Beartooth’s recent album, Aggressive, is the follow up to the incredible debut album, Disgusting. I think I am rather safe in saying that expectations for this album were high from a wide array of their fans.
The album kicks off with three songs released prior to the album release; Aggressive, Hated & Loser. All three songs have big choruses and will please all Beartooth fans. Although there is little diversity between these songs (following very similar song structures and sounds), they are all solid variants on a single ‘theme’ or concept.
The middle portion of the album then starts to go a little bit wayward for me. Despite having the sing-along chorus of the previous three tracks, the songs all start to merge into one and quickly fade from memory. Track four, Fair Weather Friend, has a very catch intro which then comes back in the pre-verse which peaks my attention to the song. The following two (Burnout and Sick of Me) are very unmemorable by Beartooth standards.
Following this, Censored starts to pick the album back up again with a little bit more grit and determination. And then, we get our first song that is completely different! Always Dead injects a lot of pace and aggression with almost purely screamed vocals. A definite stand out 2 minutes on the album.
Always Dead begins what I consider the final chapter of the album, which is certainly much better than the middle. However You Want It Said and Find A Way are much closer to the standard set from Disgusting with punchy riffs and catchier choruses. I am not sold on the intro to However You Want It Said though. The echo effect on the vocals to make it sound rather synthetic, something I discuss more on my Dark Matter review. So not a fan of that, but the rest of the song is awesome.
There has been a lot of talk of rock being dead, so Rock Is Dead is quite clearly Caleb’s reaction to that talk. Good job the song is rockin’ then! Onto the final track, King of Anything. A unique song with just Caleb and an electric guitar. Much like the final track on Disgusting, you can feel the raw emotion through the vocals and the instruments. Again, another unique song that rounds off the album fantastically.
I’ve referred to the debut album Disgusting a fair amount in this review, so I take it you get I like it right? Good. When that album was released, it felt so fresh compared to the other music being released by their peers at the time so, as I mentioned in my introduction, I expected a lot from this release. It has not lived up to my expectations, but I still think it is a good album. My main criticism is the lack of variety on a lot of the songs. The pattern is clear – shouting/screaming verse, sung chorus, shouting/screaming verse, sung chorus, breakdown, one final chorus. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it? I guess.
When the variation comes on the album it feels very fresh and keeps me engaged with the album. I have seen a few of these songs at Download Festival and they fitted in perfectly with the old stuff. I am intrigued to see a headline show now, and see how many more songs from Aggressive they will include. It may not be many, but only time will tell.
One line summary: More of the same from one of the bands that could define modern music
Favorite Song: Always Dead
Listening to this album makes me: ponder the future of Beartooth
Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below!