After their release of the fantastic Better Ash Than Dust EP last year, many fans were anxious to hear what a whole new album would sound like after the landmark success of their last album, Disobedient, in 2015. Leading up to the release of True View, the band has played some impressive shows with bands such as ARCHITECTS and PARKWAY DRIVE in the UK. Despite seemingly branching out into the metalcore scene with these shows, STICK TO YOUR GUNS remain rooted as one of the kings of the modern hardcore scene.
True View is the result of STICK TO YOUR GUNS compiling their musical experience into a defining record for a sound that they believe is required in current times. Comprised of 13 tracks, each one has its own message and feeling. When talking about the album, vocalist Jesse Barnett said it was, “inspired by innumerable conversations that I had with my mother during the hardest couple of years I’ve had in my life. The people I lost in my life, the mental and physical challenges I faced, as well as losing myself. I don’t know if it was getting older or the foundation I had built my life on cracking beneath my feet or a mixture of everything.” This idea of self-reflection is overtly evident throughout the record. Three of the tracks are named with the phrases ‘Penance of Self’, ‘Realisation of Self’ and ‘Forgiveness of Self’, demonstrating a journey throughout the album of self-discovery.
Musically, it must be noted that whilst STICK TO YOUR GUNS have gone the extra mile ideologically with True View, their sound has not changed very much. Compared to past releases such as Diamond, there is considerable musical variety however. From softer sounding, almost ballad-like songs such as The Reach For Me: Forgiveness of Self, to more traditionally hardcore songs like Cave Canem and You Are Free, this is a wide-ranging record for the band. As usual, their drum mix is perfect, constantly punching through and delivering breakdowns that can only be described as ‘ballsy’. On the subject of breakdowns, despite their progression in sound with songs like Forgiveness of Self, they still hit hard with punchy moments such as on The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: “Penance Of Self” with ‘now I must live with the hurt!’.
Barnett’s increased use of clean vocals on the album certainly pays off, with moments on 56 getting very catchy indeed, and almost sounding like new-era BRING ME THE HORIZON. Despite their efforts at putting a personal slant on the album, after listening to the Better Ash Than Dust EP many times and marvelling at the songwriting skill demonstrated on tracks like Universal Language, not many of the songs on True View leave the same impression.
True View is certainly a STICK TO YOUR GUNS record, but whether or not it’s a worthy spiritual successor of Better Ash Than Dust is debateable. In a genre with bands like STRAY FROM THE PATH and KNOCKED LOOSE releasing albums that are heavy, incendiary and politically charged, it calls into question whether the messages portrayed in True View are what will really kick the hardcore kids into gear nowadays. What is certain is that any fans of the band will be very happy with the record – it’s STICK TO YOUR GUNS through and through.
True View is set for release on October 13th via End Hits Records.
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