Iwrestledabearonce
Hail Mary


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chris Maitland USER (49 Reviews)
June 23rd, 2015 | 54 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Metal's resident goofballs grow up.

Since arriving on the scene with their self-released, self-titled EP in 2007, iwrestledabearonce has developed a reputation as the biggest goofballs in metal. A majority of their song titles are either obscure pop culture references or cheap jokes (ex: "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon" and "Karate Nipples",) their songs heavily featured unexpected forays into weird genres such as disco and lounge music, and all of their music videos are loaded with immature humor. On their fourth album, Hail Mary, iwrestledabearonce takes themselves completely seriously for the first time in career and that change in tone allows them to craft the most cohesive album of their career so far.

Anyone who has heard any of iwrestledabearonce's music before will be completely thrown off by Hail Mary. The variations of metal/deathcore they've played on their previous three albums has been swapped out for an ultra-technical chaotic mathcore sound that is reminiscent of acts like The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and The Number Twelve Looks Like You. This change in style suits them remarkably well and allows them to write the most complex and focused material they've ever created. Save for the fully clean-sung and melodic "Doomed to Fail Part 2", Hail Mary is a gut punch of an album that hardly ever lets up for the duration of the 45-minute runtime. Guitarists Steven Bradley and Mike Stringer drop a constant stream of dizzying leads and punishing grooves that absolutely pummel the listener. Even when they came up for a moment on songs like "Trips", "Green Eyes" and the album's centerpiece track "Doomed to Fail Part I", the breakneck intensity doesn't ever really go away. Guitarwork this consistently technical can get old after a while, but Bradley and Stringer do an excellent job of keeping things fresh by constantly switching the riffs up. The duo hardly stick to same riff or tempo for more than 10-15 seconds at a time and that brilliant musical A.D.D. plays a large role in making Hail Mary such an invigorating listen.

iwrestleabearonce's new sound is further solidified by the performance of vocalist Courtney LaPlante. LaPlante joined the band during the writing cycle for their last record, 2013's Late for Nothing, after the sudden departure of Krysta Cameron right before their appearance on Warped Tour 2012. While LaPlante did a more than respectable job on Late for Nothing, it was clear when listening to the record that she was still trying to develop a rapport with the band. Based on her excellent work here, it's safe to say that adjustment period is over. Hail Mary is the first record where LaPlante had the chance to fully immerse herself in the writing process and it shows in the confidence and quality of her performance. Her high and low screams are nothing short of commanding and she does an excellent job of matching the frantic nature of the music with her equally manic delivery. Her clean vocals, which was her Achilles' heel on Late for Nothing, are also greatly improved. While her clean vocals are used much more sparingly here(only five of the 14 songs on this record feature clean vocals,) she delivers chillingly beautiful vocals every time she's called upon to sing. Any doubt that LaPointe wasn't a good fit for the band or an apt replacement for Cameron should be silenced after hearing her powerhouse performance on Hail Mary.

Hail Mary is a textbook example of a band using a sound overhaul to find themselves as a group. They showed flashes of real potential and garnered some serious laughs from time to time with their over-the-top goofy sound in the past, but iwrestledabearonce has never sounded as fluid or precise as they do on Hail Mary. Dropping their absurdest sense of humor and embracing their dark, serious side is without question the band has ever made in their eight-year history and if they keep on this track, Hail Mary should be only the first of many standout releases for iwrestledabearonce.



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user ratings (133)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
cmaitland421
June 23rd 2015


408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You know the drill by now. Comments/feedback are greatly appreciated and thanks to anyone who takes the time to check this out

MyNameIsPencil
June 23rd 2015


5369 Comments


More like I wanna wrestle with the leader singer HIHO.


Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2015


14605 Comments


Just checked 2 tracks off this, interesting

Posd

Digging: Camel - Mirage

YakNips
June 23rd 2015


19902 Comments


"grow up" aka stop being fun to listen to

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2015


16359 Comments


this band used to be dog shit are you saying they might be good now?

Digging: Crimeapple - Viridi Panem

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
June 23rd 2015


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"for more 10-15 than second"



for more than 10-15 seconds* just some light jumbling there



The first single didnt impress me, but the next two did. Need to check this.

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
June 23rd 2015


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

for real tho when did the singer get so attractive, like she was weird and quirky looking (in a not totally unattractive way) when I saw them live right after she joined and during the last album cycle



she got straight sexy judging from the music videos and the promo pics and her pipes got way better

YakNips
June 23rd 2015


19902 Comments


why does that matter at all

Son of Mr. Pain
June 23rd 2015


24951 Comments


Yeah, forreal. Band sucks either way.

Nocturnalize
June 23rd 2015


2463 Comments


Yeah this rules this band finally realized their potential they always had talent but they finally took themselves seriously and reinvented themselves in the best way possible.

This album just crushes and sick review man.

cmaitland421
June 23rd 2015


408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"this band used to be dog shit are you saying they might be good now?"



That is exactly what I'm saying. However, their sound is definitely not for everyone.

BallsToTheWall
June 23rd 2015


49826 Comments


"grow up" aka stop being fun to listen to
(2)

Digging: Great Master - Skull and Bones

cmaitland421
June 23rd 2015


408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

IMO, they're way more fun to listen to now than they were in the past.

DjentyNerdo
June 23rd 2015


258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Good review, but those vocals are god awful.

SomeGuyDude
June 23rd 2015


374 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I will never understand the hate for this band. Great review, and this might be my favorite album of theirs. Sure, they lost the balls-out silliness of It's All Happening or Ruining, but the songwriting is more consistent. It's like if Danza were more playful.

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
June 23rd 2015


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"why does that matter at all"



it doesnt, just a stray observation but thx for that sweetness

Ben H
June 24th 2015


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I went in with low expectations since their last two albums were incredibly disappointing. This is a massive improvement. Very different sound... but I dig it.



1st Half of the Album: 3

2nd Half of the Album: 5



Favorite Track: Man of Virtue

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
June 24th 2015


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so yeah this album is actually really good



probably their best yet

VanFullOfSpooks
July 1st 2015


28 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I never really listened to their old stuff since it was all over the place (not in a good way like Candiria) but man this new album is GREAT! I highly recommend this album, it honestly just gets better as you go through it!

Asdfp277
July 25th 2015


21722 Comments


Underrated band.



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