Having defied expectations first time round with 2014s ‘Disgusting,’ Beartooth’s second full-length ‘Aggressive’ could be taken two different ways. At times it’s merely a continuation of the riotous hardcore/metalcore served up on the former, yet the sheer ferocity on offer makes you embrace what the Columbus, Ohio group produce second time around.
From the outset, Caleb Shomo and company don’t hold back with the title track. With its sturdy, crunching guitars and pounding rhythm section complimenting Shomo’s relentless screams with the chorus line of “Lost aggressive youth” emphasising the band’s musical might. As the record settles into its bold, powerful skin, songs such as ‘Hated’ and ‘Loser’ bulldoze through with an underlying anthemic quality.
Despite its bold tone, the record is carried by a raw, lyrical backbone as Shomo provides a thrilling emotional release through relatable themes such as self-hatred in ‘Sick of Me’. Nevertheless, it’s delivered in a positive, determined manner that sees the band willing to overcome its personal weaknesses. For example, ‘Censored’ is delivered with complete defiance; “no one is ever going to censor me!” Whereas closing track ‘King of Anything’ wallows with winding guitars as Shomo questions his purpose (“I’m not close to perfect”) and states he shouldn’t be held in such high regard.
Nevertheless, it’s Beartooth’s musical assault that comes out on top. ‘Always Dead’ chugs along at a frantic pace, emphasising their mosh-made qualities. Meanwhile, ‘However You Want It Said’ is their most accessible moment to date with a hard rock melody that reminds me of A Day To Remember.
If you’re looking for a statement of defiance, then ‘Rock Is Dead’ is just that. Delivered with vigorous punk rock gusto, Beartooth provides a penultimate bolt of adrenaline with the defiance of, “If rock and roll is dead, you can kill me right now.”
‘Aggressive’ firmly lives up to the expectations. It takes the lyrical rawness and musical crunch of its predecessor and adds a bold, anthemic quality that is united by a rousing, unstoppable energy that you can’t help but enjoy.
‘Aggressive’ by Beartooth is released on June 3rd on Red Bull Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)