"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me, and be my friend." - Albert Camus.
You'll find this quote within the lyrics booklet that comes with Stick To Your Guns' new album, Diamond. This, along with 11 more quotes (one for each song), grace the booklet with the general message of positive moral values. Something this band has always written about, and influenced upon their fans.
Each album from their past pushed for the same message. Through stories of hardship, brotherhood, and family, they've shown fans that there's still some good in the world. It comes in sparse quantities, but it's there. Stick To Your Guns seeks to be the group of guys to pick those who have fallen, up from the ground, and help them to be able to walk again.
The opening track/title track opens with a quote from who I assume is Mahatma Gandhi, whose voice was also heard on Stick To Your Guns' previous effort, The Hope Division. What follows is a wave of gang vocals and the powerful bellows of Jesse Barnett, setting the tone for the rest of the album. A tone that, may I say, shakes the core, and leaves you begging for all that these hardcore artists have to offer.
The guitars pound almost as hard as the drums on this album, shining brightly alongside Jesse's vocals. On tracks like "Such Pain", "Empty Heads", and "Life In A Box", you can almost feel the bottom end trying to punch you in the jugular. Yet, on songs like "Bringing You Down", "We Still Believe", and "Against Them All", you can hear the more melodic works of Josh James and Chris Rawson, while drummer George Schmitz lays his kit to waste. These guys boast diversity, as well as power. Something most bands seem to lack nowadays. Stick To Your Guns has steadily evolved over the years, and this album seems to be the apex of that evolution. The only things this album truly lack are over the top guitar solos and thunderous For Today esque bass drops. But with the sheer power Diamond already has, it needs no such assistance.
I'd like nothing more than to sit here and tell you how much the lyrics on this album mean to me, but I'd be here all night with the descriptions and comparisons. This album is worth more than just a read through of a review. If you're a fan of hardcore music, or just positive music in general, you're obligated to give this a listen. If you need an emotional hand, or a powerful pick-me-up, this album is that hand, it is that pick-me-up. You'll find yourself headbanging, singing, screaming, and destroying all in your path with this album reverberating in your ears. Pick this up, and let nothing bring you down. And tell yourself this at all times, when you find yourself against a wall:
"This is my life, and this life is my Diamond."