Stand Still
Steps Ascending


4.0
excellent

Review

by artificialbox USER (14 Reviews)
June 14th, 2024 | 20 replies


Release Date: 06/14/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: MY BODY BURNS WITH THE URGENCY OF NOW!

I read something by Norman Brannon (Ex-Texas Is The Reason, current Thursday guitar player) recently, about how back in the 90s, nobody actually used the term “emo” seriously. They instead used “a little D.C.” as a calling card for punk bands that employed a sense of melody and highly personal lyrics in their music. This is the first thing that came to mind while listening to Stand Still’s debut LP, Steps Ascending. It’s a little D.C. for sure, but the pool of influence that Stand Still draws from is too broad to be constrained to one state or era. This isn’t exactly your cool cousin’s Revolution Summer revival band, despite technically being the natural evolution of what Dag Nasty was doing in ‘86.

Based out of Long Island, NY, Stand Still have a deep reverence for their own local scene, and have confidently nestled out a podium spot for themselves by drawing inspiration from L.I. legends like Silent Majority and Taking Back Sunday. I could rattle off a whole list of other comparisons, but the magic of this record ultimately comes down to the way the band blends the palm muted riffs, natural harmonics and driving leads of 90s melodic hardcore with the sing-along sensibilities of 2000s emo and pop punk. One of the strongest suits this band has to offer is the fact that vocalist Gerry Windus can actually sing, and he has a pretty powerful and distinct voice at that. Together, Gerry and the band craft some seriously fun melodies and instantly memorable choruses like that of the title track “Steps Ascending”. You only need to hear that chorus once before you find yourself singing along with it the second and third time it comes around. Yet these catchy, soulful moments are still interspersed with strained yells and hard hitting riffs that could make a room explode with stage dives and pile-ons. Whether it's the aggressive affirmations of "In the Dying Light of a Setting Sun", or the melancholy of "Dust", there is a healthy amount of diversity in the songwriting that keeps this album feeling fresh from the first song right to the last. The two features by Crime In Stereo and Pain of Truth vocalists are also a welcome garnish, and further reflects the band's celebration of Long Island Hardcore.

It's impressive how Stand Still manages to sound like so many other bands before them, and also none of them at the same time. Even amongst contemporaries like Koyo, Anxious and One Step Closer, Stand Still’s broad taste and unique perspective on the traditions of melodic hardcore really shines through on this record and puts them in a lane of their own. Steps Ascending was made with love, and without compromise. It’s a record that doesn’t really fit in, and that’s precisely why it’s so good.



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user ratings (22)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
artificialbox
June 14th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wrote this at work so apologies if it seems hasty. I didn't even know this band existed until I saw them on the weekly releases post and decided to check them out. I fell in love with this album so fast and felt inspired to write about it. Really can't recommend it enough if you are into melodic/post hardcore and pop punk.



https://dazestyle.bandcamp.com/album/steps-ascending

Pikazilla
June 14th 2024


30478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got this rec'd to me a couple days ago and I liked what I heard

counterparts
June 15th 2024


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! Been keen to hear where they would go after a strong couple of strong EPs and this didn't disappoint. Always enjoyed the heavier side of this genre and these guys have it dialled in.

artificialbox
June 15th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! Glad you guys both dug it. I should check out their EPs now.

Also, I liked this so much that I ordered the vinyl from Daze. I'm really hoping it comes with a lyric sheet.

bellovddd
June 16th 2024


6594 Comments


gunna have to sus this one

Ray91
June 17th 2024


891 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great record. hits the sweet spot between being catchy but having enough punch to it

Slex
June 17th 2024


16801 Comments


Woah definitely need to check this out

artificialbox
June 17th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dooo it 😀

Tower of Gold is quickly becoming a fav of mine. That chorus is just soooo good.

someone
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2024


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i like this quite a bit.

it throws me back to my teens but not in a cringe way, which is always a welcome kind of throwback

JerseyJimmy
June 19th 2024


165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

LONG ISLAND MENTIONED!!!!!

gridlock apocalypse is my favorite track on here because A.) it rips crazy style, and B.) reflects a very specific irrational fear I had growing up on LI when I was a kid

artificialbox
June 19th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ayyy shout out Long Island. Yes that song rules hard. I think In My Blood is my #1 but it's hard to pick.

artificialbox
June 19th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I also just love how positive a lot of the lyrics are lol it's refreshing. Like "In My Blood" is just about the singer being grateful to his family for getting him into music. It's dope.

jrlikestodance
June 19th 2024


1479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good melodic hc. This needs more love!

artificialbox
July 1st 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bump because this album still rules and also my vinyl finally got sent out last week. stoked.

Futures
July 1st 2024


11247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this looks cool, i'll have to check it out. nice writeup.

artificialbox
July 1st 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks, I think you might dig it!

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2024


47789 Comments


this is pretty tight, goes nice with that One Step Closer from earlier this year

artificialbox
July 2nd 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed!

Futures
July 5th 2024


11247 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty cool. like a mashup of braid and taking back sunday. vocally a little too inconsistent for me and i wish some of the hooks popped a bit more. but a very fun album that grew on me after a few listens. dust and tower of gold are excellent. really impressive for a debut.

artificialbox
July 10th 2024


2081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

vinyl arrived today weee its so pretty



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