REVIEW: Beartooth – ‘Disgusting’

beartooth

Artist: Beartooth
Album: Disgusting
Genre: Metalcore, Hardcore
Label: Red Bull Records

There’s been a lot of build-up leading to the release of Beartooth’s first full-length record, Disgusting. Thanks in part to a trickling, day-by-day promotional campaign, the Caleb Shomo-fronted quintet has gained a ferocious fanbase faster than most bands can tune their instruments, and now seem poised for world domination as they gear up for an extensive run on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.

Like most, I first became acquainted with the Columbus outfit through their debut EP, Sick, which made landfall back in 2013, and immediately made me want to punch holes in the wall of my crappy, two-bedroom apartment. Showcasing a fluid mix of grinding hardcore riffs and natural, radio-ready refrains, this initial offering instantly separated itself from the pack and cemented Beartooth as one of the most prominent up-and-coming acts in the genre.

Though Disgusting doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set forth by its predecessor, it still has a lot going for it, and while there are several points where this latest effort fails to get off the ground, it is far from a complete miss.

Swift and unyielding, Disgusting kicks off with a full head of steam and doesn’t let up at any point throughout its 42-minute runtime. Taylor Lumley, Oshie Bichar, and Kamron Bradbury exchange blows across the record’s twelve tracks, while drummer Brandon Mullins threatens to pound his kit into dust on multiple occasions. This concrete resolve is most apparent on songs like “Body Bag” and the single “Beaten In Lips,” both of which tear forward with a daunting sense of purpose, supported by chunky riffs, catchy choruses, and face-peeling breakdowns. “Dead,” one of the only two tracks completely void of any clean vocals, is also a rip-roaring good time, and would seem right at home amidst Terror‘s catalogue if not for Caleb Shomo’s distinctive delivery. Pleasantly pissed off and to the point, it would undoubtedly be the record’s best track if not for the gut-wrenching closer, “Sick and Disgusting,” which finds the frontman spilling his guts in the most sincere manner imaginable.

Still, for every peak, there is also a valley; much of the songwriting on Disgusting follows a notoriously overdone blueprint, which in turn devalues the release as a whole. “In Between” and “Keep Your American Dream” are run of the mill at best, falling to the wayside in spite of their huge hooks, while “The Lines,” “Relapsing,” and other tracks that follow the typical scream-chorus-scream-chorus-breakdown-chorus formula have a tendency of blurring together. However, as Beartooth was never meant to be groundbreaking, but rather the rawest expression of Shomo’s own inner angst (he wrote for literally every instrument on every track), this argument more or less boils down to personal preference. While many of the songs referenced will inevitably appeal to a wide audience, at the end of the day they lack the artistic restraint that made Sick so great.

Nonetheless, Disgusting is still worth your time. While it may not be the most innovative release of the year, it is without a doubt the crown jewel of Shomo’s career, and an impressive debut effort. Pick it up today through Red Bull Records.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence is a proud Wisconsinite, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a lover of all things weird and whacky.
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  • Aaron

    I’d like to point out that Caleb not only wrote the parts for the instruments, he PLAYED AND RECORDED them. He did everything on the album. The way you write the article makes it sound like the other members played their parts on the record. Anyway, nice review, although I’d personally give a higher rating simply because it’s so well done.

  • Ian

    Sick was way too rough the whole way through, Disgusting had a better produced and cleaner sound the whole 42 minutes. Disgusting > Sick no doubt

    Nice review though except for a few misconceptions. You also say at the beginning that Beartooth is headed for world domination, then near the end you say they were never meant to be groundbreaking? That confused me a bit.