The Screamo Icons’ Renaissance | “Pass the Nirvana” by Pierce the Veil


Norene Bassin, Editor

Content warning: This article contains mentions of suicide, sexual assault, and substance abuse. Reader discretion is advised.


When the clock struck 12 on September 1, I immediately began digging in my closet for my black skinny jeans, band tees, checkered belts, Converse and chunky bracelets. For the first time in six years, Pierce the Veil released a new single! “Pass the Nirvana” marks the band’s long-awaited arrival back onto the scene. While their 2012 hit “King For A Day” featuring Kellin Quinn has resurged in popularity thanks to TikTok, fans old and new can come together and embrace Pierce the Veil’s new sound.


I’ve been waiting since my sophomore year of high school for new Pierce the Veil content. Rejoice, former bullied kids! As my emo phase waned, their return came at just the right time to pull me back in full swing.


On a serious note, one should take into consideration exactly why the band went on hiatus. In 2017, drummer Mike Fuentes, brother of frontman/vocalist Vic Fuentes, was accused of sexual misconduct by an anonymous source. According to NME, the allegations were taken very seriously. Mike quickly parted ways with the band, and they cancelled the remainder of their UK tour for their album Misadventures. Following the sudden loss of a founding member of the band, they collectively took a break from making new music.


After years spent healing themselves and their community of devoted fans, Pierce the Veil has made an incredible comeback with this newest single. With the intensity of the bass line pulling you in at the beginning, it only gets better as they experiment with a different sound. However, that doesn’t mean they abandoned their roots. “Pass the Nirvana” has a noticeable alternative rock influence, which strays from their usual post-hardcore pop punk sound. The beginning riff immediately reminds me of the iconic riff from “Shine” by Collective Soul, with a bit of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant.



Vic’s lyricism has been so beautifully haunting on every album thus far, and he’s yet to disappoint. He may never be able to top the artistry of “A Match into Water” — a personal favorite of mine — with lines like “If we die at the same time, does it still scare you,” but wow, does it get heavy. The sudden fluctuation between the intense screaming chorus and laid-back verses keeps you on your toes, forcing you to feel the instability of life described in the lyrics. The song discusses the pain of watching a loved one go through substance abuse and the decline in mental health that follows. Specifically, the song mentions the struggles faced in low-income communities:


“Pennywise fashion on a sad Skid Row /

A gentrified neighborhood of blood-soaked homes /

Draw the lines a little further now we’re coming back to get you.”


However, the singer’s perspective says that he’s struggling too. The song discusses how the fight against addiction isn’t one that can be taken lying down; it’s an active battle where you have to be ready to take the punches. He’s trying to help someone else, but at the same time is wanting to give up on himself. The end of the song is especially heart-wrenching:


“I can’t shine to save my life /

But I’ll feel through the dark without you /

I set fires ablaze inside /

And stepped into the light to blind you.”


Those last few words paint a sad picture tinged with vengeance— the type of artistry we’ve come to expect from Pierce the Veil. This single was everything I wanted and everything I didn’t know I needed. If more songs like this are what fans should expect on their upcoming album, then I can’t wait for its release.