Militarie Gun - All Roads Lead to the Gun (Deluxe) Music Album Reviews

Militarie Gun - All Roads Lead to the Gun (Deluxe) Music Album Reviews
Alternating between ruthless hardcore punk and melodic post-hardcore, the Los Angeles band seek emotional truth that still rips.

When the pandemic forced Seattle powerviolence band Regional Justice Center to cancel tour plans, it marked 28-year-old Ian Shelton’s first break from the road since age 17. He found solace in daily songwriting sessions where he worked on untangling his pent-up vulnerabilities, a process that birthed his new project, Militarie Gun. “I had to let my subconscious bring it out of me,” he later explained. After debuting with the 2020 solo EP My Life Is Over, Militarie Gun released a pair of EPs in 2021 that transformed them into a five-piece post-hardcore band. Relentless touring opening for acts like Touché Amoré and Fiddlehead soon landed them a record deal with Loma Vista. On All Roads Lead to the Gun (Deluxe), which repackages last year’s dual EPs along with four new songs, Militarie Gun take stock of their whirlwind origin and showcase why their subtle brand of self-help is so much fun. 

Militarie Gun alternate between ruthless hardcore punk and the alt-rock undercurrent of post-hardcore, a logical outcome of the members’ previous bands. Regional Justice Center delivered tireless, aggressive testimony to the need for prison reform: Shelton handled vocals and drums while his incarcerated brother, Max, penned lyrics from behind bars. Militarie Gun guitarist Nick Cogan splits his time in Drug Church, the invigorating post-hardcore band with an unapologetic approach to controversial topics. Rounding out the lineup are guitarist William Acuña, bassist Max Epstein, and drummer Vince Nguyen, who indulge in playful alt-rock licks (“Fell on My Head”), pogo-worthy drumming (“Big Disappointment”), and blistering post-punk attacks (“Disposable Plastic Trash”). No matter how scratchy Shelton’s scream, Militarie Gun always lead with emotive melodies. It’s what allows him to improvise lyrics about spite, relationship missteps, and newfound empathy for his parents, unleashing passionate real-time confessions while the band streamlines his emotion into concentrated, memorable hooks. 

The four new songs tacked onto the deluxe release further demonstrate Militarie Gun’s emotional range. “Let Me Be Normal” is a burst of distorted power-pop about embracing adulthood, college-radio bait fit for the 1990s or its Gen-Z revival. The remaining tracks are unexpected collaborations: “Can’t Get None” is a spacious noise-pop number featuring vocalist DeeDee from Mississippi punks MSPAINT; “I Can’t Stand Busy People” and “Pull It Out” are comparatively mellow indie rock jaunts, with acoustic guitar strums and sweet vocal harmonies from Giles Roy and Heather Black of Vancouver band Woolworm. The trip from Militarie Gun’s typically heavy sound to these lighter ventures produces mild whiplash, but the new songs speak to the band’s skill at integrating a worthwhile hook to the vehicle best suited to carry it, like the wistful chord progression that makes “Don’t Pick Up the Phone” a tender affair.

Not even Militarie Gun can escape the lure of their own hooks. During moments without lyrics, Shelton sings along by uttering a husky grunt, an “oof oof” that sounds like a dog warning off a passing stranger. It’s an idiosyncrasy akin to a rapper’s favorite ad-lib, like Cardi B’s “okurrr” or RZA’s “bong bong,” and once you notice it, you start to hear it everywhere. When Shelton lets loose another “oof oof” during “Can’t Get None” or the bridge in “Ain’t No Flowers,” you can imagine his cheeks turning red from trying to hold it in. It’s a primordial feeling that any music fan with a favorite karaoke spot knows firsthand. 

As he stared down his 30th birthday, Shelton penned lyrics that occasionally sound like unsolicited advice from a hardcore veteran: “Don’t pick up the phone when you’re on drugs”; “They say be grateful for what they give to you”; “This punk shit needs to pay, man.” These aren’t reprimands, though, but a pact with himself: After logging more than a decade in a scene outwardly defined by fortitude, masculinity, and punk ideologies, Shelton is level-headed enough to recognize it’s not the sturdiest career ladder. “When it ceases being fun, run,” he sings on the title track. Fortunately it’s more paranoia than prophecy: All Roads Lead to the Gun (Deluxe) is both a personal space for Shelton to unpack his self-doubt and an opportunity for the rest of us to revel in melodic post-hardcore done right.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Militarie Gun - All Roads Lead to the Gun (Deluxe) Music Album Reviews Militarie Gun - All Roads Lead to the Gun (Deluxe) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 15, 2022 Rating: 5


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