Much in the same manner they’ve mashed five words together for their moniker, tech/grind/metal/jazz/country act Iwrestledabearonce combine a whole slew of music styles into one compound entity. Now, to the untrained eye, each probably comes off like an indistinguishable mess; however, those with a cunning sense of perception can pick up the trick, and see that the entity can easily be sliced into more recognizable bits. I’m quite proud of that comparison, so let’s not delve into its shortcomings.

The first track on the band’s It’s All Happening offers up a similar grab bag of musical styles and moods employed throughout the album proper. Within a grindcore fame are some metalcore-like riffs, crisp jazzy interludes a la early Dillinger, and even country passages tossed in, much in the vein of what Between The Buried And Me did on Colors, though not quite as seamlessly. Toss in some prog keyboard leads and you’ve got a sizable potion of the ingredients used on the record.

The record’s ambition is one of its appeals. As I alluded to in my opening, the band does a good job of creating something linear and followable despite some initial confusion. “Danger In The Manger” is such a great track, and a prime example of how the band makes their formula work. It features the perfect concoction of convention and ambition, the former coming in the lines of some sticky, straightforward guitar riffs here and there, and the latter coming from, well, everything else. When vocalist Krysta goes big with her voice – and she does so quite well in isolated pieces, like with “I’m Cold And There Are Wolves After Me” – the juxtaposition with some of the more playful passages is a bit too far of a stretch. Still, her range is really impressive and fits well with the back-and-forth style shifting.

The experimentation doesn’t always pay out into something special, as at times things feel a bit to cut-and-paste. Still, I think heavy music fans that can loosen up a bit and enjoy something that doesn’t take itself too seriously will find a lot of charm here. More of an interesting experiment than a standout front-to-back record, there’s still a lot of fun to be had with It’s All Happening that should invite some repeat listens.  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. You Ain’t No Family
02. White Water In The Morning
03. Danger In The Manger
04. I’m Cold And There Are Wolves After Me
05. Tastes Like Kevin Bacon
06. The Cat’s Pajamas
07. Pazuzu For The Win
08. Black-Eyed Bush
09. Eli Cash Vs. The Godless Savages
10. See You In Shell

Run Time: 33:20