Album review: One Step Closer – All You Embrace

One Step Closer lay out all the difficult and beautiful things that come of change on multi-faceted second album…

Album review: One Step Closer – All You Embrace
Rachel Roberts

Hardcore is limitless, according to One Step Closer. In a musical world that’s become clustered with a dizzying amount of sub-genres, the Pennsylvania-based outfit deserve kudos for throwing the rulebook to the wind on this second album.

On All You Embrace, they’re jumping from the platform they built on their 2021 debut, This Place You Know, and landing in new sonic realms. Given they took part in songwriting sessions with Knocked Loose’s Isaac Hale for this record – you know, the band who famously sampled The Beach Boys at the end of one of their most vicious belters? – this creative courage makes sense.

Across 11 tracks, All You Embrace is group therapy for dealing with change and things beyond your control. From love and loss – both romantically and platonically – to dealing with life on the road away from family, it shares the band’s journey up to this point, declaring that a loss can sometimes mean a gain lies ahead. Sprinkling in elements of piano (Blur My Memory) and even a horn section (Giant’s Despair), the band wrap the unpredictable like ribbons around the classic elements we expect from their sound – fry vocals with melodic choruses and big boomy bridges.

Ryan Savitski delivers a carefully portioned mix of clean vocals and cord-ripping screams right from opener Color You, and elsewhere song structures feel fresh and engaging, playing with tempo and blending in a nostalgic shoegaze tinge and sad ’00s guitar work, prominently on Esruc.

There’s not one way to be hardcore, and this album is an umbrella of that. All You Embrace marks an exciting step up for One Step Closer, but still carries that home grown, moody teenage feel that gives this band a special glimmer. It’s impressive without feeling forced, and tells stories that feel malleable and poignant for many, despite being personal.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Movements, Koyo, Sum 41

All You Embrace is released on May 17 via Run For Cover Records

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