My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
– Emily Dickinson
It was pretty much a no-brainer that alt-rock trio, PVRIS, was going to cover some pretty heavy shit on sophomore effort, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell, but we had no idea the magnitude of power it would bring. From delving into the topics of the supernatural on 2014 debut, White Noise, to the band’s current state of cathartic miserablisms, PVRIS continue to show us that our darkest moments are never in vein.
Album opener, “Heaven,” sets the tone for what we’re in for; singer Lynn Gunn exposing her deepest wounds for the world to see as a relationship turned bad takes listeners on a journey of self-discovery darker than the rest. “You took my heaven away,” sings Gunn; a plea for the other person or for God Himself? Definitely one to ponder.
Darker, heavier elements come into play on this record. As the band magnified their already distinctive sound, AWKOHAWNOH carries us into the realms of a hazy mind. “Half” justifies this notion, opening with the lines of, “Some days I feel everything / Others are numbing / Can never find the in-between / It’s all or nothing.”
Album highlight, “Anyone Else,” takes on a more electro-rock theme that has Ellie Goulding collaboration potential written all over it while “What’s Wrong” looks to be an anthem for those dealing with depression and anxiety; for when we’re told we’re too cynical from those who would rather criticize rather than comprehend.
“Walk Alone” showcases Gunn’s killer vocal chops as they contrast from that beloved growl to her sweet falsetto in the span of seconds bringing us into “Same Soul” and the chilling “Winter” – where the cold touch of a love gone sour leaves one gasping for air.
“No Mercy” comes barreling in like the deviant force that it is – no doubt the toughest track on the record with a synthy element added into the production that makes it unforgettable. “Separate” has a certain vibe to it that might remind you of an early Linkin Park track, adding in a haunting yet calm portion to the record right before the finale.
Album closer, “Nola 1,” is a rather surprising turn of sound as Gunn acknowledges her change in character, hinting that a part two might be in store with an updated, new person singing back. Because after all, the breakthroughs of heaven only come to us after we’ve been through hell.
All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell is available now here.