Review by Dan Perks
IWrestledABearOnce have one of the best band names ever, fact. The name implies a level of craziness that most people wouldn’t understand. Imagine wrestling a 400-pound monster that, if it wanted to, could kill you with its face. It’s a terrifying thought. There is a softer side to bears though. The stereotypical Teddy bear is soft, comforting and a symbol of various emotions. IWrestledABearOnce have mastered the art of mixing all of these feelings into a maelstrom of sonic chaos. After becoming fairly jaded with the ‘metalcore’ genre as of late, Late for Nothing has come as a welcome reminder of the potential within the genre. There are so many things that stand out on this album.
As any IWABO fan knows, an eclectic mix of hardcore-esque riffs, lounge-style funky breakdowns, electro synths and frantic blast-beat drums layered under dry screams and mezzo-soprano choruses make up the bands distinctive sound. Iwrestledabearonce have continued to use this mind-boggling blend of influences to great effect on Late for Nothing. The first track on the album ‘Thunder Chunky’ is a solid flagship for the band’s sound. The intro wouldn’t be out of place on an 80’s Nintendo game. Thunder chunky is perfectly apt name for this barrage of thunderous drumming and chunky riffs. The song changes pace constantly. Hardcore style fast riffs give way to blast beat drumming before dropping into a really funky breakdown that will have you throwing shapes instead of throwing down.
This chopping and changing throughout the album keeps everything fresh and interesting. Even the subtle touches are ear-catching; the synths for example fade from harmonic nuances to prominent rhythms. The most striking thing about this is new vocalist Courtney LaPlante’s vocals. Compared to previous records the vocals are a lot stronger. When required to be heavy, Courtney provides a dry guttural scream that could easily scare a bear away fearing for its life. It’s the harmonic vocal patterns though that has had the biggest overhaul. LaPlante has a strong mezzo-soprano voice that defines the catchier vocal hooks much better than on previous records. Some of my favourite vocal sections on the album come from the track ‘I’d Buy That For A Dollar’. The track starts with a swirl of sweep picked guitars and restless drums before growing an almost tech-death verse. The chorus of ‘You Catch Me Armed To Teeth, I Will Be The Last One Standing’ is infectiously catchy and when combined with the subtle rave synths it becomes huge.
Late for Nothing is a massive leap for IWrestledABearOnce. The arrangements and production are a much more developed and prominent. Every element in the IWABO sound is now superbly placed and cuts through right when its needed. If you’re not a fan of the band then this is the album to convert you, if you already own the band’s back catalogue then this is every bit the album you want it to be.
9 out of 10
- Thunder Chunky
- Letters To Stallone
- Snake Charmer
- Boat Paddle
- Mind The Gap
- Carnage Asada
- The Map
- That’s A Horse Of A Different Color
- I’d Buy That For A Dollar
- Inside Job
- It Don’t Make Me No Nevermind