Album: Late For Nothing
Label: Century Media
Iwrestledabearonce have spent more than half a decade redefining what it means to be an envelope pushing band in the world of metal, and to this day they still don’t take themselves all that seriously. Their new album, however, is no laughing matter. In fact, it may just be the best heavy release of the year.
When IWABO first emerged on the music scene back in 2007 it was anyone’s guess as to how their sound would evolve over time. Their debut EP was recorded on the floor of a dirty bedroom with assistance from a drum machine, but it was more than enough to propel them to the national stage. It’s All Happening built on the ideas found on that release without reinventing the wheel altogether, and 2009’s Ruining It For Everybody found the group further refining their sound while simultaneously beginning to explore more straightforward songwriting. Now, complete with the addition of new vocalist Courtney LaPlante, IWABO emerge from the studio with an album that sheds all remaining slack and delivers one of the strongest collections of songs to surface in recent memory.
Kicking things off with “Thunder Chunky,” it doesn’t take long to realize Late For Nothing is about a mile-and-a-half ahead of anything found in the band’s back catalog. The sense that anything can happen at any time is as present as ever, but the band has opted to cut out what many considered humorous interludes and replaced them with driving, technical guitar. I’m sure there will be some who cry foul at this evolution, but IWABO was bound to grow up a bit eventually, right?
As Late For Nothing begins to sink its teeth into your ear canal, it’s the hauntingly beautiful vocals of LaPlante that takes center stage. Her presence feels natural, and on songs like “Boat Paddle” or “I’d Buy That For A Dollar” takes the band to sonic realms previously unexplored with former vocalist Krysta Cameron. I won’t go as far as to say LaPlante is superior to Cameron, but I will say I think IWABO have a much brighter future with her on board. Even though she wasn’t involved in this album from the beginning she undoubtedly made it hers, which can only mean the next release will find her talents pairing even better with her bandmates.
Musically speaking, Late For Nothing is in a league all its own. The riffs are faster, the drums hit harder, the tapping is more elaborate, and perhaps most impressive of all is that IWABO managed to do this while also pushing their songwriting forward. There are no real hooks, per se, but Late For Nothing at times packs a lyrical punch just as intense as the music accompanying LaPlante’s ferocious voice. It’s not about creating the wildest song you’ve ever heard, but rather delivering something that is jarring-yet-enjoyable. IWABO find the perfect groove to do just that early on and never let up until the final notes of “It Don’t Make Me No Nevermind” ring out.
As with every IWABO release, attempting to pick apart Late For Nothing track-by-track would be a disservice to the band and readers. The music of Iwrestledabearonce is meant to be experienced in full, with your heartbeat matching the bass drum and sweat forming on your brow from the pit you couldn’t resist starting. To act as if they have ever recorded a song for the purpose of being a stand-alone track would be to showcase a complete lack of understanding towards what it is this band accomplishes in their music. IWABO are masters of controlled chaos, and Late For Nothing proves they are at the top of their game.
Late For Nothing is one of the best albums you will experience in 2013. Period.
Review written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)