Among a world full of high tensions and hurt feelings, Stick To Your Guns’ newest EP Better Ash Than Dust sheds light on the dark chaos of today’s monsters. Stick To Your Guns struck a painful chord with an EP comprised of five songs and deals out 16 minutes of pure and unadulterated truth.
The EP’s title track “Better Ash Than Dust” opens with a wailing riff and bursts with Jesse Barnett’s angry scream. The song shines its beam into my conscience and brings attention to the shadows of my actions. What have I contributed to this world? Am I one of them or am I someone who has made a difference? I want to shy away from the invasion and yet, like a bad accident, I can’t look away. The hooks sink into my heart, the bass catches in my throat. George Schmitz’s beats mimic the frantic pounding in my head. Suddenly, it switches to a recording and I’m free falling into Stick To Your Gun’s reality. Nina Simone is preaching to me about the purpose of an artist, and to reflect the current time. The frantic pound in my head quiets as I contemplate this newfound purpose.
“Universal Language” drives the EP onward with a headstrong pace. Josh James (lead guitarist) draws me in with his gasoline and George Schmitz ignites the flame with his lighter. I’m now caught in the flames of the ignorant. Jesse Barnett releases his anger, his truth, his passion. He warns about the violence that has become our societal norm. Violence and hate is not what should be leading our actions, and yet that is our first form of offense. It’s become, to some, the only option we see. He begs to see beyond, to avoid the war on each other.
The shortest, and yet the most to-the-point, song on the EP, “No Tolerance,” drives home one simple point. Stop being tolerant of hate. I read Jesse Barnett’s inspiration for this song on the EP’s website and was humbled by his candor. While I still choose to be a carnivore, I felt a huge sense of respect of Jesse’s decision to become a vegan. I can understand his need to respect the animals that occupied this earth before us. It is clear through the passion in which he sings this brief song that the world has been corrupted with greed. Its heavy pace is reticent of the fast paced reality we’ve accepted. Stop and see the beauty in the world, see it with fresh eyes.
“The Never Ending Story” drags your ass out of bed in the morning. It’s the alarm clock that runs away when you try to press snooze. It’s full of hooks and turns that feel like a warm shower made immensely cold by the flush of a toilet. “Just give a fuck about something, mother fucker.” Jesse has you backed against the wall and is in your face. Do something. Quit making excuses. Quit whining. Make yourself useful.
They wrap it up with the last song on Better Ash Than Dust, “The Suspend.” Easily my favorite off this EP, it tells the story of a person who stands for what they believe. It tells the story of someone we all want to be. Someone who has done all they could do right, who stood firm with who they are and encourages others to do the same. Better Ash Than Dust led us to this person for a reason. The entire EP sheds its light on the weakest parts of humanity and guides us to the changes we need to make to improve the world.
Better Ash Than Dust comes to us in a time of crisis and need. It’s the perfect reality check for our societies. Are you ready to have those shadows exposed?
Find Better Ash Than Dust on Itunes