Hailing from Columbus Ohio, Beartooth are back, and they seem to be at their very best. After announcing their third studio album, Disease, the band released two singles off the album: “Disease” and “Bad Listener”. Based on words from the band, the new album is set to be a very personal look at the isolating mental battle that vocalist/songwriter/every-single-fucking-instrument-player Caleb Shomo has been enduring for years. It’s about how he’s survived through all the pain and learned to live with the constant hurting.
Caleb says: “The album is a whirlwind of emotion. Crazy highs, crazy lows, and lots of intensity. This record isn’t about winning anything. It’s about trying to even begin to learn how to deal with things. It’s hard to process just how dark you can get, what you can really put yourself through with expectations. It’s like starting from the beginning all over again. At the end of the day, it is a very dark album.”
Caleb recorded the whole album himself, contributing vocals, guitars, bass, and drums. He also mixed it, with assistance from Nick Raskulinecz, who has worked with bands like Foo Fighters and Rush.
The first song written off the album, “Disease” sets the tone for the record, and is a very emotional and personal track, that feels like an ongoing battle throughout it’s entire 3:48 runtime. Caleb’s vocals are a huge feature in the song, as he struggles to hold on to any sense of control he has left. He can feel himself slipping away, and feels like the disease is taking over. The end must be soon surely? Defeat seems inevitable, and the suffering seems endless.
“It’s like holding on, when my grip is lost, I still feed my insecurity when I know the cost.”
The gripping instrumentals perfectly fit the story that this song tells. Heavy, but not overwhelmingly so, it matches the tone of the lyrics perfectly. Vocally Caleb kills it also. You can truly hear the pain in his voice as he sings, as the emotion and suffering is evident in the tone of voice. It is like he is wounded, bleeding out the words that he sings, trying to heal himself to no avail. The song is truly special, and is a big step up from a large portion of their previous album, Aggressive.
The second single released is “Bad Listener”, and holy shit is this a heavy song. The brutal growls in the vocals are but a brief warning, as the instrumentals kick in in the harshest and hardest way they could possibly be. The drums are tough and hard, and flow in the background, setting the pace for the merciless and ferocious guitars to follow. The riffs are ruthless, taking no prisoners and making you want to tear the room apart. The vocals are Caleb at his most rough, as the verses are straight up impolite with how ruthless they are. “Bad Listener” builds and builds until it hits a filthy big breakdown, and shit gets real. There’s no remorse whatsoever, and people may actually die from their heads exploding as they listen to this song.
“I’ll be banging my head til my brain rots.”
Lyrically the song appears to simply be about loving heavy music, and how using it as an outlet can be a good way to release the aggression. But with the themes of the album I think it is more about rising above the darkness in your head, and the negative voices of others, telling you you can’t do it, and making some killer music. Ignoring the norms, and helping everyone to wake up to themselves, “Bad Listener” is here to open everyone’s eyes and get them moving. This is what Caleb loves, and he’s gonna do it til he dies.
“No structure, No prisoners, I’m not deaf I’m just a real bad listener.”
Disease will be released globally on September 28 via Red Bull Records/UNFD. Pre-order here: https://beartoothband.com/