Since Forever - Welcome to the Nightmare
Record Label: None
Release Date: October 31, 2008
In 1996, post-hardcore icons Texas Is the Reason posed the titular question "Do You Know Who You Are?," purportedly the last words spoken to John Lennon before his untimely passing. It's a question that any group of young, budding pop-punk hopefuls, among them Tennessee's Since Forever, would do well to ask themselves. Since Forever's debut EP, Welcome to the Nightmare suffers from a case of identity crisis that the band will need to address in order to make an impact.
The framework of Since Forever's sound is powerpop with the occasional burst of heavy guitars, very comparable to Mayday Parade, with a few curveballs thrown in, some of which work while the others hinder the continuity of the record. Check out the high flying guitars on the disc's opener "Rule #1 of Sound". They add a welcome atmosphere to what would otherwise be an unexciting pop-punk number and call to mind California flameouts Another Day Late. This style isn't utilized much on the remainder of the EP and it's definitely a bit of a disappointment.
"Comeback of the Century" channels the band's inner New Found Glory, mixing their pop sound with a couple of mini-breakdowns and a gang vocal part. "Champions of Norrath" gives off a little bit of a Taking Back Sunday vibe and includes a ridiculously unnecessary screaming part. In other reviews, I'm absolutely guilty of praising records for their eclecticism, but in this case, I'd choose to describe this EP as unfocused and amateurish. It would pass believably for a sampler disc featuring five different local bands.
That's not to say that it's a complete disaster, there just isn't anything to be excited about here. "Bears, Bears of Cloverfield" hints at some potential, as it's the band's best overall performance, but there's an over-reliance on "whoa-oh's" that can't be overlooked. The simple fact is that Welcome to the Nightmare is not going to break Since Forever into the big time. Their promotion team is sure trying like hell to make it happen, requesting a number of reviews. It's actually a similar approach to the music itself: hoping to get at least one rave review by having everyone under the sun review it is a lot like the band throwing in all sorts of stylistic influences hoping that something will stick. There's a pattern developing, though, as the promotional strategy is proving to be no more successful than the music itself.
This record shows that Since Forever isn't without talent, just without a sense of direction. The world of pop-punk is tough because there are just so many bands out there, and many of them are indistinguishable. On this album, Since Forever don't display any defining qualities that set them apart from any of the other crop of bands trying to make it. Pass on this record, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see good things come from this band in the future.