As It Is

I Went To Hell And Back

Written by: PP on 24/02/2022 22:58:12

The longer we push into the social media era, the more mental health issues have started moving up from discussion forums into mainstream media. The increased attention has made it less of a taboo to talk about and has put focus on just how many people are feeling despair and hopelessness in today's world of Instagram perfection. For the bubblegum pop punkers As It Is, the pandemic-induced lockdown appears to have triggered some serious self-depreciation issues within vocalist Patty Walters, resulting in a radically different fourth album, the appropriately titled "I Went To Hell And Back". It offers an incredibly brave and honest, introspective walkthrough of what it feels like to have a depression that doesn't feel like it's ever going to end.

Where the band previously specialized in bright, summery pop punk anthems with the occasional easycore breakdown thrown in for good measure, "I Went To Hell And Back" introduces a neon-coloured soundscape of scene-laden electronics and A Day To Remember-esque heavy melodies instead. On initial listen, older fans will be more like what the hell and longtime critics like yours truly are like way to chase the trendy mainstream, but upon closer inspection to the lyrical universe you'll find some true insights on what people struggling with mental health issues are facing. The hopelessness in a song like "I Lie To Me" is staggering:

"I lie to me, yeah I lie to me

I say everything's gonna be alright like I'm that naive

Just try to breathe (try to breathe)

And get some fucking sleep (fucking sleep)

Think better things

'Til the black and white start to saturate (start to saturate)

The dark lyrical universe continues on "ILY How Are You" with lines like "You smile but your eyes / They scream 'ignore me' / White lies, blue skies / But the rain is pouring down", highlighting just how beaten down Walters is feeling on the inside. It's a brutal experience to listen to as pessimistic of a lyrical universe as the one on songs like "I Hate Me Too" or "I'd Rather Die". Even the most emotional bands within emo and post-hardcore don't usually reach this deep into their self-image and mental state in as honest fashion as As It Is do here.

Sure, some songs on "The Great Depression" hinted at a darker approach stylistically, but few fans were expecting something as gray and misery-inducing as this album. It's almost as if the band has reinvented itself stylistically on this album, and while it's easy to dismiss the new soundscape as overproduced and fake-sounding, the piercing lyrical content and the catchy songwriting pull it through in a spectacular manner. With pop punk undertones mixed into a distinct emo/post-hardcore platform, "I Went To Hell And Back" presents a way to channel your mental health issues into something positive and makes you feel like you're not alone. Best of all - the songs are infectiously catchy despite their bleak content.

8

Download: I Lie To Me, I'd Rather Die, I Hate Me Too, ILY How Are You, I Miss 2003, I'm Sick And Tired
For the fans of: A Day To Remember, Youth Fountain, Hawthorne Heights
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.02.2022
Fearless Records

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