I haven’t been excited enough about anything recently, so I haven’t been able to bring myself to do a review. In order to not completely fall off the map I’ll give you some of my preliminary thoughts on the new iwrestledabearonce. This band is known for being really weird and silly at times. They frantically switch between all sorts of genres. In the past, I’ve been somewhat critical of the fact that their songwriting is a bit immature because it doesn’t develop ideas but rather just smashes things together at random.
On the other hand, their strange blending of genres and silliness is really what makes them a band worth listening to. It is what makes them different and interesting. Unfortunately, the new album, Late for Nothing, really tones this aspect down. The songwriting is certainly more developed and mature than their previous releases. It comes at a cost, though. I consistently find myself thinking that I could get this type of stuff from tons of other bands.
I’ve lost a sense of why I should be interested in what they’re doing. It is true that they still do mash-up a bunch of different metal subgenres, but they are very related genres now. Gone are the bluegrass breakdowns. I can’t really tell what new thing they are bringing to the table anymore.
That being said, whatever we want to call this new direction they definitely do some things well. For the most part, they stick inside of mathcore with some electronica flourishes here and there. At times they bump up against something that is closer to metalcore or deathcore. At other times, they become dance metal (I just made up that term, but it seems to fit).
To me, the place where this album shines is when they forget about all the extra stuff like mashing genres and the electronica and just make a really sickeningly heavy mathcore section. I think if they aren’t going to be as ridiculous as before and want to be a “serious” band, then they should just go pure mathcore or at least write full songs in individual genres. Here is a perfect example. Take the song Carnage Asada (hopefully I’ll get a link below).
The opening is some amazing mathcore and atonal stuff. It would be wonderful to hear the ideas in the opening expanded out into a full song. Instead, that idea essentially disappears forever once it switches to the melodic part. Then we get some stock melodic part that I could do without. It isn’t terrible, but isn’t all that interesting either. Then we move to what is pretty awesome guitar solo work (over a piano swing background!). Again, I would love to hear that idea fleshed out and developed into a whole song on its own. But once we move on from it, it disappears again (to be fair it is quoted later, but not fully brought back).
It is almost paradoxical, but what used to make them interesting by smashing a bunch of unrelated things together is the thing that now makes them somewhat uninteresting. I think they have some truly magnificent ideas inside of what they are doing. They are trying to straddle this line between what they used to do and becoming a more mainstream sounding metal band which is hurting them. If they just jump over the line and cut all the schizophrenic rapid changes and develop these great ideas they would be making new, interesting music that would greatly advance the genre. It would also allow them to cut what seems to be filler.
Overall, I’d say they have some great ideas pasted together with some generic sounding stuff which just doesn’t get me too excited. I’ll give this a 7/10. I’m still in preliminary stages of listening, so this is subject to change.
Here’s a sample. Unfortunately I couldn’t find Carnage Asada from above: