Iwrestledabearonce

Hail Mary

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    5
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The fourth studio long player from the Louisiana-based extreme metal unit and the sophomore outing with scream/clean vocalist Courtney LaPlante, Hail Mary, like Iwrestledabearonce's previous outings, is a battered tin wind-up toy at full tilt with a gimp leg and nitroglycerin strapped to its back. It's relentlessly atonal, oblivious to any existing genre parameters, and so glitchy, punishing, and sonically irritating that the listener, if they manage to make it through to the end, can't help but slow clap. In short, Hail Mary is textbook mathcore with a heavily charged metalcore sheen, with each track pushing the needle into the red through a series of fits and seizures that flirt with jazz, djent, industrial, and electro-progressive metal with all the subtlety of a knee dislocation. It's only halfway into the third cut, "Green Eyes," that LaPlante unleashes her first clean vocal, but the sheer endurance it takes to get through the unceasing Gatling Gun attack of "Gift of Death" and "Remain Calm" makes it feel like an eternity. "Doomed to Fail" parts one and two attempt to strike a balance between the two persuasions, with the latter veering close to torch ballad territory, but for the most part, things just keep exploding into the ether like a fireworks finale caught in some sort of cosmic time loop. Four albums in and Iwrestledabearonce show no signs of cultivating any sort of nuance. Hail Mary is technically impressive, like watching a 3-D printer spit out a gun or an ear, but like most complex machines, it confounds as much as it dazzles, and ultimately fails to connect on any kind of human level.

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