called ‘LOUD (Fuck It)’, despite the same boring, over-used word in the title.

I was blown away. It was so fun, catchy and intelligent. Also confrontational, but in a subtle, interesting way. It reminded me of ‘Everybody Sells Cocaine’, a lovely little gem from their previous album, and made me excited about their music again.

Last Friday they released a new album, Graveyard Shift. With Graveyard Shift they further refined the spooky industrial metal sound they developed on Reincarnate. At the same time, they took the best of their early metalcore sound, mixed in some more Manson influences and lightened up a bit. They generally sound more melodic, though they can’t resist a good breakdown. The transitions between the melodic and heavier parts are super smooth too. Such an improvement over their earlier music.

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The same sort of subjects I mentioned in the beginning? Those are either gone or packaged in a more interesting way. Lyrically, and musically as well, Graveyard Shift is a lot more diverse than their previous work. There is a cringey line or two, but those are well compensated musically. I’ve already mentioned the fantastic ‘LOUD (Fuck It)’, which is by far my favourite song on the album. Other highlights are ‘Rats’, ‘Eternally Yours’, ‘Voices’ and ‘Untouchable’.

‘Eternally Yours’ is their best song about love until now. The songwriting is great and the imagery Gothic and lovely. Is there anything more darkly romantic than “I’m more than willing to rot in hell with you”? In ‘570’ there is the old defiance, though there is also pride of how far one has come and the recognition of flaws in oneself. ‘570’ has really been growing on me. It’s reminiscent of Parkway Drive’s ‘Dedicated’, which I love. Like Parkway, MIW seem to be moving more towards the ‘metal’ side of metalcore. On the unapologetically heavy ‘The Ladder’ MIW sound more metal than ever before. Then there’s the ridiculous horrorpunky fun of ‘Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2’, which is a lot more experimental and risky than the original ‘Dead as Fuck’. A lot on this album is more experimental and risky than their previous work.

Graveyard Shift is definitely MIW’s best effort so far. It’s the first album of theirs that I can listen to all the way through, without skipping (or wanting to skip) songs. Not to say that all the songs are flawless; just that the weaker ones have something good to compensate for those flaws.

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that MIW are good at what they do.

Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended for fans of Marilyn Manson, Bleeding Through, Parkway Drive, Murderdolls, Deathstars etc.

‘Core Classics – ‘The City’ by The Chariot

Lately I’ve been listening to The Chariot again. I hadn’t listened to them in ages, but when I was editing I got the urge again.

The Chariot never gets old. Every time I listen to them, their music grips me as much as the first time in 2011. It still sounds fresh and exciting.

I could go on about all their work, but the song that I’ve had on repeat is ‘The City’. Six years and it still gives me the chills, every time. When Josh Scogin screams “This is a revolution”, it goes straight through my soul. There is so much that I could feel I could say about this song, but I’ll leave you to listen and experience it yourself.

Lyrics:
This is only the start
You’re only opening the book
You’re only on the first line of what’s going to take a little while
I hope you don’t hold your breath because they revolt like a choir
They say the language is dead, well, then why do we speak
I hope you understand that my brain is fixed

Into the next town
This is only a revolt

Enough is enough because we cannot be late
Basically, you’ve been defined as “unworthy of love”
And I confess, I had placed in my heart the same address but I paint with my words
“You’re free, don’t fear, this is just a revolt”

Into the next town
This is only a revolt

Calm rose: violent wind
The only “surrender” tonight, shall not be our own
They cannot escape, one if by land, two if by sea
I saved my money, but it can’t save me
And maybe there is blood from the past, but that is not from me
They can take away one man, and they can take away his mic
But they cannot take us all
No, they can’t dig a hole the right size to fit all of our dreams
They can’t bury me, they can’t bury me
We can’t hope that somebody else take our place
No, we can’t hope that somebody else take our place

May the history book read of all of our names
Be it blood, be it ink, but at least we were free
This is only but a fraction of what I’ve got to say
But it must be said, it must be said
If I leave this earth tonight may it be said that I spoke my peace
I spoke with the wrath of his grace
Calm rose: come violent wind
Oh we stand hand in hand and we walk without fear
This is a revolution