It's kind of a sick treat to witness the dissension among metalheads when it comes to bands like iwrestledabearonce. It’s safe to say that it’s basically a “you either love ‘em or hate ‘em” situation when it comes to IWABO. Some people are put off by their peculiar style of metal, yet some people find it endearing. But the best thing about the band in general is its ability to grow and change from album to album. And sometimes, those changes are just what you need to finally give in to temptation. Late For Nothing definitely has those types of changes, but might not automatically make it a home-run.
The elephant in the room in regards to Late For Nothing is whether new vocalist Courtney LaPlante stands up to ex-vocalist Krysta Cameron, who left the band due to her pregnancy. iwrestledabearonce hasn't been shy in releasing singles before the official release, so LaPlante's contributions aren't too huge of a secret. You can definitely tell the difference between the two; mostly when it comes down to the clean vocals. And without even doing a direct comparison to the two, LaPlante’s clean vocals aren't the best I feel they could be. They seem pretty forced, and maybe even a little bit tired.
The mixing doesn't do her much justice either as the guitars tend to bury her when she belts out the cleans. Her screams are quite effective, but the cleans just leave a little more to be desired. Songs like “Mind The Gap” showcase the cleans, and while her singing range is as good as a vocalist should have, it really sounds like she’s just trying too hard and not quite getting there. This isn’t to say it’s a dealbreaker for Late For Nothing, but it is something that needed to be addressed.
It’s still difficult to lump IWABO into a singular genre, but not as difficult as it was in previous years. The band is definitely growing, and using a little bit more actual structure and continuous musical ideas to make more well-rounded songs. The opener, “Thunder Chunky” has a centralized theme to it, while still following their penchant for random, noisy sections. “The Map” is also another song that you could probably hear any other good metalcore band write, and is just a good song in general. There's not such a strong tendency towards the quirky things people have long associated with IWABO.
That isn't to say a lot of those oddities aren't present at all in Late For Nothing. Silly moments like the “Latin” infused “Carnage Asada”, (featuring a guitar solo by the legendary Steve Vai) and the ultra-poppy midsection of “Firebees” (after coming from a djenty breakdown) show that they still know who they are. And again in “Firebees”, IWABO demonstrates their fondness for random and erratic chaos by following the pop section with a mathcore section.
IWABO has definitely grown and have produced probably their most mature album to date. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that every song is a winner. A lot of times, the songs recycle the same overall feel. I feel like every time we get a clean vocal section, the guitars are either playing the same thing, LaPlante is singing the same melodies, or even just a little bit of both is going on. There’s just not very good contrast between the songs, and it can eventually make the album rather stagnant. It makes the songs like “Carnage Asada” and “Snake Charmer” stand out in a good way, but doesn’t say very much for the rest of Late For Nothing. As nice as it is to see the band not rely so much on trying to constantly separate themselves from the pack, they could have really used some more distinguishing characteristics in their songs to make them a lot more memorable.
While Late For Nothing shows a good step forward in iwrestledabearonce’s progress in musicianship, the album as a whole doesn’t offer everything in the world. It certainly wasn’t a bad album in the slightest, but also isn’t their best. Maybe it’s just a sign of transition for them, and we can probably only expect great things and continued success in the near future for iwrestledabearonce.