Review Summary: *nudge*
For someone such as myself, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid pulling cheesy metaphors from album and artist monikers while discussing certain acts, particularly when the parallels are so unintentionally appropriate. This Greek sextet, for instance, are frustratingly close to delivering something truly impressive with their debut release. Featuring an intriguing mesh of styles, everything from classic metal and thrash sensibilities to melodic metalcore leanings, this project is absolutely drowning in potential. The danger with casting such a wide net, however, is that you run a higher risk of getting snagged. Competing styles tend to clash, and this difficulty is something that One Step From the Edge battle against. One might hypothesise that, in this respect at least, it might be favourable to take a leap of faith over the edge rather than continuing to ride it.
Now, make no mistake, Beneath the Surface
remains enjoyable from start to finish and is positively brimming with exciting ideas, each pulled off with practised ease. Numbering among the praiseworthy qualities of this record includes the surprisingly organic transitions between various sections, as well as the enduring inventiveness of every track. It's clear that despite the youthful existence of this particular project, the members within are far from green, showcasing not only their individual talents but also a collective ambition to push the boundaries. Quite often the unusual amalgamation of genres yields novel results, and in league with the entertaining solos this album becomes a real treat.
That said, there are areas where the band seem unsure of what they want to be. Of particular concern are some issues in the vocal department - not necessarily with the performance itself, which provides a lot of character, but in terms of implementation and mixing. There's almost a tug-of-war occurring in which the old-school techniques and production of the wails, growls, operatic singing etc. yearn for an era that won't relinquish itself to the crisp modernity of the instrumental side. Slight recording issues are to be expected in a debut, and this can mostly account for why the vocal performances often sit awkwardly in the mix, but there are some further stylistic incongruities that pop up on occasion and mar an otherwise decent groove.
All else considered, One Step From the Edge seem to be on a promising trajectory with a bright creative future ahead of them. Although the group feel a little unsure of their sonic identity and continue to probe tentatively in a handful of different directions, ultimately this band displays a remarkable passion, with a coherent intent to create something unique. It will be very interesting to see where these Grecians develop over the next few years, and what else will emerge from beneath the surface.