Caleb Shomo’s band Beartooth has not only released one single off of their upcoming album titled Disease, but they have put out two songs, Bad Listener and Disease. Bad Listener is a heavy, fun, and powerful tune that is all about succeeding in the music business. The title track is what I will be looking at instead due to both other plans for articles, but also it is a song that will better represent the overall themes of the record which is depression.
Lyrically, the song sticks to the same theme as the other albums which is Caleb’s struggle with his mental health. Here we get one of the most powerful songs in Beartooth’s catalog along with a single that sets the stage for what’s to come in the rest of the album. The first verse starts the song off with a compelling line, “If I fall again, will it be the end?” which gives the song a melodic and somber start before going into the more energetic verses and choruses. The second verse continues with, “Stuck at the surface, not making progress.” which gets to the best part of the song which is the chorus. Beartooth has always had memorable choruses due to their melody and being able to be catchy in a way that will be stuck in your head for weeks. Disease is a prime example of how Caleb will get in your head with, “I still feed my insecurity when I know the cost,” and “Will it bury me? Or will clarity be the cure for my disease?” Caleb has extensively talked about this being the hardest album to make both physically and emotionally throughout his Twitter and recent interviews. You can feel his emotion and know precisely why this might be the band’s most powerful statement musically and with their message about the struggle with mental health.
Vocally Caleb demonstrates his range as always here. With the melodic first verse, to the somber pre-chorus, and to the energetic chorus. He has been one of my favorite vocalists ever since I got introduced to Beartooth within the last year or two. There is a particular style that comes to a Beartooth song both vocally and instrumentally, but there is something slightly different here in Caleb’s approach. Of course, there is a lot of emotion in the vocals, but the melody has a different feel than any other song in the band’s previous material. With powerful lyrics, he must get it inside of his fans’ heads and with this vocal approach, he has executed this flawlessly.
Instrumentally the band has always been simplistic that gets the job done. Nothing is quite crazy regarding complex riffs or intricate drumming. The first verse starts with light guitar work in the background as Caleb sings. Then everything comes together in fast and heavy. The second verse has exciting dynamics between each instrument. Heavy bass riffs and powerful drumming as the singing continues with some rapid-fire guitar riffs coming in every so often. The pre-chorus goes almost silent as the guitar quietly plays and some drum cymbals are hit as the song is about to dive into the chorus. While the instrumentation is not doing anything spectacular, what works is how everything comes together and their dynamics.
Beartooth has made two excellent albums, and now they are on their way to make another excellent and emotion provoking album. With each record taking a new stance towards Caleb’s issues, this might be the biggest statement yet. While mental health is often tackled in music, especially this scene of music, Beartooth has been able to do it, unlike most other bands. If the rest of the album is up to this caliber, then we might have the most compelling Beartooth record to date.
Disease comes out September 28. You can watch the music video for Disease and pre-order the album below:
Image via Red Bull Records/Beartooth