SPAZZING OUT Iwrestledabearonce’s sound fuses rapid-fire switch-ups of brain-battering metal,
grindcore savagery, diffusive electro breakdowns, and towering temperamental apexes.
That’s just one song.
The experts claim irony is dead, but the experts are stupid morons. Irony is an abstract concept. It was never alive, therefore cannot die.
But for the sake of forcing a metaphor, let's say irony was once a totally tangible living thing that shuffled loose the mortal coil. Within those dubious parameters, Alabama's spazz-metal masters Iwrestledabearonce dug up irony's corpse in 2007, and have since been waving it around like a marionette, Weekend at Bernie's style, whenever they're not busy having sex with it or taking it out to eat.
"I just got Indian buffet for lunch, so I'll have diarrhea pretty soon," guitarist Steven Bradley, 26, offers up by phone just outside of Los Angeles. I didn't ask what he had for lunch, nor did I request a prediction of his digestive organs' post-hoc operations. Let us forgive this gratuitous disclosure. In the schizoid world of IWABO, as the kids call 'em, it makes sense.
On record, they're their own aural buffet: rapid-fire switch-ups of brain-battering metal, grindcore savagery, diffusive electro breakdowns, and towering temperamental apexes. IWABO's musical pot gets sweetened by infrequent but notable (and only superficially random) digressions into country, motivational '80s rock, old-school-porno soundtrack funk, or whatever whimsy demands. Vocalist Krysta Cameron bellows and shrieks like an unholy fiend, in the noble tradition of Walls of Jericho's Candace Kucsulain and Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow. Often, Cameron shifts abruptly to beauteous tones akin to a maritime siren. Of course, according to numerous strains of folklore, mermaids like to kill people.
But never mistake IWABO for one of these modern shitcore bands who clumsily slap three or four boring genre songs together, theorizing that shit + a different kind of shit = something that is not shit. Having undertaken genre-hoppy projects together for more than a decade, Bradley and fellow guitarist John Ganey have cultivated a singular expertise in self-styled musical schizophrenia.
Sayth Bradley with his slight Southern drawl: "If you go see a movie that's just an hour-and-a-half of people exploding, it's awesome; but it doesn't have the same impact as when the first 30 minutes is families playing on the beach having a great time and — out of left field — somebody's head gets ripped off and there's blood everywhere."
The quintet advertised Ruining It for Everybody, the follow-up to 2009's staggering It's All Happening, as a straight-up black-metal album. Obviously, they were being ironic, hoping to fuck with the eggshell minds of humorless black-metal fans. Discounting the leisurely surf interlude during "You Know That Ain't Them Dogs' Real Voices" and a voicemail from Cameron's grandmother on "Break It Down Camacho," Ruining It For Everybody plays down IWABO's penchant for absurdity. The heavy parts are heavier, and the electronic sections wander into silky, supernal realms.
"It's fine to make fun of Britney Spears or whoever for putting on outfits and dancing like a whore," quips Bradley. "At the same time, you can't be black metal without spending hours putting on face paint, sliding into super tight leather pants, putting spikes on your arms, and writing lyrics about hating your mom. It's ironic to me."