In the nine years that followed the 2007 release of Music from Regions Beyond, Californian …
Atlanta straight-edge hardcore act Foundation (RIP) once penned a riotous song called No One Writes Protest Songs Anymore, which ended with front man Tomas Pearson spitting these words with a sense of palpable disgust: “I’d rather be crazy/If this is what you call sane.” It’s a title and tone that’s painfully relevant for today’s socio-political climate (especially the spectacular shit-show that is the current U.S. presidential race), and something which makes Better Ash Than Dust—the latest release of Orange County hardcore crew Stick To Your Guns, and their debut for new label Pure Noise Records—all the more impactful.
Not ones to stand idly by in apathy, Better Ash Than Dust shows that Stick To Your Guns are still here and still “give a fuck about something
On the opening title track, vocalist Jesse Barnett screams “If this is the end/You can bet your ass I won’t go out like them,” before the tempo kicks squarely into overdrive. For a five-track EP, Better Ash Than Dust is both succinct and satisfactory, and fans of Stick To Your Guns (in particular those who have latched on to the group since albums like Diamond and Disobedient boosted their profile) will be pleased to find the California group’s signature blend of hardcore punk fury remains mostly intact.
Moments like No Tolerance showcase some healthy Terror worship, with side-to-side sections and huge vocal chants, while Universal Language builds off a crunchy lead riff into some guaranteed pit-activation. Barnett blends his impassioned clean choruses with hostile pit-calls on The NeverEnding Story, before closing on a progressive note with The Suspend (which pull its sound heavily from Barnett’s alternative side project, Tradewind). Not ones to stand idly by in apathy, Better Ash Than Dust shows that Stick To Your Guns are still here and still “give a fuck about something.”
Stick This Next To: Comeback Kid, Terror, A Day To Remember
Standout Tracks: No Tolerance, The Suspend, Universal Language
Better Ash Than Dust is available now through Pure Noise Records.