Review: “True View” by Stick To Your Guns

Orange County Californian quintet Stick To Your Guns have been building their reputation for delivering fine material with a string of “must listen” albums since their 2005 debut. Massive single “Amber” from 2010’s “The Hope Division” is up there among some of the bands finest material and one of our personal favourite songs.

“True View” starts with a self help sample of sorts which has been the sort of staple of their material for some time. The actual song itself “3 Feet From Peace” is a tale of searching for inner strength, something we’ve heard from frontman Jesse Barnett previously. It’s accompanying chugging riff attack courtesy of former Evergreen Terrace and current Eighteen Visions guitarist Josh James adds serious weight and satisfying crunch. “The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: Penance of Self” builds on the opener with pounding drum work from George Schmitz and the eerie meloncholy backing vocals add a new almost haunting quality to the introspective lyrics. “Married To The Noise” is perhaps more of the Stick To Your Guns staple sound. Big clean chorus surrounded by unclean verses and breakdowns that have the band leaning on Melodic Metalcore as much as their Hardcore roots. “Delinelle” is a powerful open letter to a loved one. Not so much an apology as a statement rich in passion and power. “Cave Canem” returns to more of a Hardcore sound during the verse but the almost formulaic nature of the previous two songs back to back detracts from this one. It does however have a couple of fine breakdowns that give it a big lift. “56” has a post hardcore vibe to it, dialing back the guitars and vocals to deliver something that steps away from the formula of the previous three songs and it’s welcome. “The Inner Authority: Realization of Self” builds atmosphere with a a slow and tense drum pattern while pulling in the unclean vocals from the start. It’s a verse only dark and introspective affair that then cuts into “You Are Free”. Classic Metallic Hardcore with an almost gang chant styled chorus line and driving riffage to a spoken work line. It’s actually over too quickly and sudden stop into “Doomed By You” comes as a surprise the first few times around.

“Doomed by You” is actually very Evergreen Terrace stylistically and a joy. “Blegh” in a breakdown towards the end is a nice touch as is the gang chant chorus. It’s nice to hear the line “I love it” delivered with passion during the chorus breakdown. The song flows between the heavier hardcore with a hardcore punk chorus and is very much a thrownback to earlier career material for Stick To Your Guns. “The Better Days Before Me” starts off a ferocious punk pace and before slowing up mid-song to deliver it’s message. The gradual build to the closing breakdown piled on breakdown is another moment of class. “Owed Nothing” in part returns to the formula of some of the earlier material but opens up part way through with a circle pit enticing rhythm section and before a final chorus fling.

“Through The Chain Link” returns to the speech samples with underlaying guitar build before opening out to into the verse. The socially aware lyrics and atmosphere is poiniant and the track is one designed to make you think. Closer “The Reach For Me” returns to the post-hardcore sound of some of the earlier tracks, all clean vocals and dialed back guitars.

The problem with “True View” is that it lacks the consistent quality of Stick To Your Guns earlier material. There is an array of stylistic leanings and influences on show and while the song writing and musicianship doesn’t falter on any of them as a singularity, they don’t necessarily sit well together. Perhaps some of this could be down to the track ordering and certainly breaking up the formulaic trio that sit together would do each song more justice as well as suiting the album as a whole. There is enough of the bands older styled material here to build into the bands live show while the other songs ask the listener plenty of questions but there is also that certain something missing. Perhaps this should have been expected as the trio of “The Hope Division”, “Diamond” and “Disobedient” were so good, perhaps we’ve been spoiled. For this dude, the precluding EP “Better Dust Than Ash” is a better listen. Maybe if they’d saved that material and added the better songs from “True View” to it, a better album would have been had. [6/10]

Track list:
1. 3 Feet From Peace
2. The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: Penance of Self
3. Married to the Noise
4. Delinelle
5. Cave Canem
6. 56
7. The Inner Authority: Realization of Self
8. You Are Free
9. Doomed By You
10. The Better Days Before Me
11. Owed Nothing
12. Through the Chain Link
13. The Reach for Me: Forgiveness of Self

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