The departure of iwrestledabearonce‘s original vocalist Krysta Cameron last year wasn’t a very publicised one when it first came to be, with the singer leaving midway through the Vans Warped Tour after becoming pregnant. Quick to replace her was Courtney LaPlante, formerly of Unicron, who jumped into the fold initially as just a temporary replacement. However, as circumstances began to change, LaPlante soon filled the slot as a permanent addition to the fixture and, on ‘Late For Nothing’, she proves to be a suitable fit.
Indeed, the vocal stylings of LaPlante, both her almost demonic screams aswell as her sweeping cleans, can stand toe-to-toe to that of original vocalist, Cameron. However, what has changed since the transition of frontwomen is that in their instrumention. More specifically, almost completely vanished is the iwrestledabearonce that would insert the likes of trumpets, video game music, horses neighing and other random and disjointed styles and sound inserts into the mix. Instead, what we have hear is an iwrestledabearonce who are far easier to digest, opting to, for the most part at least, to follow far less complex and out-of-the-ordinary song structures.
The far more straight-forward metalcore approach is apparent from the get go on album opener, ‘Thunder Chunky’ (aside from the mid-section) along with promo track, ‘Boat Paddle’. As a result, the stripping of all of their obscure sound inserts and playing around with different sounds, whilst at times could come across as annoying and completely disjointed, has in effect removed the rather “unique” branding they’d placed on themselves through their past records, making ‘Late For Nothing’ a somewhat boring and, ironically, difficult record to listen to in one sitting. It also doesn’t help that the band’s hooks have become less sharp and infectious in the process.
There are, however, a handful of moments worth mentioning throughout the record. The guitar work of axe-men Steven Bradley and John Ganey shows definite improvement on the likes of ‘Snake Charmer’, and also sees them teaming up with Steve Vai on ‘Carnage Asada’. It’s also worth mentioning ‘Mind The Gap’, this album’s “token ballad” if you will, much like ‘This Head Music Makes My Eyes Rain’ from the band’s 2011 sophomore effort, ‘Ruining It For Everybody’.
‘Late For Nothing’, then, definitely sees the band taking a more standard route alongside their peers in the genre, but arguably at the price of losing what made them such an interesting export in the first place. Regardless, aside other metalcore releases of 2013, you could do much worse and maybe, come album number four, we’ll start to see iwrestledabearonce making something much more of themselves.
Written by Zach Redrup