Double Play: Big Business & Iwrestledabearonce

Another contender for Album of the Year has arrived!

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson


Ruining It For Everybody

Century Media Records

Listening to Iwrestledabearonce’s new album Ruining It For Everybody garners a reaction that combines a redneck seeing a UFO and a virgin on prom night looking at the warm body of a naked girl. The first is “What the hell was that” and the second is “what the hell do I do with this now?” Ruining It For Everybody shouldn’t work, it just shouldn’t. This album is such a complete mess of styles and influences and songwriting that the result should be a puddle of hipster avant-garde metal that makes me want to puke broken glass. Instead Iwrestledabearonce have created a shimmering piece of artistic genius. An album now locked in a dead heat with Battles’ Glass Drop For Album Of The Year.

You want variety in what you listen to? Step right up children of the head banging black cloth because Ruining It For Everybody has a hair of the dogof every genre that ever took a bite out of you. Metal, pop, jazz, electronica, rock, it’s all in there. The greatest thing is that it isn’t played in sections. At no point does Iwrestledabearonce go from their metal part to their jazz section to their electronic arena. That would be too easy children, That’s the stuff of heavy metal fairy tales, where overly macho men with long hair growl about caves and devils and being sad.

On Ruining It For Everybody all these styles are played at one time. Gloriously shining and seductive female vocals reach for the outer limits while screeching vocals of ugly defiance batter us back into reality. Beautiful piano and electronic sounds are kicked in the shins over and over by thick and brutal riffs. This is the soundtrack to madness. If you ever wanted to know what it sounded like in Norman Bates’ head right as he murdered Janet Leigh in the shower, wonder no fucking more.

Iwrestledabearonce smartly titled this record Ruining It For Everybody because they are running it for everybody, well, everybody in a band. Who the hell would stoop to releasing a pedestrian metal record when these animals are running around? I’m supposed to take your leather vest and doomy riffs seriously when every atonal trick in the book is being crushed against a jagged rock of grindcore, which floats harshly through an ocean of metal and distortion, noise music and jazz time signatures. I laugh at you metal world. I dare you to top this, to even come close to this kind of glory. This isn’t just music, this is art, this is an impressionist painting mixed with a work by Dali that’s draped over the hand carved stone statue of a demon all backed by the sounds of angels singing. Your album seems pretty silly now, doesn’t it?

Ruining It For Everybodywill not be a record everybody will enjoy. Stupid people, those lacking in the basic ideals of what it is to discover music, those who can’t thirst for boundaries to be pushed and live in a myopic state of their little pitiful clique of metal zombies. None of those people will like this album; in fact, none of those people will even understand this album. Iwrestledabearonce will be speaking an alien language, something caught in space and completely confusing. For everybody else, for those who burn every day with the desire to see heavy music take bold steps forward, I give you Iwrestledabearonce and their maddening genius bottled into a Molotov cocktail of audio complexity, aka Ruining It For Everybody. You will be so happy this album came into your life.



Big Business

Quadruple Single

Gold Metal Records

That’s not to say that man must live by spaced out avant-garde metal alone. Sometimes the avant and the garde must stop trying so hard and have a beer. Of course, when they have that beer they might have another and then get drunk and then it’s anarchy and then, as John Bender says, it’s out of my hands. That drunken debauchery of rock could be used to explain Big Business and their EP Quadruple Single. I say this because it’s a rock with a drunken angle, like the drunken monkey style of kung fu. This music has moves but those moves are saturated with things that aren’t common to the rock. When Bon Scott sang so wonderfully about Big Business, this isn’t what he meant.

Rock loves grooves and Big Business love grooves. However, they hate boredom, and thus their search for the grooves takes on a livelier state. Drums, I’m talking about drums people and how these drums play everywhere. The toms get beaten, the snare, the hi-hat, the cymbals, the kick, it all gets a dose of a maniacal beating coming from all angles. With so much hysterical movement behind the kit, the drums really have no chance of defending themselves against this multi-armed attack and so they fold, creating a constantly moving base for Big Business to toss in their guitar tricks.

 Guitars don’t so much play here as they dance. I say dance partly because it sounds good but also because these guitar works don’t have a structure they seem attached to. Like the drums, Big Business do more of letting their stringed instruments loose. Imagine the Doobie Brothers high on acid and convinced if they play their instruments in the same way the room keeps slanting and melting, it will stop. That’s kind of how Big Business attacks Quadruple Single.

The drums play in a constant motion of fills and rolls, powering guitars that move around each other like buzz saw sumo wrestlers preparing for attack. Within this package there is always a background hum of noise, a high-end overture that elevates what Big Business do into something much more sonically akin to their peers The Melvins. You fully understand what Dale and Buzzo saw in this crew and why they assimilated sections of Big Business into The Melvins band. Vocally there’s a solid appreciation of Buzzo’s military-meets-werewolf singing style. It isn’t a rip off, just the Big Business monolith acquiring some more little garnishes for the musical feast. 

What tickles me so much about Quadruple Single is that Big Business accomplish more in their four songs than so many do in full albums, even several albums. There are very few who understand that art is a living thing and if it isn’t fed creativity, it will die. Big Business wants huge electrical surges of energy to fire through their music. Why sit still in a groove? Why bother relaxing when we can count on so many other bands to that. Then again, Big Business might just be drunk and playing their drunken styles while laughing at pretentious critics like me who fawn over them. Whatever the truth, Big Business has given us four songs of unparalleled execution, groove and artistic merit.