Iwrestledabearonce: Ruining it for Everybody

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Iwrestledabearonce: Ruining it for Everybody
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Iwrestledabearonce: Ruining it for Everybody
Avante-Garde, Deathcore, Experimental Hardcore
Century Media Records
July 26th, 2011
Release length: 31:52
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Of all the bands in the whole Deathcore style, Iwrestledabearonce is perhaps the most unique. The group features a female vocalist, as well as incorporates a stronger Hardcore presence that ultimately leads to a more experimental “-core” sound. Throw in some clean singing as well, and it becomes one of the more original sounds in the scene. While the band has greatly split many listeners apart into the typical It’s Good v. It’s Bad categories, the group has maintained a very strong following, including rehashing their debut full-length not once, but twice through a compilation, and later an EP, that changed up the approach of the music. After pretty much insulting the entire Black Metal style by proclaiming they are “going to their roots” only to prove it a gag, thus further pushing them away from some of the more serious fans of Metal as a whole, the group announced their second full-length studio recording, Ruining it for Everybody, shot a video and released “You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs Real Voice” as the lead single. After preparing myself with hearing that, I braced for the worst. Has this band grown since their previous efforts, or is Ruining it for Everybody just going to be more of the same and leave those who are not fans wishing, if not harder, that the band would just go away already?

The production to the album is good, and there’s no way to deny it works for the band. There’s not much of a heavy sound to the music outside a louder bass presence that gives it a deeper, richer sound that is obvious to the recording. Of course, there’s a good deal of chugging that the guitars manage to handle well with the more mid-pitch sound, having a decent distortion but not quite as low as you would want it to really be. The drums keep the general alive from start to finish and do a decent job at really keeping some of the intensity alive through the more experimental and Avante-Garde style passages. The vocals sound pretty clear from the screaming approach that sounds a little more hollow then you would want, but at least not suffering from the typical cupping-of-the-microphone sound many bands have done in this style, and the clean singing is really good and captured nicely, giving a very innocent performance and vibe that works with the more melodic elements of the off-the-wall sound the band brings.

In all honesty, the album really isn’t that bad once you recognize the music is meant to be more experimental or Avante-Garde. The band does a good job at bringing in these ideas and transitioning nicely most of the time between the different approaches and sounds. “Next Visible Delicious” starts off with a bit of a Techno sound from the keyboards, and while it sounds horrible to start the track, let alone the album off with, the song itself eventually builds to incorporate these more mechanical synths well. The jumping between different Deathcore approaches, typically having a little melody to them, especially around the chorus where the music becomes more of a catchy approach with some slightly beautiful, but more innocent sounding well executed singing, to traditional chugging Deathcore riffs that do capture the deeper input of the bass nicely. This track does bleed into the single “You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs Real Voice”, and after “Next Visible Delicious” sets up the general idea and atmosphere of the album, the track is a lot of more enjoyable then just hearing without that track. There isn’t much of that experimental vibe to this song and feels a little more fluid, which works well, but the random bit of surfing music with seagulls that hits around the half way point before hammering into some impressive blistering double bass kicks and intensity from the band and vocals really does come off very annoying and awkward to the song overall, and the closing really feels different compared to the rest of the track, which is not transitioned into too well either.

It’s that awkwardness to some of the random approaches the band uses that kind of puts the album down a bit. “Deoderant Can’t Fix Ugly” is a decent track that isn’t all that intense and has that techno-like atmosphere from the keyboards that appears in many other songs, but it concludes more with a religious church-going performance that feels more like it’s meant as worship music then anything, and it just doesn’t click with the rest of the song and gives it that kind of awkward feeling when you know you should walk away from something going on you know you shouldn’t really involve yourself with but don’t know if that’s the best course of action to handle the situation. But with this, the more experimental concept and Avante-Garde approach seem dropped a bit. The music takes on a heavier melodic approach that feels slightly along the lines of traditional Gothic Metal with a more Metalcore attitude, and a stronger focus on singing begins with some keyboards that again bring in that techno-like sound to it. “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket” does have a heavier approach at times, but clearly aims at being a little more haunting, and while the vocals work well with the music, overall is just not the most amazing performance, but does display a little more talent from the group, so though it’s not beneficial to the flow of the release, it just give you a little more appreciation for what the band is capable of when not tackling an intense or off-the-wall sound.

Unfortunately, with that really awkward feeling set in from “Deoderant Can’t Fix Ugly”, the album really starts to feel toned down and the rest of the material on the album simply does not have as strong a punch as the first two tracks do, coming off a little bland and generic for female fronted Metal. “Stay to the Right” does a good job getting back into it as it builds back up from the most docile approach and heavier focus on melodic sections and clean singing, but it never really hits that pulse pounding intensity the first two have before “I’m Gonna Shoot” kicks in with that same somber vibe. However, “I’m Gonna Shoot” has a much more appealing slower and melodic sound to it then the rest of the songs, which you actually want to hear more then the heavier material the band can perform, but instead that heavier approach is what makes up a good majority of the song. “Karate Nipples” has some moments to it that are interesting, but overall doesn’t really grab the listener the way some songs can, though the random Disco moment is interesting and actually transitioned into well enough that it feels appropriate to the song.

Sadly, the album is good, but it just becomes a little more generic after a very strong start. The music that follows after “You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs’ Real Voice” isn’t the most impressive, and really just feels like the band tries to bring together two generic sounds from different worlds and put them together. While the songs aren’t bad, it’s hard to get into them as there’s nothing too spectacular about them. Some tracks that appear later on the album are better then others, like “Stay to the “Right” and “Button it Up”, but overall you can’t really help but sit there and be unimpressed by maybe three fifths of the entire album, which for some is pushing it. To call all of it filler is unfair, the band does show some talent in creating something other then an Avante-Garde screaming approach that has a basic fundamental scream-verse, sing-chorus paint-by-numbers structure, but in the end it’s still obvious the band does need to focus on making that material just sound more interesting, passionate, or even energetic. Fans of the band might not be let down, but there’s really not much to really go crazy about for them either way, and this release definitely won’t win over any of the non-fans of the group, though some tracks like “I’m Gonna Shoot” may make their heads turn and give the band a second chance to grow on them. Either way, the album is worth sampling before you rush out and actually buy it and expect a performance that will blow your mind.

01. Next Visible Delicious – 2:40
02. You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs Real Voice – 2:58
03. Deoderant Can’t Fix Ugly – 3:17
04. This Head Music Makes My Eyes Rain – 3:24
05. It is “Bro” Isn’t it? – 2:39
06. Gold Jacket, Green Jacket – 2:24
07. Break It Down Camacho – 2:53
08. Stay to the Right – 2:53
09. I’m Gonna Shoot – 2:37
10. Karate Nipples – 3:06
11. Button It Up – 3:19
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Iwrestledabear (band)
Iwrestledabearonce

Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.