While Stick To Your Guns‘ True View celebrates the best elements of post-punk and hardcore, it rarely meets in the middle. And though its message is one that needs to be heard, it comes off confused on occasion. Regardless of its struggles, True View provides a positive, soul-searching experience, leading to the final conclusion that “there are better days ahead.” Described as a necessary record for lead, Jesse Barnett, I fully respect the record’s importance to the band, but I can’t help wonder if what ended as a 13-track full length, would have been better served as a collectively strong, 7-track release.
I know that opening was more critical than positive, but I have many praises to sing about True View as well. As far as first impressions go, Stick To Your Guns newest sets the bar high with “3 Feet From Peace,” which sets the tone emotionally for the first part of the record. Immediately vulnerable, Barnett cries out, “I made a promise that I will no longer live 3 feet from peace.” Lasting just two minutes and some change, things are kicked off in a straight-to-the-point fashion. Not only does it pack it a punch, but it also shows that Barnett is not holding anything in anymore, and even more so, he’s letting go. Chalked full of feverish, heavy riffs towards the end, it follows the harrowing open to get right into the thick of it all with “The Sun, The Moon, The Truth/”Penance of Self,” which is angry as all get out both lyrically and musically. Instrumentally, their second track is one of their most powerful, traveling throughout their brand of hard-hitting hardcore and eerie Norma Jean-esque choruses. Those echo-like, muted melodies in the background layered with Barnett’s futile roars, are one of the most killer things you’ll hear on the entire album. This track, in particular, absolutely annihilates your senses, but they are just getting started.
Stick To Your Guns – “The Sun, The Moon, The Truth/’Penance of Self'”
Completing a trio of solid, absolutely insane tracks is their previously released single, “Married To The Noise,” but as it ends and “Cave Canem” begins, True View starts to lose me a bit. It’s more chuggy, and it features a breakdown that I just can’t get behind. Chorus-wise it also feels a bit forced, and it’s place in the record feels the same. Luckily, “56” comes in and changes my mind completely, and I find myself falling in love with the album again. Here we get some variety as they take it to a more post-punk place, and as a completely singing-based track, it provides that surprising, yet much needed shift on the record. They took a chance with this one, and it really pays off. I have to say I’m really surprised that this one ended up being my favorite song, given that I typically lean towards their more hardcore-driven, high-intensity side.
“The Inner Authority/”Realization of Self” opens up with a memorable 90’s sludgy, garage rock sounding bass line, but as it develops it becomes more vocal-driven. It’s not a stand out track by any means, but comes off as more of a transitional piece on the album as we move throughout different emotional themes. If that is the case, the transition is rather choppy as it enters into “You Are Free,” which holds a completely different attitude. If anything screams Stick To Your Guns it’s this track with its relentless and unforgiving energy. Lyric-wise, “You Are Free” is a bit cheesy, but the intentions are good and the message still comes off strong. Following is “Doomed By You,” which is another powerhouse, but also features one of the most anthemic and catchy choruses in the batch. In a similar light, “Owed Nothing” is just as infectious, and there’s even a brief double bass moment. In terms of drum work, George Schmitz really shows off in this one, and he doesn’t disappoint.
Stick To Your Guns – “Married To The Noise”
As the album winds down, it ends just as strongly as it begins with “The Reach For Me/”Forgiveness Of Self,” which follows in the footsteps of “56.” With something so personal, it can become hard to edit yourself, but in the process of discovering oneself, everything has a reason. Though True View isn’t their most cohesive release yet, it’s still one of the most authentic and honest records to come out this year thus far. In the end though, it doesn’t really matter what I think of this record, because as Jesse Barnett stated, “Regardless of how anyone feels about this record, all I can say it that it was necessary. It had to be written and I’m glad it was.”
Stick To Your Guns’ True View releases officially this Friday, October 13th, but you can stream it now in full at Alt Press. Check it out and let us know your verdict! If you haven’t picked up your copy of the new record, you can do so here.
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