ALBUM REVIEW – “Disgusting” by Beartooth

The musical output of Caleb Shomo may be the most improved of any person on Earth. Rising to prominence as the keyboardist of crabcore punch-line Attack Attack!, he took up the vocal reins and left them a far more respectable outfit than when he joined through producing their final record. His latest project Beartooth is essentially a one man band (he plays all instruments and sings all vocals on Disgusting) that is so far ahead of anything he’s done previously it’s easy to forget it’s the same guy. A far more feral proposition, their raw but meaty strain of hardcore falls somewhere between While She Sleeps and Every Time I Die, with some Billy Talent-style melody thrown in for good measure – crucially, Shomo clearly has far more passion for this sound, and entirely throws himself into what is obviously a labour of love.

Intriguingly coarse, the band’s debut full-length is instantly arresting, thanks both to the untempered vocal performances (at times it feels like the man’s screaming right in your ear) and the unconventional mix that pushes the rumbling bass guitar to the forefront – both these representing a clear point of contrast to similar acts and likely to become trademarks for Beartooth. The collocation of red-hot hardcore riffs and radio-friendly choruses on ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ and the brilliant ‘Body Bag’ is done strikingly but without feeling contrived, and stands as a perfect soundtrack to both mass sing-alongs and venting frustration with the world. As aggressive as the album is there are moments like ‘One More’, which recalls The Used in its playfulness, and the strangely euphoric pop brilliance on the chorus of ‘In Between’ that add a sense of unpredictability.

Not that it doesn’t also radiate anger – and on the thrash-tinged ‘Dead’ and sole Sick EP inclusion ‘I Have a Problem’ the fire behind the riffs and words is obvious. Unsettling guitar bestows a disturbing edge to ‘Relapsing’, but even that is nothing compared to the emotional tour-de-force that concludes the record. ‘Sick and Disgusting’ is a slowly enveloping three minutes and forty six seconds of pure emotional release, Shomo screaming and crying in equal measure in what might just be the closest thing this generation will get to Korn’s ‘Daddy’. His vocal performance is at times hard to listen to because it’s so sincere, but is so honest and unflinching that it makes the song something truly special. Perhaps the biggest shortcoming of this debut is that the vocal work is so good and so varied, ranging from animalistic screams to smooth, irresistible cleans, that the instrumentation can often be outshined and, on the few weaker songs, noticeably lets things down.

A few other minor problems aside (tracks 8-10 are a bit too similar-sounding as well as being inferior to the rest of the album; the lyrics, though usually good, sometimes dip into tacky melodrama), Disgusting is an incredibly good debut for one of the most interesting acts to have emerged on the hardcore scene in recent years. Both savage and intense enough for the moshpit and full of melodic sensibilities for those of a more radio-rock oriented disposition, it’s an enormous improvement on anything Caleb Shomo has done before and might just be end up one of the best albums of 2014.

Rating: 8 / 10

[Michael Bird]

‘Beaten In Lips’

‘Body Bag’

 

Beartooth

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. RichardThinks Contest: Vans Warped Tour 2014 Ticket Giveaway | RichardThinks.Org - June 10, 2014

    […] the new album from Beartooth, is available now through Red Bull Records! Be sure to check out our official album review of “Disgusting” as well! For more information about Beartooth, including merchandise, music and news, be sure to […]

  2. Watch Beartooth Perform “Beaten In Lips” On CaliberTV | RichardThinks.Org - July 1, 2014

    […] sure to check out our official review of “Disgusting” by Beartooth which is out NOW through Redbull Records. Don’t forget we’re also giving […]

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