Released December 3rd, 2012
Genre: Punk, Post-Hardcore, Screamo
Stone Cold Stunner
Old Problems are a post-hardcore/screamo project from San Marcos Texas consisting of Matthew Scaggs, Cameron Barber, Andrew Gossen, and Lodin Fortenberry. This is, as far as I know, their only release and it’s a fairly strong start to their career. The instrumentals on this thing are well executed and the vocals are diverse, with a combination of yelling, screaming, and nice clean singing.
My favorite part of this demo, without a doubt, are the instruments. The twinkling guitars in contrast with the abrasive vocal style makes the songs a joy to listen to and the tone of the drums and bass are great. The playing on this demo is simple most of the time, but some technical portions add more to the depths of the songs.
The intro to Stone Cold Stunner gives off a very Sigur Rós-esque vibe with volume swells and slight distortion. Almost immediately the song smashes into a faster tempo with the drummer playing probably my favorite rhythm on the whole demo, and the guitars thrashing out a chord progression underlining the powerful screaming. There’s a transition into a section with clean vocals yelling “Do you miss me all the time, when you open and shut your green eyes?”
The lyrics on this track are effective, although simple. My favorite lyrics from this track are “I try to keep my head from shipwreck, but these old problems just came flooding back” They’re the most unique in the song and the way they’re executed gives them much more weight.
Handwriting, the next track is much more technical than the previous song. There are various tempo and structural changes which make things interesting and there’s even a spoken word section which switches things up. The lyrics in this song are about on par with the previous with maybe a little more to be desired. My favorite line in this track is “I hate these gray clouds. I guess I’ll hide from the rain,” although the previous lyric “Watching A New Hope with my roommate is what keeps me sane” seems a bit unorthodox. My only gripes with the song is a weird transition into a drum fill during the line “You’re not the person I knew last year.” It just feels off from the rest of the song.
Pipe Dreams is my favorite song on this demo. It starts off with a crisp, clean guitar which is my favorite instrumental section on this thing. The vocals start off as a scream and switch to sort of a yell. There are multiple tempo and structural changes which add a nice diversity to the track and the lyrics are a significant improvement over the first two songs. The lyrics “Reclusive and empty feels right for me. All of our old pictures are torn. They’ve been weighing on me for too long” are the best I’ve heard from the band.
The closer, Silver Medal is the longest and most melodic song on this demo. Behind all the screaming during the chorus the lyrics “It is too bad that our bodies will die so long before their time” are sung in a chant. The song’s lyrics are above the quality of Stone Cold Stunner and Handwriting and just bellow Pipe Dreams. “I wonder what you talk about with him. I was such a stupid kid, always saying things I never meant” are probably some of the most relatable lyrics on here and it’s definitely one of the strongest tracks on this demo.
This is a great start to a very promising band and I’m looking forward to hearing more from them. Their skill as musicians is enough to keep me hooked and if they improve upon their current lyrical prowess then this Old Problems will definitely remain at the top of my list of favorite underground post-hardcore/screamo outfits.
FAV TRACKS: PIPE DREAMS, SILVER MEDAL
LEAST FAV TRACKS: HANDWRITTEN