Artist: Iwrestledabearonce
Album: Ruining It For Everybody
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Century Media

Do you remember where you were the first time you heard Iwrestledabearonce? I do. It was the dead of winter and then-grindcore band See You Next Tuesday was headlining a holiday-like show in Grand Rapids with IWABO tapped as one of the opening acts. My friend I found their Myspace (cause we’re old like that) and thought it sounded great, but impossible to reproduce in a live setting so we took this mindset to the show where we stood in the back, most likely with our arms crossed, watching the local acts attempt to pull a reaction from the chilled crowd. Nothing seems to be working until IWABO appeared and then, all hell broke loose and hundreds of fans were instantly made.

Fast forward almost a year and It’s All Happening, the band’s debut full length, arrives in stores. We had been following IWABO since that initial performance and thought covering this record would makeup for any bad karma cause by our initial doubts of their greatness. We thought that if we told the world about how amazing this act was that people would turn to each other and be compelled to listen out of sheer curiosity. However, we soon learned seemingly everyone loved the album and our positive notes got lost in the shuffle of “big name” publications acting like they knew who the group was all along.

It’s All Happening went on to garner near-perfect scores from almost every publication which, as you can imagine, made IWABO a very popular group in the metal scene. This lead to years of touring, during which I was able to ask multiple times about the future of the group and their music. Regardless of city, state, time of year, or how well the show went, members of IWABO have always confessed to us a level of nervousness about their Sophomore record. Being fans of music themselves, they had seen plenty of bands debut with great records only to fall apart later and wanted to do everything they could from repeating those same mistakes. We would follow these comments with notes of reassurance, but it doesn’t take long in this industry to realize how little the thoughts of the press build or destroy talent.

Now here we are in the middle of Summer 2011 and the record the band was so afraid of has arrived. Ruining It For Everybody continues the experimental sounds of It’s All Happening with eleven tracks of grown metal glory. Unlike the debut, Ruining finds both the band and vocalist Krysta Cameron pushing themselves harder and more dynamically than ever before. From spastic tones of “Next Visible Delicious,” to the beautiful soaring vocals in “It Is Bro, Isn’t It?,” and all the way until the final closing frames of the incredible dark closer (“Button It Up”), the band never misses an opportunity to build on the foundation established with their debut release while completely embellishing themselves in any way they see fit.

The only thing IWABO are ruining for anyone with this release is the battle for best metal album of 2011. From beginning to end,Ruining It For Everybody is a testament to not only progression of self, but to the progression of the genre and its’ limitless possibilities as a whole. Even a month into listening, I cant say I dislike a single aspect of this record and that alone should speak for itself. Like many, including the band, I feared the Sophomore slump , or at least a complete directional change, but what we’ve been given is the ultimate “fuck you” to anyone that’s ever doubted the band and it’s the greatest gift your ears could receive.

Well done.

Score: 10/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • guest

    awesome review, awesome band.

  • Cbag

    Sorry, but this album, while fantastic, falls short of their last release ‘It’s All Happening’. A few songs are missing the chaotically controlled breakdowns that defines them as a band; and even a few of them try and bullshit through a chorus once or twice. The end of the album shines, but I felt a bit disappointed a few times during Ruining it for Everybody.

  • nw

    yes this is a good album maybe a 8/10 but much much better than its all happening still not like there demo many years back but i guess all bands evolve and find a sound they are happy with. 

  • Thanks!

  • I see your point and think you rationalize it well, but I was intrigued by the lack of chaotic breakdowns and addition of “hooks.” The band needed to grow and many thought there was nowhere to go after the debut, so it may shock more than it pleases initially, but I think you’ll learn to love it more with time.

    Thanks for commenting though, I like hearing/reading opposing views.

  • So much has changed since the demo, how could they ever return? For starters, they now a human drummer and more than two members. Further, the record in a studio versus a bedroom and have had the opportunity to do things in life they never dreamed of when writing their debut. 

    That’s the problem with first releases, they only happen. You get your entire life to write that first record and when you do, you’re still just the same as the rest of us. However, as soon as that record comes out and your music and ideas become what people know you by, your entire view of the world changes. Suddenly your words aren’t just for you, but for the masses, and that change can cause many to turn away and claim “sellout” or similar. In reality though, it’s not IWABO’s fault, it’s just what happens when you become a musician. Art imitates life and when life changes, so must art.

    Thanks for commenting though. I too found the band shortly after their demo was released (the real one, not the remastered one(s)). If they hadn’t sampled Clerks I may not have fallen as in love with them as I have.

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