The third season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands is just around the corner and fans cannot wait for the kind of talent it will unleash this season. On May 11, Pepsi held the album launch for winners and runners-up of the second season Kashmir and Badnaam respectively. The event took place at Avari Towers in Karachi and was a success signaling that the upcoming debut albums of both the bands will be promising. One of the songs, Pareshaniyanm, which is part of Kashmir’s debut album, was released in audio format on the band’s official Sound Cloud and YouTube on the same day. Atif Aslam rightly said that this band’s music is unpredictable. Pareshaniyan is an ordinary track or a track one would forget but one has to listen to it over and over again till they can finally understand and connect with it. The funky sound of the instruments creates a unique combination with Bilal Ali’s (the lead vocalist) vocals because the lyrics are just so emotional and a hard take on life but giving one hope at the same time. Although Badnaam didn’t manage to win the second season of Pespi Battle of the Bands, they surely have won a lot of hearts with their music. Their Sufi head banging sound is their identity and that is what they portray with Aik Noktay, one of the songs from their upcoming album Khawab, another track from Kashmir’s upcoming album, was released the next day in audio format on the band’s official Sound Cloud and YouTube. It displays how mature the band has become. Khawab, like Pareshaniyan, is a hard take on life. It’s hard to decide which one is better but one thing is for sure, Kashmir’s upcoming album will be worth the wait. The band which comprises Bilal Ali on vocals, Usman Siddiqui on bass, Ali Raza on piano/synth, Zair Zaki on rhythm guitar, Vais Khan on lead guitar and Shane J Anthony on drums is off to a wonderful start on the mainstream music scene. Although Badnaam didn’t manage to win the second season of Pespi Battle of the Bands, they surely have won a lot of hearts with their music. Their Sufi head banging sound is their identity and that is what they portray with Aik Noktay, one of the songs from their upcoming album. It is a special song because it can be listened to in ubiquitous environments whether one is frustrated, happy or any other mood and it shows how Ahmed Jillani, the vocalist of the band, is a powerhouse. The trio which comprises Jillani along with bassist Raheem Shahbaz (Sunny) and Muhammad Ahsan (Lala) don’t even sound like just three because they literally shake up the room, not an easy thing to pull off with just three men, but Badnaam makes it look like child’s play. Both songs were released on the band’s official Sound Cloud in audio format. Zindagi is another wonderful track from the Sufi force that is Badnaam. It reminds you of Pakistani music back in the 1990s and the early 2000s while retaining Badnaam’s uniqueness at the same time. If the first two songs from the band’s upcoming album are Aik Noktay and Zindagi, the bar has been set way too high. With songs like Pareshaniyan and Khawab from Kashmir and Aik Noktay and Zindagi from Badnaam, both bands have shown that they have come a long way since Pepsi Battle of the Bands and with the amount of transformation both have displayed, it seems like the second season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands took place years ago. The songs of both the bands which have been released from their upcoming debut albums are also available in audio format on Pepsi Battle of the Bands official website. The upcoming debut albums of both Kashmir and Badnaam will surely be worth the wait. Published in Daily Times, May 18th 2018.