iwrestledabearonce - It's All Happening
Release Date: June 2nd 2009
Record Label: Century Media
Iwrestledabearonce is an electro-grind band from Louisiana. Their album It’s All Happening is the first full length album they have recorded, alongside a self-titled EP.
The first thing that distinguishes iwrestledabearonce from a lot of other metal acts is the fact that they are fronted by a female singer. At first listen this is an astonishing fact. This girl (Krysta Cameron) screams better than most men do, and she has the singing chops to match that ability. The next thing is the fact that despite all amounts of musical ability present here, they’re really damn weird. The final distinguishing factor is that despite how goofy they may be, they have some serious musical ability. The guitars are far above average, and the ambient electronic elements that they use never feel rehashed or boring.
Describing iwabo’s sound is no easy feat. They have dance-tinged grindcore that also contains elements of jazz, pop, and metalcore. It can't really be described cohesively as a whole, so a breakdown of all the highlights might be better. Cameron is the thing to focus attention on, as she displays not only the ability to scream, but also to death growl, pig squeal, and roar (like a bear!) with an amazing level of range. On top of that, she has a clean singing voice that is better than most artists who devote their entire act on singing.
The guitarists manage to meld the chug-chug riffage of metalcore with the intricate time signature changes of grindcore and mathcore, with the ability to solo like a rock band, and being able to hammer on and pull off to create lightning fast riffs, akin to the guitarist of Psyopus, but in a controlled, tolerable manner. This somehow comes together in the end, and it is truly amazing.
The keyboards and sampling effects are what give this band all their quirkiness and charm. The keyboards manage to layer the songs with an electronic backdrop that would be dance-able on its own, while use of piano and synthesizers add even more to the eclectic mix. The songs often incorporate incredibly goofy moments by using samples such a horse neighing or a rodeo horn. Sound weird? It is, but it works in the grand scheme of things.
The album wastes no time in immediately kicking you in the head, and opens up with the album single "You Ain't No Family." The songs begins with a little guitar, and then the vocals blast in. Around the same time, the guitar goes from a chugging metal riff to the technical riffs of bands like Psyopus. The song rushes on with minor breaks for singing passages, reaching its climax with a straight up rodeo hoe-down. Yeah, its goofy. Songs like "Danger In The Manger" are more straightforward mathcore with lightning fast guitar and guttural screaming. There’s even a jazz break. There’s always a jazz break in mathcore.
The best song here is definitely "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon," which for the first minute and a half is a more than competent metal song, but really hits its stride after a harp-and-horn interlude and goes full on into an amazing breakdown. Varied guitars and great use of synths make this a song that just never lets up or gets boring.
"The Cat’s Pajamas" is another highlight, and it features almost all clean vocals. Listening to Cameron’s range for a full song is amazing, and its accentuated by the spacy guitar riff that backs it. It even has a badass breakdown about two minutes in.
"Pazuzu For The Win" is probably the most technical song, using lots of different time signatures and complicated harmonies. It is also probably the heaviest song on the album, showing just how many different ways Cameron can scream.
The other songs follow more or less a similar formula, in that its so unpredictable, all the songs have clashing elements that blend genres in ways that shouldn’t work. The amazing thing is, it works, and is pulled off in entertaining manner. There are some filler songs here, like "Black Eyed Bush," which is basically an interlude. It's essentially an instrumental with some indistinguishable singing thrown in for ambience. This is followed by "Eli Cash and the Godless Savages," which is good enough until it attempts to break into samba territory, which just kills its momentum. Other than that, they are all extremely enjoyable tracks and show no real weakness.
If you’re looking for something different, then iwrestledabearonce is definitely for you. If your looking for some good metal, you also cant go wrong. This album boasts ten tracks of amazing diversity and craziness that can easily hook the listener.
creativity might be high, but seriously, anyone who's listened to this album (or this band in general) has to agree there is a ton of diversity on it. Most of it works very well, which is why I enjoy this band as much as I do.
When I saw them w/ ABR, every song seemed to have the same structure: Krysta would sing pretty, leading into a pig squeal, another stint of singing, and finishing off with a breakdown. I will say that I'm sure I would get at least a slightly different impression if I actually listened to the cd.