Thursday, 27 July 2017
Stick To Your Guns

Album Review: STICK TO YOUR GUNS – Better Ash Than Dust

Stick To Your Guns have found the perfect mix of hardcore brutality and punchy melody, and they embrace it even further on the Better Ash Than Dust EP. This one should appeal to fans of old hardcore, new hardcore, and metalcore all at once.

Stick To Your Guns have been one of the hardcore scene’s darlings from near the very beginning. Even after introducing clean vocals and big, hooky choruses on 2012’s Diamond (and most recent full-length, 2015’s Disobedient), the band has maintained their position as one of the genre’s go-to acts, and for good reason. Few bands do blistering skate-punk style hardcore and radio-friendly chorus hooks and manage to excel at both. The band’s new 5-song EP Better Ash Than Dust is more of the same, but it’s also an extremely strong collection of songs.

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Artist: Stick To Your Guns
Album Title: Better Ash Than Dust
Release Date: 23 September 2016
Label: Pure Noise Records
[list style=”music”] [li]Better Ash Than Dust[/li] [li]Universal Language[/li] [li]No Tolerance[/li] [li]The Never Ending Story[/li] [li]The Suspend[/li] [/list]
[/column] [/columns]

Leadoff title track “Better Ash Than Dust” wastes no time starting slow (although not light, by any means) and measured, gradually building to a verse dominated by a memorable off-rhythm drum fill and a downright mean power violence riff. This borders on beat down territory, but gives way suddenly to a gorgeous, and insanely catchy chorus (the first time through even drops down to almost acapella for a couple measures and could briefly pass as Coldplay). The fury of the verses and huge fist-pumping chorus contrast wonderfully and still feel like cohesive parts of the same song. Single “Universal Language” lays down a galloping hardcore riff (even the bass gets a fun run here), and culminates in another gargantuan chorus (and a sludgy breakdown sure to open up some frightening pits). “Better Ash Than Dust” and “Universal Language” are the two best melodic choruses STYG have ever done, and alone make this EP worth picking up.

No Tolerance” is a throwback old-school hardcore song. It’s been done a million times, but it still sounds like one hell of a circle pit, never once slowing down or even approaching melodic It doesn’t do much to stand out, but as far as filler goes this is very enjoyable filler. “The Never Ending Story” starts with a prominent bass lead that sadly gets abandoned by the start of the verse, traded in for another competent classic hardcore riff. The chorus is brief, but it’s another earworm; STYG go 3-for-3 on the sing-alongs here. Closing track “The Suspend” feels like a tribute to frequent tourmates like Being As An Ocean, falling entirely into the Melodic Hardcore mold. The semi-spoken/semi-screamed vocals and atmospheric, dark, and ultimately heavy musical accompaniment are all standard issue, but once again they do it really well, instantly mastering a style somewhat outside their usual sound. The guitars are perfectly suited, delivering a hazy, haunting tone reminiscent of Thrice, and frontman Jesse Barnett aces his performance as well.

Stick To Your Guns have found the perfect mix of hardcore brutality and punchy melody, and they embrace it even further on the Better Ash Than Dust EP. This one should appeal to fans of old hardcore, new hardcore, and metalcore all at once.

About Randy Shatkowski

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