As It Is – I WENT TO HELL & BACK (Album Review)

As It Is – I Went To Hell And Back
Released: 4 February 2022 

Lineup:

Patty Walters | vocals, guitar
Alistair Testo | bass, vocals
Ronnie Ish | guitar, vocals
Maxx Danziger | drums (touring only)

Online:

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Official Website

It’s been a number of years since we’ve had an album from As It Is, and a lot has happened in that time — Patty Walters got married to his long time partner, Dottie, Patrick Foley left the band to live out his childhood career dream of being a firefighter and then we’ve got the obvious one being the pandemic. But thankfully, they’re back and coming back in strong as they always do.

I Went To Hell And Back is hitting that pop punk vibe that we all crave in life so effortlessly that it proves this band is not only a force to be reckoned with, but affirms this is really where they belong and exactly what they should be doing in life. This album is one that has a certain flow to it while shifting it’s style midway through, yet not in a way that will put off any listeners, old or new. 

‘IDGAF’ opens up the album and it’s the classic sound that As It Is have usually put forth in previous releases, from their very first record, through the evolutions to now. The lyrics are angsty and full of emotions that I’m sure most of us have been able to relate to at some stage of our lives. Next is ‘I Lie to Me’ and ‘How Are You and these are both again, following that classic sound that I spoke of, however the next track that I want to talk about is ‘IDC, I Can’t Take It. It’s so catchy and upbeat even though the lyrics are the complete opposite of the sound which is probably one of my favourite things musically since it’s just so ironic. But the guitar rhythm and drum line is just one that you really can’t get out of your head and I feel that it shows off the talent that this trio have individually at some stage because it’s not always every instrument being played all at once, it almost slowly adds them one by one before blending into the perfect dynamic that shines through in the chorus. 

I Miss 2003′ has been out for a little while now as it was the first single to be released so I won’t touch too much on that song because I’m sure many of you have heard it by this stage, however I will say that it is incredibly relatable and I’m sure that most of us know the feeling of missing those younger years. While I can’t personally relate to missing 2003 itself since I was in year 3 and about 8 years old — I still feel that I can relate to the lyrics which I think is so important since not everyone will relate to whatever year it is, but the lyrics are what will stick with people the longest. 

‘In Threes’ is another of my favourites off the record. It’s such a dark, sharp, edgy track that just draws in my attention and I feel as if this is a new style that the band explored and I really love it. I don’t feel like I’ve ever heard such a sharp sound from them without some form of rhythm that’s constantly playing out in the background. This is one of the tracks that I feel shows a bit of a shift and that the band have changed slightly in a good way. It’s almost as if there has been new inspirations that have been drawn on during the making of this record and they’ve come up with both traditional As It Is rhythms but also new things I really wasn’t expecting them this release.

I Can’t Feel A Thing is another perfect example of this. It starts out with quite a synth-filled beginning and it continues throughout the chorus and I would have never expected to hear anything like this from the trio but it makes me want more. It is still so rock heavy but it is almost so synth pop that it’s a completely different genre, yet it has been so well done that it still works. As It Is are so capable of exploring new sounds, styles and vocalisations in such an effortless manner that I really am drawn in and although this album has just been released, I want more. I know that so many of these tracks are going to be stuck in my head for days and I already want to hear more, so hopefully they release a deluxe edition or extended edition because I would adore that too. The highs and lows of this record don’t make it feel slow or boring. It’s perfectly placed so that any slower tracks are sandwiched between fast, upbeat and exciting ones so it flows perfectly. 

The versatility that is shown throughout not only this record, but the years from As It Is, makes me not only keep coming back to listen to them regularly, but it invites new fans with each release and I can see them growing massively in the next few years. I know that I’ve mentioned it a few times but I wouldn’t mention it if I didn’t back it. I know this time I haven’t been as descriptive about how the songs sound and I’ve spoken about the lyrics a fair amount, but with this particular record as opposed to their others, it’s not as much the sound that is standing out to me, which isn’t intended in a backhanded or rude way — it is just that when I think of this album, I’m finding myself singing the songs in my head, not humming the tune, which I think is powerful that the lyrics have stuck more and why I have rated I Went To Hell And Back a 7/10. 

As It Is – I WENT TO HELL & BACK tracklisting:

1. IDGAF
2. I Lie To Me
3. ILY, How Are You
4. IDC, I Can’t Take It
5. I’d Rather Die
6. I Miss 2003
7. I’m Sick And Tired
8. … I Want To See God
9. In Threes (featuring Set It Off & JordyPurp)
10. I Hate Me Too
11. I’m Gone
12. I Die 1000x
13. I Can’t Feel A Thing
14. I Went To Hell And Back

Rating: 7/10
I WENT TO HELL & BACK is out now via Fearless Records. Listen here
Written by Heather McNab

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