In 2009 people often wonder what is going to be next in the evolution of heavy music. While some continue to push the boundaries into extreme, some have come to flirt with adding elements of electro to attempt to blend a new creation which isn’t exactly all that new. In the case of Louisiana’s IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, they have taken the elements of Math Metal and Electro and combined them with FAITH NO MORE / GLASSJAW elements and given us their Century Media offering, It’s All Happening. When a band comes at you with a name such as IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, you probably don’t know what to expect until you actually give them a chance. While the choices for song titles have run their course at this point, IWABO have decided to get clever with their selection and while not being overly pompous and not overusing 4-syllable words, they display a clever element in titles.

The album starts off with the first single “You Ain’t No Family” which when followed by “White Water In The Morning” you are given the full ensemble of what to expect over the course of the 34-minute listen. Complete with country fried breakdowns (You Ain’t No Family), a duelling banjo intro (Danger In The Manger), and a casio sounding verse for “Tastes Like Kevn Bacon” complete with bear growl vocals from Krysta Cameron, your ears are taken on a sonic journey musically which is a welcome element to IWABO.

Unfortunately by the time you hit Tracks 6 and 8, “The Cat’s Pajamas” and “Black-Eyes Bush,” the journey seems to come to an abrupt hault and while variations of song tempo and structure always help a band show diversity, these 2 songs seem out of context as their song structure is already varied enough that these two songs miss the mark. While “Pazuzu For The Win” gets my nod for standout track and amazing musicianship, it’s some of the Mike Patton / Daryl Palumbo style phrasings of the vocals that actually detract me from this album. While I’m not sure if that is the intent from IWABO or if it was the influence of Producer Ross Robinson, it’s the downfall of the record to my ears. Yes, the musicianship displayed is above the norm, it’s some of the more ambient sections (tracks 6 and 8) and distant vocals that limit the reach of IWABO but I’m still sure they will a great run for the scenesters who will think this is hip and completely original.

RATING: 6 / 10
LABEL: Century Media
WEBSITE: www.iwrestledabearonce.com

By Mark Thompson

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