One Step Closer - From Me to You (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

One Step Closer

From Me to You (2019)

Triple B

Wilkes-Barre, PA straight-edge newcomers One Step Closer make their first big statement with their EP, From Me to You. Though the band’s issued a couple EPs prior to this, the production and execution hits a new level for them and is easily their most impactful release thus far.

Don’t worry: Despite the name, One Step Closer’s sound have no traces of Linkin Park (which, if commercial metalcore historians remember, was actually a genuine and rampant influence only a couple years ago as far as scenes like Rise Records were concerned). OSC instead play a downbeat style of melodic hardcore entrenched firmly in the mid-2000s. They had a serious Revolution Summer vibe at times on their past material, like the Rites of Spring-esque “Lifetime” from last year’s promo EP, but they’ve mostly shed that in favor of a powerfully clear and slightly heavier sound. (You get some remaining hints of that in “Dusk” and “Imagination of Being”, granted.)

This style went seriously out of vogue around the early 2010s, probably sometime around when Trapped Under Ice broke out, but with bands like themselves and Search for Purpose -- and to a less pure extent, Fury, Mil-Spec and Ecostrike -- it seems to be back. It was a good time in the mid-aughts for emotive hardcore that was still musically heavy, well-recorded, and forward-thinking in both content and execution, so no complaints here.

If there’s any band One Step Closer is most reminiscent of from that era, it’s Have Heart. Heck, “Portrayal” even resembles HH’s “Bostons” (with a major-key double-time beat that oddly sounds like Strike Anywhere, even). “Dusk” has a bit of that ever-popular Turning Point vibe. But One Step Closer seem to be putting their own stamp on things overall. Their singer has a desperate shout with clearly enunciated lyrics, the riffs are dynamic and unpredictable, and the band mostly operate at a mid-tempo pace that allows each note to be played with extra emphasis. Despite the fairly proud straight-edge aesthetics of the band outside the music, the lyrics seem to deal almost exclusively with self-doubt, insecurity, and fractured relationships, and they’re well-worded at that. Opener “The Reach” is a major standout, and a nice example of all these things.

There’s not too many complaints here. The songs could be a little more memorable, and there could be a couple more life-affirming hooks, but this is nonetheless a strong EP and very promising start of sorts for the young Pennsylvania act. You might say they’re about to break.


From Me to You