Review by Shannon Shumaker
There are many reasons why the anticipation has been so high for Stick To Your Guns’ new album Disobedient, but the one that stands out the most is in the band’s ability to write meaningful, aggressive and memorable songs. Disobedient is no exception to this. The album, while a little bigger sounding production-wise from their old material, is a perfect follow up to Diamond. The tracks on this album are loud, in your face and aggressive, but above that, they’re meaningful.
A simple guitar riff and beautiful clean vocals open the album in the perfect anthematic way. The beginning is slow, it feels like a march, and the vocals are strong and commanding. “It Starts With Me” is the perfect intro track and it builds anticipation amazingly into “What Choice Did You Give Us,” but not before an emotional spoken part to end the first track. “What Choice Did You Give Us,” throws us right into the Stick To Your Guns that we all know and love. The energy is high, the lyrics are emotional, hard hitting and angry, and the chorus is beautiful and melodic, easy to sing along with. This song is guaranteed a huge crowd response when they play it live.
“RMA (Revolutionary Mental Attitude)” is an interesting and thought-provoking play on the “PMA” that many bands preach or support. Clocking in at just over a minute in length, this is a total hardcore track - it’s fast paced, hard hitting and aggressive with nothing but unclean vocals - no clean, melodic choruses to cushion the blow. But in true Stick To Your Guns fashion, the lyrics are what make this track as strong as it is, with lines like, “Being positive is no longer enough.” On the other side of the spectrum is the following track, “Nothing You Can Do To Me,” which is largely carried by the strong, melodic and memorable chorus. The verses still hit hard, though, and the bass tone on this track is strong, proving Stick To Your Guns’ versatility.
When “To Whom It May Concern” comes in, it’s apparent that Disobedient is an album that needs to be listened to front to back in order to get the full experience and the full message. The slow part toward the end of this track takes you back to the melodic vocals in “It Starts With Me,” and it ties the album together perfectly. While many people will feel inclined to choose a few favorite songs on a record or just listen to the singles, Disobedient is an album that deserves to be listened to in full. There’s an underlying message to the entire album, but not one that the band tries to drill into your head or pushes too hard or in a way that may drive fans away. On top of that, Disobedient is just musically strong, as well. For example, “The Crown,” which follows “To Whom It May Concern,” is one of the slowest, more mellow songs on the album. It’s less aggressive and in your face, but the result is absolutely beautiful and proves that Stick To Your Guns definitely aren’t one dimensional.
It’s impossible to choose the strongest song on Disobedient, and if the album has any downside, maybe that’s it. Track after track, Stick To Your Guns just keep pushing out more and more incredible songs. More than once, I found myself thinking that I had found my favorite song on the album, only to change my mind a track or two later when I hear a particularly strong guitar riff, a really cool vocal run or a line that really hit home. I think it’s safe to say, however, that “The War Inside” is lyrically one of the best songs on the album. “Use the pain/let it be the force that drives you ever day,” is shiver inducing, and with good reason. The emotion behind the lyrics on this track is insane. But, much like the rest of the album, the final track, “Left You Behind,” follows “The War Inside,” and again, I’m blown away. The storytelling in the lyrics on this track is beautiful and the vocals are amazing - they sound nothing like the rest of the album. “Left You Behind” is not only haunting and beautiful, but it’s also one of the strongest tracks on Disobedient, making the ending much more strong and leaving me wanting more.
I think the thing that makes Stick To Your Guns one of the strongest bands in the hardcore scene is their ability to write songs that are not only personal, but also relatable. They’ve done it before, and they obviously do it again with Disobedient. These are songs that make kids think - these are songs that will change lives. The lyrics on this album are smart and meaningful, which is to be expected from Stick To Your Guns, but it doesn’t get boring or old by any means. This band writes about life, and that’s what makes them so relatable. When you listen to Stick To Your Guns, you expect their lyrics to make you think, you expect their music to make you want to get up and do something, and that’s exactly what Disobedient does.
Listen to "Nothing You Can Do To Me," "The War Inside" or "Left Behind"