Off the cuff of Stray From the Path's release of Only Death is Real, the New-Yorkers set off on a massive tour of Europe, stopping off in Birmingham to unleash chaos on the second city.
Photo Credit : Oliver Hardingham
Opening the show were one of UK hardcore's brightest talents, Renounced [7.5]. Playing to the show's early dwellers, the band played with sheer aggression and tenacity, gaining them a very positive reception. Incorporating tracks such as 'As Delicate as Moths Wings' and 'How Heavy The Downpour', Renounced's set showcased some of the heaviest riffs and vocals of the evening.
Next to take the stage were the last minute addition of Obey The Brave , who's fusion of hardcore/metal went down a storm with the crowd. The Ontario outfit packed tonnes of energy into their set, with crushing verses courtesy of vocalist Alex Erian (also of Despised Icon) that were fused with severely catchy melodies and choruses. Although tracks such as 'Drama' and 'Mad Season' come across in an overtly cheesy fashion with their frequent use of 'woah-oh' chants, they certainly got the crowd bouncing and singing along. Ending their set with
'Raise Your Voice' demonstrated the bands position as a fundamental band in the Canadian hardcore scene who have a very promising future in front of them.
The final support came in the shape of California's Capsize , whose post-hardcore onslaught, didn't seem to flow with the precedent of the night's proceedings. Many members of the crowd were left looking quite confused, with one individual claiming 'I didn't realise UnderOATH were supporting!?'. Opening with 'XX (Sew My Eyes)', into 'Cold Shoulder' the band certainly gave the audience a lesson in aggression, but the often faulting vocals meshed with frantic guitars just didn't seem to flow on this occasion.
After a quick set change-over, New York's Stray From the Path  graced the stage of Mama Roux's. Opening with the 90 second long 'The Opening Move', the bar was raised from the get-go, with eager stage divers already launching themselves into the crowd. Vocalist Drew York had the packed out crowd eating out the palm of his hand, and screaming along to every verse and chorus that came out of his mouth. What is refreshing about Stray is how brutally honest and matter-of-fact they are in relation to 2017's societal woes. Incorporating 'D.I.E.P.I.G' and 'Badge & A Bullet pt. II' into their setlist was a great example of the band's skill of being outspoken critics of problems within the music scene, as well as wider problems associated with police brutality and marginalised oppression.
Before delving into 'Goodnight Alt-Right', Drew York took time out to state that racism, sexism, homophobia and bigotry were not welcome at any Stray show, which is a message that should be preached by every band in the hardcore/metal scene, but sadly isn't. After the speech, chaos ensued with moshing breaking out all over Mama Roux's and the loudest chant of 'NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF' bellowing across the venue. It is clear that Stray are one of the most unrivalled talents in the hardcore realm of music, and will continue to spread their hurricane of vivacity and ferociousness in every city that they touch.
Photo Credit : Oliver Hardingham