iwrestledabearonce: Ruining it for Everybody Reviewed

The newer stuff I’ve been listening to like The HAARP Machine and Gojira are fairly mainstream and have been reviewed many times in the blogosphere. I want to get back to the motivation for the blog and avoid duplicating reviews of this sort. My attempt will be to start posting about more obscure and avant metal bands. This might mean I reach back a little.

A band that defies all classification is iwrestledabearonce. I’ll do a review of Ruining it for Everybody which came out in July of 2011. Let’s start with what is easily my favorite part of this band. The vocalist, Krysta Cameron, has a truly disturbing range of capabilities. She is basically a female Mike Patton in my mind.

Sometimes her vocals are so brutal I can’t fathom how she doesn’t just scream them out of her throat. Then in an instant she’ll switch over to beautiful, melodic, clean singing. The next instant somehow she sounds just like Roy Orbison or Elvis. She can evoke very early rock styles, modern metal, or clean operatic singing with ease.

It is not only her vocals that go through these styles, the band sound also runs through them as well. This is quite impressive. A single song can have power ballad climaxes, early Dillinger Escape Plan level heavy chaos, and fun southern bluegrass music. I really do love all this, but out of the instrumental part of the band the part I think is most successful is their incorporation of electronics into a tech metal sound.

I hate to say this, but to me there are lots of parts of this album that sound exactly like what Born of Osiris probably sounds like to people who actually like them. When I reviewed BoO I said they had fantastic ideas, but they weren’t executed properly. A lot of the fun electronic elements of iwrestledabearonce are incredibly similar, but executed to perfection.

As for song composition and other elements of music theory I look for in a good metal band, I have to say they fall a little short here in my mind. The songs are awesome, schizophrenic masterpieces, but they can’t really be thought of as well-developed. It sometimes feels like they throw in as many different styles as possible to create this fast-changing collage of sounds just to continue to defy convention.

Having a song made up of tons of short unrelated segments is basically the opposite of developing a musical idea. Still, it works for them. It makes awesome, confusing, original songs that take a lot of listens to get your head around. The end of the album turns a little more towards standard djent, which is disappointing, but overall this album is a must for any fan of avant metal or mathcore. To me the price of the album is worth it just to hear Krysta’s great extended vocal technique.

I give the album an 8/10. Here is a sample:

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