Best of 2016 Playlist

June 10, 2016

Beartooth - "Aggressive" Review

Beartooth's new album, "Aggressive" hit stores last Friday! The band have preceded the album with several singles, each better than the last. Having had a week to enjoy this album, we're ready to tell those who haven't heard the album what to look forward to. A lot, you have a lot to look forward to. 

To buy the album on iTunes click this (link). And be sure to catch them on tour this summer in the UK, Australia, and Japan supporting their new album.

Following a debut is never easy. Especially when you're Beartooth. The band gave us a knockout album with "Disgusting". The follow up had a lot of pressure to deliver. While the singles would have you believe this album would be more of the same hardcore, chugged sound, it's not. The album is broken up by some surprisingly alt. rock moments. Don't be alarmed, Beartooth still keep things very heavy. Layering on moments of alt. rock keep things from getting boring and monotonous.

The album starts with the title track, "Aggressive", but really comes alive with Track #2, "Hated". The song is pure punk rock goodness. Shomo shows his knack for fusing high energy verses with catchy choruses, lyrics . The song starts with a signature Beartooth opening. Filtered vocals and a quiet guitar give way for a blistering verse. Shomo's voice never dips into true unclean vocals, instead employs a style of scream-singing similar to Oli Sykes vocals on "That's the Spirit". 

Lyrically the album deals with feelings of being alienated, misunderstood and proving someone wrong. Typical teenage stuff, nothing especially new. But Shomo has a flare of taking boring overused subject matter like that and making it into a hit. Which he has done yet again on this album. "Loser" is particular shows Shomo's writing abilities are strong as ever. 

The album's heaviest moments come in the forms of "Always Dead", "Burnout", and "Censored". The latter having one of the best guitar riffs we've heard this year. The combination of the bass and guitar groove gets your head banging, before the verse splits its time between Shomo's vocals, and gang vocals. Hardcore gold. On the other hand, "Burnout" has proven itself to be one of the rawest songs from the band yet. Shomo bears his soul to listeners as he screams that no one can stop him from doing what he's meant to do, "You'll never burn me out!". The track maintains its high energy level throughout, especially with its harsh verses. 

If you're looking for something a bit lighter, then "However You Want It Said" is for you. The song opens with Shomo singing some cringeworthy "Ohs". And as the song progresses, it becomes clear this song is set for radio crossover. Though catchy, it doesn't bring much to the party other than some nice catchy moments. 

Unfortunately, when the band isn't writing killer hits, they give listeners far too many "filler songs" (like they had on their debut). "Fair Weather of Friend" and "Sick of Me" are just two examples. Neither carries the powerful punch previous songs had. Everything about them is carbon copied from the already worn out templates. They meld into the rest of the album and fail to leave a lasting impression. Standard "anthems" for outcast teenagers with the one liner breakdown openers, and deep chugs bound to incite mosh pits. 

The album is appropriately titled, because Beartooth couldn't have crafted a more aggressive album. It's unapologetic, raw, and overflowing with energy. As a follow up to the band's debut, it stays a bit too close to the blueprint to make the album standout. As a standalone album, "Aggressive" shows the band are on the fast track to stardom. They crank up their amplifiers, and give us the most "aggressive" performance they could muster without things sounding too cheesy. 

Recommended for fans of letlive, A Day to Remember and Vanna. 

Favorite Tracks - 
"Hated", "Loser", "Burnout" and "Always Dead" 

Rating - 7.5 to 8/10