Had it been up to Caleb Shomo, Beartooth would have stayed on a hard drive years ago after he left Attack Attack!. Thankfully for us, Shomo released an EP (“Sick”) and a first album (“Disgusting”) where he was joined by a band. Still keeping control over the whole process, he is back with his second album, “Aggressive”.
What really is impressive when you listen to this record is to realize that Shomo played every single instrument on this album and did every vocal, screams and back vocals. Throughout the songs, you might even recognize his voice through some back vocals (“Rock is dead”, “Aggressive”).
“Aggressive”, the first single of the album, is probably one of the strongest point on the album: both older and newer fans of the band will enjoy the song, mainly since it incorporates screams and singing. Unsurprisingly, Shomo’s force is to make very interesting songs that incorporate both styles; a good example is the closing piece, “King of anything”. Barely two minutes long, this song escalates in frustration, from sang vocals to full on screams. It is something I am looking forward to hear live (if it is ever played live!).
Talking about incorporating new styles and themes, we can sense that Shomo matured from a very young man (let’s not forget he’s only 22!) who’s discussing how he hated himself and his life while in his previous life, to a man aggressively loving life. Many songs discuss his desire to not make any compromises in life (“Rock is dead”, “Burnout”, “Censored”) while some songs discuss how being different affected him (“Hated”, “Loser”). I think fans will enjoy the duality of the subjects on the album.
Unfortunately, his strength is also his weakness: musically, a lot of the songs will remind you of the first album (the intro of “Censored” is very alike to “The Lines” for example). As stated before by Shomo, the live experience brings something different since each musician plays and interprets the music differently than him. Therefore, this isn’t that big of a deal since nowadays, most bands build their career and reputations off their live set.
“Aggressive” remains a very interesting album and the band will probably be one of the highlights of Heavy Montreal this summer. If you’re looking for an album to introduce yourself to heavier music while still having good melody and choruses you can sing, this album is definitely for you.
4 out of 5 stars
Must-Listen Tracks: “Aggressive”, “King of anything”, “Burnout” and “Rock is dead”