March 2, 2015 Stick to Your Guns – Disobedient (Album Review)
Orange County’s Hardcore band Stick To Your Guns has recently released their fifth studio album, Disobedient, on February 10, 2015 via Sumerian Records. Formed back in 2003, Stick To Your Guns has had much success, and once Sumerian recognized their incredible work ethic and devotion to their fans, were snatched up in 2006, therefore, the band has been flying high since. A summer spent with Vans Warped Tour 2014 did not leave much time for anything else, but Stick To Your Guns did manage to sit down long enough to record Disobedient. Produced by John Feldmann, the genius behind The Used, Black Veil Brides, Atreyu, and We Came As Romans, Disobedient is an integral, explosive album from a band known for their antagonistic musical style and brazen lyrics. After their 2012 album, Diamond, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, fans have wondered if Disobedient will live up to the success of the previous Stick To Your Guns album. Now, fans can breathe, dive into the eleven new tracks, and find out for themselves.
With their current line-up of Jesse Barnett (vocals), Chris Rawson (backing vocals, guitar), Josh James (guitar), Andrew Rose (bass), and George Schmitz (drums), Stick To Your Guns evokes positivity and encouragement through their music, a standout to Melodic Hardcore fans who are used to a more pessimistic, resentful vibe in this genre. The album starts off with “It Starts With Me,” a song about taking a step back, looking at one’s surroundings, and understanding that they are the common thread in everything that happens to them. Being a socially and politically aware group, they use their voice to speak out on things many others shy away from, a notion made clear on “What Choice Did You Give Us?” as lyrics wax poetic to the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice. By encouraging fans to use their voices and get involved with solutions to the problems they see in everyday life, this song is by far one of the more heartrending on the album, and is sure to be a favorite. The first single, “Nobody,” is an anthem for those who feel out of place or unable to fit in. Barnett wrote the lyrics from his own experiences, explaining that everyone has felt left out of the loop in one situation or another, but that is not always a bad thing. Barnett states, “We live in an age where we do nothing but blame others for our insecurities and we loosely throw around the term “bully” because, instead of realizing that there is something beautiful in the fact that you stand alone in a crowd, we have found a false comfort in playing the victim. Empower yourself. Know that it’s the Nobodies that go the furthest, it’s the Nobodies who have the biggest hearts and it’s the Nobodies who will change the world.”
As the record moves on, vocalist of legendary New York Hardcore band H2O, Toby Morse, is featured on “RMA (Revolutionary Mental Attitude),” helping create a sound that would make any pedestrian want to stand up against any corrupt politician. Rotting Out’s Walter Delgado lends out his vocals for “Nothing You Can Do To Me,” another standout, Thrash-heavy track off Disobedient. Bringing on another guest, vocalist Scott Vogel from Terror helps out on the pure, unfiltered American Hardcore track “I Choose Nothing,” along with a snippet from Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech from 1940 film The Great Dictator. Keeping the mood consistently outraged, one of the best tracks off Disobedient is perhaps “The War Inside” with the transition from Melodic anthem to Screamo pulled off flawlessly. This finally leads into album closer “Left You Behind” where Barnett shows off distinctive vocal capabilities and puts the bow on this modern Hardcore present.
As a whole, the true testament to Disobedient is incredible production ability and good ear of activist and veteran engineer John Feldmann. Stick To Your Guns has a diverse fan base, but they are certainly pleasing to the fans of Hardcore as a whole. The seamless transition from Melodic to Hardcore is something they do quite well. Disobedient is an album that will be timeless and referenced throughout the band’s career. No need to worry – this Melodic Hardcore album is everything Diamond was and more. CrypticRock gives Disobedient 5 out of 5 stars.