iwrestledabearonce – Hail Mary


Hail Mary


Artery Recordings



For Fans Of

Rolo Tomassi - Veil of Maya - The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza


Never better but not the best.


59 / 100

If you’ve seen iwrestledabearonce’s new video for Green Eyes’, its satanic imagery, spotlight on vocalist Courtney LaPlante and emphasised darkness will give you a pretty good idea of what their new LP, ‘Hail Mary’, is like. Intriguingly, iwrestledabearonce have changed their colours, offering up a record that sounds, for the first time, like the band is taking themselves seriously.

‘Hail Mary’ is an offering darker than anything else iwrestledabearonce have released. From its opener ‘Gift of Death’ kicking off with an intentionally cluttered sonic chaos, the album gives your ears a battering that you surely can’t be passive about. Overall, it’s heavy enough for aspects to come across more like powerviolence than metalcore. See the fast drumming on ‘Remain Calm’ for reference, but also ‘Erase It All’s brutal, grind-core tinged delivery.

There is, however, a catch: sometimes the value of crafting songs that prompt headbangs becomes a priority over giving these tracks direction, structure or purpose. It’s not that every song requires the generic metalcore recipe (unclean verses plus clean choruses plus breakdowns), it’s just that they tend to blend together and alas, few, if any, become memorable. Where Rolo Tomassi build experimental-core with flair and individualism, iwrestledabearonce unfortunately fall below the bar.

The band slightly remedies that by dropping in gem-like moments that stick even if the name of the song doesn’t. Eerie points when the onslaught of heavy instrumentals and vocals pauses for breath (see ‘Doomed To Fail, Pt. 2’) mark ‘Hail Mary’ with redemptive qualities. Obviously, iwrestledabearonce are a band that screams, and it’s not that the use of cleans provides the structure; it’s just that they allow the songs characteristics that stand-out amid the blur of tracks. Furthermore, their focus on technical playing (see ‘Trips’ and ‘Killed to Death’) provides respite from the many, many chugs.

Oh, and if you’re still complaining about the replacement of the vocalist, it’s time to stop. LaPlante has well and truly proven herself on this album, with a voice so strong and assertive that it dominates why it’s any good at all.


All in all, this is the best album that iwrestledabearonce has ever released, marking a peak in their maturity and their progression as a band. Having said that, the fact that they’ve honed in on their sound doesn’t mean that they’ve created an album that strays from their admittedly forgettable back catalogue.


1. Gift of Death

2. Remain Calm

3. Green Eyes

4. Erase It All

5. Curse the Spot

6. Doomed to Fail, Pt. 1

7. Doomed to Fail, Pt. 2

8. Killed to Death

9. Trips

10. Man of Virtue

11. Carbon Copy

12. Wade in the Water

13. We All Float Down Here

14. Your God Is Too Small

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