After three records of refining their hard rock driven metalcore, Caleb Shomo and co. have returned with ‘Below’. Displaying a confidence and an aptitude for mixing in various influences, ‘Below’ sees Beartooth yet again deliver a collection of consistent, passionate, and at times surprising set of tracks.
Kicking the record off with a trio of tracks that waste little time, Beartooth show that they aren’t pulling any punches. With the album’s opener and title-track, crunching breakdowns, throat tearing screams, large choruses, and a touch of hair metal all collide with gloriously heavy results. The same can be said for the neck snapping and aptly titled ‘Devastation’, as the band whip between stomping guitars, punk progressions, and sing-along choruses with passion. Closing the breathless trio, ‘The Past Is Dead’ continues to refine the arena-ready hooks and tightly wound structures that Beartooth are now well known for with a fearless honesty.
Continuing to maintain the energy, ‘Fed Up’ plays with call and response techniques to ensure that the record doesn’t fall into familiar territory, whilst ‘Dominate’ unveils another layer of the group’s sound. Flirting with a soundscape that Slipknot would be proud of, frontman and main architect Shomo blends his hook heavy choruses with pummelling drums and twisted riffs before sliding into the commercial yet raw ‘No Return’ seamlessly.
With any track from ‘Below’ easily suited to be a single release, it’s fitting that ‘Hell Of It’ is chosen as it wraps up near enough every facet of the group in a relentless three and a half minute blast, whilst predecessor ‘Skin’ strips away some of the distortion and snapping drums to reveal a more melodic approach with equally solid results.
Following on from the hardcore stomp of ‘I Won’t Give It Up’ and melodic metalcore of ‘The Answer’, ‘The Last Riff’ seeks to close the record on a completely unexpected note. An instrumental conclusion, the track doesn’t need Shomo‘s range or a hook heavy chorus to maintain its audience.
Building from desolate melodies to lurching breakdowns, ‘The Last Riff’ perfectly ends a record that has not only cemented Beartooth‘s style, but has also elevated the group into a league of their own.