Stick To Your Guns – “Diamond”

Stick To Your Guns – “Diamond” (Sumerian Records)

‘…I wait for the day we can stop trying to figure each other out, and just start to understand..’. Stick To Your Guns Jesse Barnett seems more like a visionary than a vocalist, and whose band is more than a musical medium but one from which to project his viewpoints – and he has many from social justice to sexism to homophobia to organized religion to name but a few! Originating from Orange County, which had a big straight edge following back in the 80s, STYG have built up their burgeoning reputation thru relentless grass roots touring and passionate performances, as well as playing memorial shows for deceased fans, working with women’s shelters and supporting the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It’s all been done before especially when I think of pure punk bands like Propagandhi, but Barnett’s drive to enlighten has taken him to the heart of the Bible Belt to conquer intolerance thru a ‘…voice of acceptance, not a voice of repentance…’ i.e. not by crusading against it, but compassionately appealing to the humanity that it preaches but sadly does not seem to practice. It is an admirable stance which I can empathize with, along with challenging the introspectives of the hardcore scene of not accepting what is, or trying to get by but seeking to live an actual life. But what me makes me a true believer is that the music of Stick To Your Guns is no less poignant and moreover, amazingly powerful where Barnett’s hoarse voice is driven by his fueled emotions, with aggressive, heavy guitar work and the unbridled anger of the pummeling drum work completing the mix on songs like ‘Such Pain’, ‘Empty Heads’ and ‘Life In A Box’. Finished off by ‘Wailing Wall’ singalong choruses, intelligent samples from Jiddu Krishnamurti and just the right amount of emo melody in the right place, “Diamond” is exactly what is sez and the most well rounded hardcore album I’ve heard in a long, long time.

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