In the melodic hardcore world, Stick To Your Guns are one of the bands who use their name as a blueprint for their sound. Having developed an especially energetic and passionate subtly punk sound in the early 2000’s the band have forged a path ahead that many of their peers can’t seem to rival. And though the band don’t venture too far out of the Rise Against meets Incite sound they introduced on ‘Diamond’ with latest record ‘Disobedient’ this is a strong case of “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
Surely ‘Disobedient’s thrashy melodic sing-along punk will please any circle pit junkie but fans of the band’s previous works may find themselves surprised at how softly this record both begins and ends. Perhaps a credit to producer John Feldmann (The Used, We Came As Romans) STYG come off as a more dynamic band honed squarely in on making this record not only a reflection of the twisted violence that surrounds us in modern society but also a massive call-to-arms for the band’s fans. The album art does portray a comic book-esque masked vigilante embroidered with the band’s signature symbol triumphantly while being dragged away by authorities, perhaps representing the wrong imprisonment of those with good intentions. You can just picture in your head how riled-up crowds will chant “It Starts With Me” before fully welcoming in “What Choice Did You Give Us” rapid-fire nature.
In addition to the more prominent than ever melodicism and sung choruses in a song such as “Nobody” (complete with a tasty main bass lick), we are gifted with some truly ferocious pit anthems. “R.M.A. (Revolutionary Mental Attitude)” is the best example of that, coming in furiously with one of vocalist Jesse Barnett’s most wicked throat-searing yells and hardly letting up through one minute and thirty seconds of unadulterated charisma. Hole in the floor-inducing breakdowns help balance out the mostly punk stylings. “I Choose No One” (complete with a notable guest appearance of Scott Vogel from Terror) especially brings an unrivaled amount of fury while “Nothing You Can Do To Me” and “The Crown” could be two of the band’s most sing-along friendly cuts. “To Whom It May Concern” could be the most melodic song the band have ever done, complete with a somber clean bridge that reprises “It Starts With Me” and gives the record a sense of wholeness. “The War Inside” brings it all together nicely with one of the best riff sections on the album as well as one of the biggest choruses.
It would seem more than anything off the previous record ‘We Still Believe’s anthemic nature was a big influence on the direction of this record, as there isn’t one song that comes without some form of phrase that a crowd of fans could shout back. Due to this, ‘Disobedient’ feels bigger and more focused than ‘Diamond’ but no less meaningful. If anything this could be seen as the band’s most meaningful record and biggest step forward. The two records also go hand in hand in terms of vibe – ‘Disobedient’ can be seen as the second half of the angry nature from ‘Diamond’ but also brings back some fully positive ideas ala ‘The Hope Division’. Overall the record is confident and assertive, a perfect mix for the intensity of the record. The riff-fueled onslaught of rhythmic hardcore punk is suited well by the much-improved and coherently powerful shout-sing vocals which will be immediately familiar to any fan of the band.
True to its roots ‘Disobedient’ is a rather short, but intense burning fuse of a record – 30 minutes of riffy, inspiring songwriting awaits anyone who tries this record. And thanks to the slimmer run-time there’s very little risk in trying this record out. Half an hour is hardly enough time for a band to wear out their welcome which ensures that the album stays interesting from start to finish. It’s certainly worth tuning in until the end for the emotional alternative rock nature of “Left You Behind”. With that being said the song is the type of massive potentially mainstream success-gaining closer that leaves the listener guessing what Stick To Your Guns could possibly do next, a first for a band who indeed typically stick to their guns.
For a band who have always remained ahead of their contemparies ‘Disobedient’ is the record that truly separates Stick To Your Guns from the ever-growing pack. Though lacking in diversity, the record shows a more inspired than ever set of work from an already impactful band.