To me, hardcore has always been about two things – unity and brotherhood. To further that statement, hardcore has also always been about creating change through discussing (or yelling really loud) the issues that matter – whether it be racial tension and inequality, homophobia, sexual assault, or suicide, California’s Stick To Your Guns have always done this, really since day 1. They’re a band that thrives on creating dialogue without coming across as heavy-handed, and while the results aren’t always subtle (the anti-homophobia hardcore blast of “Life In A Box”), they are effective to be sure.
On Diamond, the band’s breakout 2012 album, this is done in a variety of effective ways – the deceptively catchy “We Still Believe” and passionate “Empty Heads”, but there’s also two tracks that truly stand out here. “Bringing You Down” is an angry, status quo-challenging commentary on the state of 2010-era social and political norms, while “Built Upon The Sand” is a desperate plea for a last stand of sorts – with possibly the most effective three words in the STYG catalogue. “I understand you.”
5 years on from Diamond, Stick To Your Guns are still one of the most important bands in the scene today. Diamond is a true statement album that will be remembered forever, as it’s just as much a snapshot of social injustice and righteous rage currently as it is a timeless work of art.