Today Stick To Your Guns released their second EP ever called “Better Ash Than Dust”. The EP is their latest material since 2015’s “Disobedient”. The EP features 5 new tracks and showcases both musical growth and reference to past material.
I have been a fan of Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns since their release of 2010’s “The Hope Division”, and to this day I still consider that album and “Diamond” my two favorite STYG albums and consider them to be some of the most powerful hardcore albums I have ever heard. However, I can honestly say that I was fairly disappointed with last years release of “Disobedient”. I felt that the record was lacking and that while the direction they were taking musically was interesting, it failed to meet the standard that STYG has set over the years. That being said I was a little hesitant to listen to this new release, especially when I assumed that they would be following the path previously set by “Disobedient”. Fortunately, I was extremely wrong and was ecstatic after listening to “Better Ash Than Dust”.
Being only 16 minutes in length, I was able to listen to the EP 10 times over in order to truly form an analysis without having to spend hours upon hours simply listening. One of the most prominent aspects I was able to take away from the EP was that it sounded like a perfect continuation from “The Hope Division” (“THD”) and “Diamond”, making it seem as if “Disobedient” never really occurred. This to me was great as this EP served as the equalizing balance between STYG’s old sound and the progression and growth they have since adapted.
I was also pleased to hear that STYG still incorporates powerful, well thought out lyricism that accurately and professionally gets across the statements they are trying to make. This first begins with using political sound bites that serve as sources to their arguments they are making throughout the release. These sound bites occurred often and were extremely significant during “THD” and “Diamond” and I’m extremely glad they were incorporated into this EP. Jesse Barnett’s impeccable lyricism is once again shown throughout the material and provides substance to each individual track.
And of course, the instrumentals heard throughout “Better Ash Than Dust” are phenomenal. The hard-hitting riffs and melodic choruses and sections heard give the EP that jaw-breaking punch that makes track after track absolutely electric, and even makes me nostalgic to when I first heard tracks off of “THD” and “Diamond” and had that same zealous reaction.
Overall, “Better Ash Than Dust” features that blood-boiling, thought-provoking, monumental sound that Stick To Your Guns does best. This is easily my 3rd favorite release by the band and might even surpass my two favorite albums by the band as well. I have attached a link to the entire EP and I highly encourage you listen to it and buy the EP as well (I am about to buy the vinyl as I write this myself). Stick To Your Guns is back and I couldn’t be happier. In conclusion, I give “Better Ash Than Dust” a 9.4/10 and this will definitely be up there for one of the best, if not the best, EP released in all of 2016.