JD'S REVIEW FOR STICK TO YOUR GUNS - DIAMOND
2. Against Them All
3. Such Pain
4. The Bond
5. We Still Believe
6. Ring Loud (Last Hope)
7. Empty Heads
8. Beyond The Sun
9. Life In A Box
10. Bringing You Down
11. D(I AM)OND
12. Build Upon the Sand
The fourth full length album from California's melodic hardcore/metalcore/posicore band Stick To Your Guns, Diamond
is an interesting release on many levels for me. On one hand, it represents the future of Stick To Your Guns, fleshing out the more melodic direction they branched off of with 2010's The Hope Division
. And on the other hand, it represents a return to heaviness for them, incorporating much more aggression than The Hope Division
. Overall, though, I can't escape the fact that they still aren't the band I want them to be. There are parts of every song I love: a riff here, a scream there, but the end product deviates slightly from what I want
to hear from this band. Still, I recommend people to give it a chance.
The album starts off with a marching, breakdown-y anthem, Diamond
, topped off with an opening sample from the Dalai Lama, thankfully continuing that trend from The Hope Division. I personally love their samples and the quotes they use; it gives STYG a unique, cool flavor from the rest of the bands they are associated with/tour with. The next song, Against Them All
, is one of the heaviest songs on the album, yet also one where Jesse sings the most. I'm divided on his singing, part of me likes it, and part of me thinks it's overdone and too melodic. I can look over that though, since the build-up to the heavy is done much better on this album than their past ones.
The next notable track in my opinion, and probably my favorite off the album, is Track 4, The Bond. It's exactly
what I want from STYG: Jesse screaming the whole time, short length, and a giant build up to the heavy, which is catchy and memorable enough to set itself apart from their other tunes. Unfortunately, there are few other tracks that display that to me. The next few, We Still Believe and Ring Loud (Last Hope) both have awesome parts
to the song, but are marred by untasteful singing in my opinion. It's just not catchy. Again though, I love the sample quotes they use in the songs, primarily the end of Ring Loud.
Fortunately, Empty Heads, the next track, is fucking tight. It's probably gonna be on my workout playlist for a long time to come. Pure heavy, catchy riffs, catchy call-out choruses, some super fast punky parts, and even a "BLEAAAGH!" thrown in there for good reason! Not to mention a cool sample, building up to a pure hardcore-inspired breakdown at 2:15 rather than a metalcore breakdown. Life In A Box is also similarly as sexy; under 2 minutes, fast, heavy, and catchy. If the whole album was like this, I'd probably consider it a contender for my end of the year list.
Beyond the Sun isn't terrible either, with catchy riffs, but I still feel like the cleans are taking away from the quality of the overall song. They're not bad at all... it's just that I don't want cleans
in my Stick To Your Guns songs. They call themselves a hardcore band, yet throw this shit in to appease a wider audience, I guess. It's got a very long, funny rant against homophobia at the end of it. Cheesy, but I like it! The reason I listen to this band. Bringing You Down is probably my favorite song with cleans, with a great screamed chorus around the 1:50 mark.
The last couple tracks are beyond "meh" and not worth mentioning, so I'll wrap it up: I liked this album better than The Hope Division, and it continues the style they developed there, way different than their first two, straight-up moshcore releases. I also feel like this band is dying in a way; in 2007 they seemed like the bee's fucking knees, with everyone rocking WE'LL BE VICTORIOUS AND NOT LET OUR HATE GET THE BEST OF US merch... and today they're clumped into awkward, post-scenecore tours to appease suburban middle class white high school girls. Kind of a shame. So here's to me hoping that they ditch that image in the near future, become total scumbags, embrace their hardcore potential, and play in clubs of like, 50 sweaty dudes in windbreakers and denim jackets with Converge and Integrity patches trying to beat the shit out of each other!
A man can only dream.