Whilst their 2014 debut ‘Disgusting’ was a welcome jolt of adrenaline for our world, the seemingly out-of-nowhere emergence of Beartooth and subsequent omnipresence on our shores suggests that their sophomore effort is, as with any overnight sensations, crunch time. Will Caleb Shomo and crew furrow on with their undeniably popular baby-Every Time I Die/Cancer Bats sound, make a grab for Vans Warped Tour stardom, or even take a different path altogether?
The reality, in fact, is a strange mix of all three; the title track’s hammer blow attack and ‘Loser’‘s rollicking pace harking back to the riotous clamour of ‘Digusting’, yet with heaps more melody scattered throughout, a slightly more accessible edge sees ‘Aggressive’ rattle along with just a tad more immediacy than its predecessor.
This isn’t to say that Beartooth hint at compromising their ferocious hardcore tendencies though. It all still makes you want to run through a wall, and between its gruff hooks and frenetic assault there’s more than enough nail-your-face-to-the-ceiling money shots to promise that Beartooth won’t be going acoustic just yet. The majority of the tracks here are underpinned by savage breakdowns and caustic riffing, a spittle flecked ‘Always Dead’ dealing out some career best punishment and ‘Rock Is Dead’ an explosion of punk rock energy.
Couple this with shades of AFI and even nods to the more radio-friendly end of the pop-punk spectrum (‘However You Want It Said’), however, and ‘Aggressive’ nudges into territory which could equally turn away old fans and embrace new ones. When pulled off with the sort of audacious energy that Beartooth seem to possess a bottomless well of although, it’s difficult to resist.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)