Stick To Your Guns

Better Ash Than Dust EP

Written by: PP on 24/10/2016 23:40:51

Melodic hardcore stalwarts Stick To Your Guns have released new material every two to three years in steadfast fashion since their self-released EP "Compassion Without Compromise" in 2004. Last year's "Disobedient" was their fifth full-length album and, according to some, their very best one, given its liberal embrace of the melodic aspect of melodic hardcore. Perhaps that's why "Better Ash Than Dust" EP is released so quickly afterward to act as a heavy counterbalance to that record of sorts.

That holds true at least if you are to judge by its hybrid sound, which merges together the anthemic nature of "Disobedient" with two-step hardcore and karate mosh-friendly stomp down passages. Infectiously catchy opener "Better Ash Than Dust" may not be the best example on paper in this light given its anthemic clean vocal chorus that's ripe for huge sing-alongs live, but even here, the verse passages provide plenty of proper stomp-style hardcore for the pit warriors to pounce on. It's incidentally also one of the better Stick To Your Guns tracks in recent memory, so no complaints there. But let's compare it to "Universal Language", for instance, which is camo shorts core to its brutal, ferocious core. Lyrics like "violence is the only language this world comprehends. Don't be surprised when it speaks in a way you can understand." are sure to incite anxiety among anyone standing by the edge to a pit, and its two-step style hardcore rhythm is ideal for fist swinging should you be into that chaotic form of 'dancing'. Testosterone levels sure run high on this one.

"The NeverEnding Story" leans more towards the anthemic flavor of the opener. Big clean vocal hooks during the chorus contrast down-tuned hardcore riffs in verses, in what has in later albums become a signature sound for Stick To Your Guns. The echoing chants are almost atmospheric in nature as they break the tight confines of the two-step hardcore into a more melodic universe, expanding far beyond the basements and into the bigger venues where the band plays these days.

So a bit of both flavors makes "Better Ash Than Dust" a pretty good release for STYG fans. What about the rest of us? Well, one of the issues STYG has always struggled with is that while their songs are solid melodic hardcore, they aren't exactly The Ghost Inside material. While this five-track EP is definitely a step in the right direction - especially the title track deserves another mention here - it's still a little too anonymous as a whole to appeal to more than just the die-hard melodic hardcore crowd. For those guys, it's rock solid, but the rest of us will merely continue to appreciate their high energy live shows that cast these songs in their absolutely best light, leaving behind a stronger impression than the record itself does.

7

Download: Better Ash Than Dust, The NeverEnding Story
For the fans of: The Ghost Inside, It Prevails, Hundredth
Listen: Facebook

Release date 23.09.2016
Pure Noise Records

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