Stick To Your Guns
It’s not often that a band can write a political record, sample a philosopher and revolutionary like Jiddu Krishnamurti, rewrite the classic motto of the Bad Brains, and still come out with a genre-bending album that doesn’t feel overworked, cluttered, or forced. But then again, not all bands are Stick To Your Guns. The Orange County melodic-hardcore quintet’s fifth studio album Disobedient goes against all expectations and conventions for an ideal album yet it couldn’t have come together more perfectly.
For shockingly being produced by John Feldmann (Black Veil Brides, 5 Seconds of Summer), Stick To Your Guns is one hell of a heavy record. From the catchy genre-bending tracks that blend ’80s hardcore riffs with pop punk vocals (“Nothing You Can Do To Me” ) to strategically placed beat down breakdowns (“I Choose No One”) to anchor tracks that hold a twinge of arena ballad rock behind them (“Left You Behind”), Stick To Your Guns prove that there is much more to them than the surface level of post-hardcore clichés and captivating hooks.
Disobedient features a multitude of sampling from public speakers like Krishnamurti, but the real gems on this record are how vocalist Jesse Barnett’s own words start to mix with the themes of the ones sampled. Edged over by the biting lyricism and direct messages Stick To Your Guns is sending, listeners are easily captivated by lines like “Use the pain/let it be the force/ that drives you/every day” (“The War Inside”) or “We can’t escape the voices in our head that break us down” (“The Crown”).
These lyrical themes are carried over throughout the entire record making it sound like one cohesive work rather than 11 small efforts. While the group is capable of pumping out singles like “Nobody” whose jiving bass riffs really round out the album, it’s songs like “RMA (Revolutionary Mental Attitude)” which hold direct nods to their predecessors (and obvious influences) that make the album such an unexpected surprise. Not only is this under-two-minute thrasher a play on the Bad Brains’ slogan of PMA (“Positive Mental Attitude”), but it is also recreating an outward activist message that the modern day hardcore scene hasn’t really heard in a while.
Though it has jarring moments, such as when “Left You Behind” comes in as more of a slow buffer to the rest of the album or the slightly overly produced whispery echoes used on the interlude “Disobedient,” it all gives off that unrefined and raw feeling of youth in revolt fighting for a cause. It’s grimy, it’s fast, it’s in your face, and it is a real modern twist on a throwback style. (Natasha Van Duser)