Beartooth – ‘Disease’

By Renette van der Merwe

If ‘Disease’ says anything about Beartooth, it’s that they’re a band who can consistently put out one spectacular album after another. Back with their third – and another dose of that fierce Caleb Shomo honesty – Beartooth are further cementing themselves as a force at the forefront of their genre.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering they were crowned Breakthrough Band at both the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards and Loudwire Music Awards. At Beartooth’s core, though, it’s always been a very personal project for the former Attack Attack vocalist.

As a way of exorcising his demons, Shomo started battling mental health and childhood issues using music as a tool for healing, and it’s from there that it blossomed into what it is today. “It’s very important that I stay honest with every song that I write. I didn’t even mean to start this band. I wrote a couple songs and I felt way better afterward.”

Opening track ‘Greatness or Death’ serves as the perfect summary of the volatile nature of the very issues Shomo address lyrically. There’s softness and vulnerability, but also urgency and intensity that isn’t unlike the overwhelming feelings of people facing the same struggles. The beautiful thing about this record, and more so Beartooth as a band, is their willingness to share the burden through the music they create.

On the surface ‘Disease’ is the Beartooth you’ve come to know and love sonically, and songs like the title track, ‘Bad Listener’, and ‘Infection’ have a very similar tone to those from debut album ‘Disgusting’ and its successor, ‘Aggressive’. When you give it another listen, however, you start noticing the old school quality of ‘You Never Know’, ‘Used and Abused’, and ‘Enemy’, along with the uplifting melodies and pop punk sensibilities of ‘Believe’ and ‘Clever’.

They aren’t only stepping outside of the box instrumentally, either. Shomo’s vocal range shows the greatest diversity to date – but it’s when you strip it all away and just focus on the lyrical content that the album really comes to life. There are highs and lows, but ultimately, it’s about survival. Commendably brave and fantastically honest, ‘Disease’ is the album of this generation.

RENETTE VAN DER MERWE

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