I wish more hardcore sounded like this. I can understand the singer and he’s yelling about things that are worth understanding. Whether it’s on “When Things Fall Apart” where Stephen barks, “There is no one else to blame for all our pain…Our ego keeps us from our identity” or on “Will it Ever End?” where he belts out, “An eye for an eye makes the world blind.” Lyrics like that separate The First Step from the legions of bands out there that take hardcore to the super-personal “me, me, me” level and relegate it to nothing more than soapbox preaching.
The First Step draw the majority of their inspiration from other hardcore bands, keeping their style remarkably clean and free of any metal breakdowns and fills that might otherwise compromise the clarity of the message. While they proudly fly the straight edge flag, “Open Hearts” is thankfully devoid of any militant sentiments regarding the omnipresent X. If you like Count Me Out and Stretch Arm Strong then there’s enough here to make you smile and circle-pit around for a while. Oh, and there’s some girl on the inside cover taking photos at a show who’s totally hot, so if you’re that girl, please email me.