Beartooth Aggressive (2016) Album Review



Artist Beartooth Album Aggressive Release Date: 3 June 2016
Label Red Bull Records Genre Hardcore | Metalcore

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Beartooth will release its second full-length album, Aggressive, on June 3rd. Up front, let me admit that I never listened to Beartooth before, but also before reading some of the positive press out there, I commenced listening to the new album and thought that it was interesting for a few reasons:

-Despite a distinct metalcore base, there was something very cool going on.
-That something very cool was the incorporation of hardcore punk.
-With some hardcore roots, there is also naturally some thrash metal elements, mostly from the riff box.
-With a few minor exceptions, the typical metalcore clean vocals are absent (and when the clean vocals are used, they aren’t the cheesy Sum 41 sounding clean vocals).

So, that positive press I mentioned, well that comes from Corey Taylor’s Beats 1 Radio Show, which said, “Beartooth give me hope for the future.” And Rolling Stone honored Beartooth with the “New Artist You Need To Know” title.

I have to agree. There’s something fresh, authentic, and accessible about Beartooth. This might have something to do with primary songwriter and frontman, Caleb Shomo, appearing to write from the heart and not because he thinks it’s ironic. Any listener, however, will find quite a bit of repetition between songs, but there’s a tangible passion behind each one.

Perhaps one of the greatest things about this album is how Shomo’s lyrics speak to a youthful audience, or anyone who sits outside conventional societal norms or with self-esteem difficulties. Now, these themes are nothing new, but the way Shomo delivers them is empowering rather than coming across as a whining bitch. Just listen to “Hated,” “Loser,” “Censored,” and “Sick of Me” for some prime examples of this.

While a riff, a guitar “trick,” a neat bass line, or a cool drum fill help distinguish one song from the next, the biggest stylistic shift comes on the album’s closer, “King of Anything.” The track is a plodding, fuzzed-out, down-tuned ode to being nothing. It’s a really cool shift from the rest of the album and it could have easily broken out into a vicious and hard track, but it doesn’t and you can feel Shomo fighting the urge to unleash a truckload of hatred, which makes the short track that much more powerful.

The Verdict:

Beartooth have delivered a solid and potentially powerful album, depending on what the listener brings to the experience. As a new band, they already have an enviable touring resume hitting some of the biggest stages with the biggest acts, and if you haven’t heard of Beartooth yet, you soon will.


Pre-order Beartooth’s Aggressive here.

Rock Hard \m/

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