Album Review: Beartooth – Aggressive

Beartooth launched into the metalcore radar with their impacting debut album Disgusting two years ago, and now they’re back with their sophomore Aggressive. Beartooth was created by vocalist Caleb Shomo as a side-project while he was a member of Attack Attack! but the band’s prominence following their debut and multiple tours with the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Slipknot, and Pierce the Veil has clearly surpassed his expectations. They’ve soared into the spotlight, playing festivals such as Reading & Leeds, touring as a headline act, and they’re set to play Download Festival this year. With so much acclaim for their debut, Aggressive can only further their standing in the metalcore world.

The band’s evolution with this release is evident. Aggressive is a whirlwind of ferocity; thrashing riffs, turbulent verses, and rebounding breakdowns feed through every track, but there’s a pop-punk edge that makes Beartooth’s sound authentic, distinctive, and incredibly catchy.

Title track ‘Aggressive’ opens the album with an influx of gritty vocals, sharp screams, and heavy guitar. The merging of metalcore with pop-punk is engaging, and the track is made stronger by the stunning guitar solo near the end. ‘Hated’ brings out more of the band’s pop-punk elements. The grungy starting vocals build up into a powerful guitar and drum beat, and the track increases in power as it progresses. It’s liberating, with the lyrics “I am not your scapegoat anymore” a reflection of determination.

The album moves smoothly into ‘Loser’ which is less heavy, though cathartic screams are still present amongst the catchy verses. ‘Fair Weather Friend’ is a powerful effort, with driving guitar and drum beats fuelling the harder edge to the track. ‘Burnout’ ups the velocity of the album with a fierce few minutes. Its savage exuberance amplifies the raw perseverance in those lyrics “These scars will not remain, you’ll never burn me out.”

With the fast-paced rage in ‘Censored’ and the aggression of ‘Always Dead’ there’s a move back to intense metalcore. ‘Always Dead’ is a moshpit-inciting explosion of anger, an anthem that would be the highlight of any gig. ‘Rock is Dead’ is a hot-headed effort, asserting the strength and passion in Caleb’s dynamic vocals. The album closes with the two minute ‘King of Anything.’ The slower guitar rhythm mirrors older rock styles, and Caleb’s restrained vocals give the track more depth.

Beartooth have made their mark with Aggressive, boasting their raw talent and their ability to produce music that you can really connect with. For fans of metalcore, this is an artist you need to know.

Aggressive is out June 3rd via Red Bull Records.

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