Artist: Straight Opposition
Title: Path of Separation
Release: CD / Digital
Label: Time To Kill Records
Upon originally disbanding four years ago, Straight Opposition was probably one of the most hardworking bands to come out of the Italian peninsula since their formation in the town of Pescara in 2004. Blending themes of scene unity with progressive politics, the band had something for all types of hardcore crowds. This was most evident in their explosive live sets, playing over 500 gigs from small squat shows to opening for the biggest household names in larger concert halls. I also have fond memories of seeing the band quite a few times in the past, and five years since their last release Straight Opposition (now relocated to Belgium) have brought forth another fabulous creation full of soul and boundless hardcore energy.
In Path of Separation, Straight Opposition are taking the foundations of both the classic NYHC sound and the ‘90s Italian hardcore of bands like Strength Approach, and forge it all into a rugged and indestructible piece of armor. The album is a genuine banger—fast and aggressive thrash metal riffing, bone-crushing breakdowns and infernal ‘Holy Terror’-styled vocals. Steering away from the usual hardcore sound however, Straight Opposition also dare to incorporate lots of groove and alternative rock elements into their music—plus some atypical clean vocals for a hardcore band—and they do so as they push forward meaningful social commentaries in songs like “(She’s Still) Pro Choice”, “The Next Revolution” (I wonder if that one was inspired by Murray Bookchin’s book of the same name?), “Persona”, or the title track “The Path of Separation”.
Path of Separation shows a new sense of maturity and depth for Straight Opposition both musically and lyrically. At 13 tracks written during the pandemic, Path of Separation is almost equal parts introspective and universal in its message, approached with a relentless pace and dizzying array of metallic riffs and contrasting vocal patterns. To tell the truth, I’ve never paid close attention to Straight Opposition on their old recordings as they’ve never received the vinyl treatment, but based on my observation from live shows and a few spins of their songs online, I’ve always somehow compared the band to Raised Fist from Sweden. Just like their Northern counterparts, Straight Opposition are incorporating elements of external music genres like prog-rock, alt-rock or nu-metal while still holding on to their hardcore punk roots. It might sound odd at times and I’m usually not the biggest fan of such influences in DIY punk, but if you care about European hardcore, you’ll be more than satisfied with the diversity and passion these veterans bring to the table.
Path of Separation was released by Time To Kill Records in March 2022. Unfortunately, they are still keeping the tradition of releasing Straight Opposition only on CD.