Iwrestledabearonce

It's All Happening

Written by: BL on 22/07/2009 17:43:10

Oh look, another band with one of those poor attempts at a cute band name involving an animal and having all the words all joined together (FIGHTWITHBEARS and 100DEADRABBITS being immediate other examples I can think of). Seriously this kind of band-naming is getting to the point of annoyance with no redeemable amusement factor, like similar stupid trends in naming such as stuff dying, bleeding, or obscene names you can find in goregrind and pornogrind genres (as hilarious as they can be). And, oh look, another "metal" band with a girl in it. I bet some of the other editors will be at the ready to pounce and rip her credibility apart before we even reach the end of the review. Moving on, I can best describe this band as a five-piece performing a spastic-melee of genres such as jazz, electronica and death/metalcore loosely ending up as a pseudo grind/mathcore/experimental thing. To those who like their music predictable and easy-going, this is going to sound like a fast and often electric blurry mess. To those who like extreme or heavy music, well... probably the same (though a little less so).

Cohesion of song parts and catchy hooks is something that makes songs memorable. But that isn't so much the case for this band, as they rely upon savagely assaulting your ears with all kinds of sounds and noises to keep you entertained and quite honestly guessing at what bizarre part is going to come up next. Not to say that you won't find things you will be familiar with if you listen to grindcore or heavy music though as there is a large quantity of shredding guitar work, random tapped leads, blast beats and other manic drum work and oh yes, breakdowns. Each of these elements can either come in one at a time or sometimes together (it really is "all happening" sometimes), or back and fourth like you're switching between watching an ultraviolent movie and a hyperactive children's cartoon on TV with your remote until everything starts to blend into each other. On the whole as you might expect there is not much progression in most of the songs either (but not all) and we're left with the impression that everything came out the way it is with a blender and some sticky tape.

The band never really excels in any of the instrumental areas, especially with a lot of other grindcore bands playing the same kind of schizophrenic fast music a little cleaner and tighter - so everything is as you'd probably expect it to be and nothing more. Would be nice to see more expansive guitar and bass work in the future, instead of resorting to tremolo runs and warp speed tapping and sweeping for the heavy parts the entire time (not to mention all the rampant dissonant breakdowns - though granted some of them are quite decent). Elsewhere the more unique elements are in the jazzy clean guitar interludes popping up every other song, as well as strange cheesy electronic sections that seem to only serve to showcase the band's odd sense of humor ("Tastes Like Kevin Bacon" - I certainly wtf-ed there, and considering the portion in the music video for it). The keyboards do a great job of providing the extra melodies and ambience for both the softer and the harder moments in the songs (I liked how they were used in the opener "You Ain't No Family" in the short breakdown near the start and the intro for "The Cat's Pajamas").

Rounding up the sound is Krysta Cameron, the band's unique female vocalist. I am quite impressed with her performance here since she switches between so many styles all the time making for a very varied experience. One minute she's shrieking like an insane asylum escapee, then she will croon out some incredible clean vocals ("I'm Cold.." at 1:06), before sending you into hell (and brootalcore-kid heaven) with some demonic guttural growls and pig squeals. There is something very raw and passionate about her delivery which made for a compelling listening despite some ... flaws? For one thing her singing tends to drift in and out of tune all over the place. So while initially I was much annoyed thinking that she wasn't very accomplished, then it dawned on me that perhaps this was intentional (after the massive epic croon in "I'm Cold.." there is a strange interlude where she sings in a completely different key to the guitars) and actually an artistic style, since she is more than capable of staying in tune (the earlier part in "I'm Cold.." is testament to this). Either way I would personally have liked it had she been in tune a bit more, though I guess some of the weird parts wouldn't be so weird if she was, so I'm willing to let it slide.

I have no doubt a vast number of you will likely end up hating this band with a fiery passion for its over the top sillyness and scenester appeal. But I can also see that some will love it for its sheer energy and fun approach to grindcore (since it's so often a pure caustic and inaccessible genre) and again, its scenester appeal. Personally I seem to be drifting in and out of both camps, so I am decidedly (or undecidely) split on this one, as I find it an enjoyable listen in bursts though lacking a real killer addictive quality something like this really ought to have. On the whole it is still quite a decent debut album for this Louisiana-hailing group that is definitely worth checking out if you're into this kind of thing, and I would be interested to see where they go from here.

7

Download: You Ain't No Family, I'm Cold And There Are Wolves After Me, Tastes Like Kevin Bacon
For the fans of: Rolo Tomassi + Caffeine overdose, Starring Janet Leigh, Arsonists Get All The Girls
Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.06.2009
Century Media

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