Review Summary: Predictable and formulaic, yet nonetheless a bit fun
Beartooth have sort of established themselves as a predictable metalcore band, to say the least. Almost all of their songs have the same general structure, making it almost redundant to the point of annoyance. Their debut Disgusting
showed a lot of potential, but their follow up Aggressive
showed almost no signs of progression which resulted in a boring album that fell flat in the face of its potential. Disease
doesn’t escape from the same issues as its predecessor, except it has something going for it. Some of the stuff on here is actually kind of fun.
Without much deviation from the band’s general sound, Caleb Shomo has yet again created a metalcore album with punk rock influences sprinkled about. Almost as if a carbon copy, much of Disease
is ruined by poor production that detracts from the band’s original raw styling they had on their debut. Although the instrumentation is quite impressive on the album, many of the issues fall into the control of the cheesy lyrics. That aside, Beartooth’s third effort shows signs of revitalization after the failure of Aggressive
Mixing hard, aggressive metal with softer, melodic rock, Disease
often feels like a cluttered, tangled mess, minimizing a genuine flow of songs. In spite of the fact that the album doesn’t really hit a “groove,” each of the songs on their own are often quite good. When the album is at its most aggressive, Beartooth manage to put out some head-bang worthy riffs and breakdowns. “Infection” and “Bad Listener” showcase not only some of Caleb Shomo’s best screams in a while, but also display an overall development in his ability to create hard-hitting, moshing breakdowns. The guitar work, albeit not quite difficult or technical by any means, is quite phenomenal and flows very well with the general tone of the album, utilizing heavy distortion, note bending, and dissonance. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Disease
exhibits some of Beartooth’s most melodic moments, with an overall strengthened vocal range, as well as progression of songwriting. Songs like “Believe” and “Clever” show Shomo at his vocal high along with his melodic writing capabilities, employing the use of light distortion as well as some backing guitar solos that add to the harmonies of the tracks.
However, not all of the album is not perfect by a long shot. The lyrics, rather than provide a story of sorts, just bring the entire album down a few notches despite how good the vocal delivery may be. Shomo talks about being a “bad listener,” catching an “infection again,” and being “manipulated in some sort of way, but the songs almost have no correlation in terms of thematics, but this isn’t an anomaly coming from Beartooth. The good news is that the screams and melodies are top notch here, so the lyrics do have a bonus along with them. Without those lyrics, there would be no performance from Shomo here, so, a blessing in disguise maybe"
Amalgamating each aspect of Disease
, Beartooth manages to come out of the wreckage of Aggressive
by no more than an inch to spare. No, this doesn’t come near to the raw, aggressive sound of their debut, but it does make its way to a more refined sound than what came from their sophomore record. Will this be a top album of the year" Perhaps not, but this is still an enjoyable listen if you happen to be a fan of the genre. Nothing new or innovating here, but it is, without a doubt, a somewhat infectious disease.