One Step Closer - Songs for the Willow EP Music Album Reviews

One Step Closer - Songs for the Willow EP Music Album Reviews
The Wilkes-Barre hardcore band blends singalong accessibility, purgative heaviness, and thoughtful craft into songs about the disconnect between dreams and reality.

One Step Closer’s music overflows with emotion. On their new three-song EP Songs for the Willow, the Wilkes-Barre hardcore band layers guitars so thick and textural that you can’t see the bottom; they’re churning and breathless, driven by a biting rhythm section. Vocalist Ryan Savitski is raw and unrelenting, not so much yelling as crying out, like he can’t stop until something is expelled. 

Yet the secret to their sound, hidden amid the deluge, lies in its nuances. They use barely audible harmonies, unexpected melodic twists, and glistening buried riffs to build a stronger emotional structure than a simple heavy barrage would. There’s a similar richness to Savitski’s lyrics; while they occasionally lack subtlety, a common and generally forgivable pitfall in hardcore, he can offer moments of truly striking imagery. On opener “Dark Blue,” he sings, “The months go by and the blue jays fly to the apple trees tonight.” 

This EP is One Step Closer’s first release since their debut LP, 2021’s This Place You Know. That album, written during the pandemic, was about a longing for escape, whether from a physical place or a general feeling of dissatisfaction. If they could just get out, their songs suggested, a new, rosier life would await. Get out they did; their victory-lap touring schedule after This Place You Know included every corner of the U.S. and several trips to Europe. On Songs for the Willow, Savitski grapples with the idea that achieving what he wanted didn’t really solve anything. All three songs are torn between living the dream of success and the heartbreak of seeing life slip through your fingers. 

On “Dark Blue”—a song that takes place on the van ride to the next tour date—Savitski ponders a faltering relationship back home while watching the scenery fly by. “Home is not worth missing,” he realizes. And on “T.T.S.P.” he admits, “This dream just clouds all my way.” The hardcore community tends to romanticize the road warrior’s quest—an almost religious pursuit of cathartic purity, a rejection of everything that isn’t hardcore punk. But on Songs for the Willow, 23-year-old Savitski pulls the cover back on how hard and conflicting that can be for a young adult finding their place in life.

There are lots of pleading requests in Savitski’s lyrics—“Turn to me,” “Stay with me,” “Please hurry home.” Delivered with his wounded howl, they convey a feeling of overwhelming desperation. The end section of “Dark Blue” does the same thing musically. There’s a feeling of chaos and turmoil in the weighty guitars bouncing off each other; Savitski punctuates clean backing vocals with his screams, both sides mixed low enough to sound like they’re battling with the instruments behind them, desperate to be heard. Similarly, when “T.T.S.P.” kicks into gear, dropping like an anvil after a foreboding intro, it emits an enveloping cloud of hopeless gloom. “Turn to Me” harnesses a surge of energy on the chorus, as the tempo picks up and an ultra-catchy (yet no less tortured) clean vocal comes in. 

The crowd reaction is built into hardcore songs, and these moments will send fans at future shows berserk—you picture it as you hear it, bodies flying and colliding, fingers pointing as contorted faces spit words back at the band. One Step Closer are exceptionally good at blending singalong accessibility, purgative heaviness, and thoughtful craft; it’s impressive for a hardcore band to tick all of those boxes at once and so well. Songs for the Willow cements the young band’s transition from promising newcomers to undeniable force. 
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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.
One Step Closer - Songs for the Willow EP Music Album Reviews One Step Closer - Songs for the Willow EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on January 25, 2023 Rating: 5


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