There comes a point in everyone’s life where their innocence is stripped, and they realize many of the sad realities of our society. Many people turn the other way to how dysfunctional American society can be and enjoy their lives in delicate ignorance, while others stare reality in the face and yell. When Mike Ireland and Kellen Robson of I Am The Avalanche and Eric Fairchild of Crime In Stereo came together as Pass Away to cut their latest album, The Hell I’ve Always Seen, that is exactly what they did. The album reflects the artists’ deepest fears and anxieties about growing up and living in our culture, and shows a more mature side to aging punk rockers.
With heavy guitar riffs and crashing symbols, The Hell I’ve Always Seen is anything but light. However, through all the cryptic lyrics and punk rock growls, there is a glimmer of hope within the music. The lyrics reflect the darkness in the songwriter, while the upbeat, delightfully bright melodies express emerging joy throughout. Through the entire album, the singer seems to struggle with growing older in American society and what it means to conform to a mainstream life. He is depressed about and cannot accept melting into society’s mold, however, the music infers there is still happiness in his life.
The album does not represent teenage angst, as so many other punk rock albums do, but rather a group of matured musicians thinking profoundly about what it’s all about. Filled with regret, fear, and anxiety about life, it draws from those feelings everyone seems to have and asks if that’s what it’s all for. More and more people are forced to be cogs in a giant machine, just growing tired as society slowly drains us, and people don’t tend to ask, “Why?” The Hell I’ve Always Seen questions the reasoning for our societies decline, how we ended up where we are, and what is next, although not always in the most joyful way.
Key Tracks: NOLA, Minus the Care, Brooklyn Sky