This Time Next Year, Pandamonium, and Next on the List…
Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 @ 7:44am » permalink
Probably taking their moniker from The Movielife album of the same name, California's This Time Next Year unloads five tracks of melodic hardcore meets pop-punk in about 15 minutes on their first demo – titled simply "Demonstration". The CD-R in a somewhat crude xeroxed sleeve may not look like much, but the audio housed within is quite competent on all levels – from the crisply balanced recording to the textbook framework of the songwriting. Expect relatively high-pitched singing over plenty of zippy power chords and simple melodic lead lines layered with chunkier palm-muting riffs and octave chords with just a little bit of underlying dissonance. It's nothing I'd call original, but I'm generally a fan of bands of this nature (like, well, The Movielife) that add a dash of heaviness to their guitar tones to really walk that line between "melodic hardcore" and "pop-punk". It's definitely overtly melodic and catchy, but it's not particularly "poppy" in my opinion, because they're not really laying it on too thick or heading in a sappy direction or any of that shit. I know it won't be for everyone, but I can hang with this stuff for sure, and would definitely be down for hearing a full-length from these cats.
This Time Next Year "Silver Springs"
You can grab a copy of the demo for just $3 on the band's MySpace page, so make the grab if you like what you hear, and keep your eyes out for a proper release later this year.
I'll be honest with you: The odds me of getting a demo CD-R called "Ling Ling" in the mail from a band called Pandamonium packaged in a bright yellow xeroxed sleeve with pictures of mating pandas all over the front cover and actually listening to it? Slim to none. But I looked at the back cover and saw someone playing a Flying V and got the general impression from the photo of the vocalist that this was probably a hardcore band, so I figured what the hell. Then I popped in the disc and a slip of paper fell out of the sleeve dictating that the band contains current and ex-members of Bodies Lay Broken and Hope You Choke, and what do you know? It ain't bad! Five tracks of short, fast, furious, and fun hardcore/punk in barely over five minutes, and that's about it. Expect a raw yet fitting recording that keeps things sounding natural and unpolished; loads of straightforward three-chord hardcore with a minimal amount of slightly slower breaks; yelling vocals with lots of gang backups; and lyrics about being pissed off, breaking shit, setting shit on fire… and zombies. Yep. (No panda lyrics, thankfully.) What more is there to say, really?
Pandamonium "No Expectations"
This one's also a mere $3, so get in touch with the band via MySpace if you're into it.
Another less-than-stellar-looking-though-in-reality-not-bad CD-R demo in a crude xeroxed sleeve comes from French grinders Next on the List, who tear through seven untitled tracks in less than 13 minutes. The recording needs some work in terms of the bass tone sounding a little muddy and the guitars just lacking the meaty force that this particular niche requires (honestly if they'd just fix that damn guitar tone they'd be in pretty good shape), but they've definitely got the whole guttural growls and indecipherable snarls thing down, and I dig the way the writing blends a hardcore/punk backbone with the more aggressive and mangled attributes of contemporary grindcore. It's not just speed, speed, speed, there's a range of tempos present and some of the slower, sludgier rhythms are actually the most promising. There's also a quirky, dissonant edge to some of the riffing that definitely gets me curious as to what these guys are truly capable of. Hopefully they'll start using song titles in the future though, because with no lyrics and no titles, there's really no way in hell to get an idea of what their material's dealing with… though I suspect that they do at least have something to say, as this doesn't give me that senseless gore/violence nonsense sort of impression at all. Not too shabby. We'll see where they take it from here!
Next on the List "Song 4"
Next on the List "Song 7"
I'm not sure how much this one'll set you back, but it's probably pretty cheap on the D.I.Y. tip, so contact the band through MySpace if you're interested.