Written by: Julieta Vega
At the end of the 2000s, new bands were rising in the music scene. From Attack! Attack! to We Are the in Crowd, the alternative scene was on a fast track.
One band decided to take that scene in a different direction. IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, based in Louisana, was formed in 2007 with founding members Steven Bradley, Mike Martin, John Ganey, Mike Montgomery, and Krysta Cameron.
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE was known for their experimental metalcore sound and chaotic genre changes. The band received a dedicated fan base that ultimately led to their departure.
Their first EP featured their introduction to the scene with their chaotic sound. The opening track “Ulrich Firelord, Breaker of Mountains” presented that head-on as the track featured heavy vocals, twinkly guitars, and EDM transitions. Shortly after their EP arrival, IWRESTLEDABEARONCE released their first album titled, “It’s All Happening.”
The album had a mixture of genres such as mathcore, metalcore, and grindcore. Two singles “You Ain’t No Family” and “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon” reached well on the charts and attracted a new audience. Their incorporation of other genres like Hill-Billy rock was apparent in “You Ain’t No Family.”
The album received odd reviews of “This kind of sonic hyperactivity and ironic eclecticism appeals to a certain narrow demographic” from Allmusic. IWRESTLEDABEARONCE's music wasn’t for everyone, but did pique the interest of music goers.
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE then released their second album “Ruining It for Everybody.” The album differed from their previous releases as it featured darker elements lyrically and musically.
“Button It Up” details the story of a murder and the aftermath. IWRESTLEDABEARONCE included elements of their past genres plus a dash of Avant-garde. Even with a slight musical change, the band still faced criticism and hatred from the music scene.
Rocksound called the album a “mish-mash of progressive metal, full-throated hardcore, operatic female vocals, and lounge jazz...evidences a band taking an absurd amount of joy in kicking against pricks.” Fans of metalcore saw IWRESTLEDABEARONCE as a slap to the face of the genre, while fans of the group saw them as a sign of growth in the genre.
Regardless, IWRESTLEDABEARONCE continued to release music but without their key member: Krysta Cameron. Cameron left the band due to her pregnancy and vocalist Courtney LaPlante took over. LaPlante joined IWRESTLEDABEARONCE as a touring member, but eventually became the bands full-time vocalist.
“Late for Nothing” was the first album with LaPlante, and received positive reviews. Fans of the band were puzzled on LaPlante’s arrival, but “Late for Nothing” presented her talent well. Many music critics saw the album as IWABO stepping away from their chaotic sound.
Courtney LaPlante told Alternative Press that she’s “excited for people to hear it because I’ve been singing someone else’s songs for a year, and I want people to hear my take on the band. The band itself has changed, regardless if I were [in it] or not.”
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE was also applauded for adjusting to a new vocalist while simultaneously releasing an album. However, long-term fans were still settling with LaPlante’s presence and didn’t quite like the mature sound of IWRESTLEDABEARONCE.
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE pressed forward and released their last album “Hail Mary” two years later. “Hail Mary” stood different from any of their previous releases as it incorporated more deathcore influences.
The album received a fair amount of reviews, but lacked the attention of die-hard IWRESTLEDABEARONCE fans. LaPlante stated that she put her whole heart into “Hail Mary”, but she felt alone as she wasn’t a found member of the band. Sadly, this would lead to her departure and IWRESTLEDABEARONCE’s ending.
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE’s influence on the music scene today doesn’t go unrecognized. They foreshadowed the next era of EDM and metalcore bands for the next decade. Sadly, both vocalists suffered an immense amount of criticism from metal-heads to music critics.
Even when IWRESTLEDABEARONCE evolved with their sound, it seems it can never please anyone as fans saw them as selling out. Now, we can appreciate their experimental sound and amazing contribution to the music scene.
As of now, Courtney LaPlante continues to release music under Spiritbox. I highly suggest checking out their album “Ruining It For Everybody.”
What other bands do you believe are forgotten gems? Let us know by tweeting at us @lgndsoftmrw!