Released: Jun 10, 2014
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Hardcore, Metalcore
Label: Red Bull Records
Number Of Tracks: 12
While ex-Attack Attack! vocalist/keyboardist Caleb Shomo's new solo project, Beartooth, isn't as contemptible as Attack Attack!, its debut album, "Disgusting," still isn't very likable.
DisgustingFeatured review by: UG Team, on june 16, 2014 2 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: With Attack Attack! being a byproduct of the hair-dye-stained, skinny-jeaned, Vans-sponsored emo scene of the latter end of the previous decade, their fanbase was easy to amass because they were one in the same. This also made it easy to amass the heaping amounts of hatred from the droves of people that wretched at the scene culture, watching the young electronicore group bask in fame with contempt akin to how people would watch the cast of "Jersey Shore." While AA has come to an end, Caleb Shomo, the former keyboardist/vocalist for AA that joined at the remarkably young age of 15, has no plans to let AA be the last or only music endeavor he'll be known for, and immediately after his departure from AA, he announced his new metalcore project, Beartooth. Shomo would be the absolute creative force in this new project, taking all the responsibilities from songwriting and tracking instruments to mixing and mastering. After releasing a few singles, the debut EP "Sick," and playing a handful of shows, Beartooth is now releasing its debut album, "Disgusting."
Safely assuming that Shomo made very conscious decisions to set his new music endeavor away from the inflammatory notoriety of AA, there are two main differences found in the compositions of "Disgusting": it avoids overly-chuggy riffs (for the most part), and it throws away the cheesy synths (which is ironic, seeing as Shomo was the keyboardist of AA). Although you won't catch a reminiscence of AA, it won't take more than a couple minutes into the first track, "The Lines," to realize what- or rather, whose- sound is being emulated: A Day To Remember. By and large, "Disgusting" utilizes the ADTR formula of one part metalcore with one part pop-punk, so once again, Shomo's music is in a position to be immediately loved or hated. With heavy verses, clean & melodic choruses, and breakdowns you can see coming from a mile away, traveling through this album from front to back contains sounds and styles as varied as the scenery while traveling on the open sea.
There are some memorable parts to point to, though. The guitar riffage in "Body Bag," and Shomo's energetic drumming in "I Have a Problem" makes these songs rise to the upper part of the barrel; "Dead" is a 135-second whirlwind of rage that opens with a ferocious, thrash-inspired format, which is not just the heaviest moment on the album, but also the most refreshing; and while "Keep Your American Dream" comes off as the biggest ADTR knockoff of the album, it's actually not a bad knockoff, containing arguably the best breakdown on the album. After the notable things, though, the composition elements are very status quo, but the element that drags the most is the vocals. Shomo's voice is trapped in limbo between being too hoarse for good clean vocals and not strong enough for good harsh vocals, which makes the heavy verses less potent and the clean choruses less pristine. However, the ending track, "Sick & Disgusting," utilizes this integral imperfection in a way that works, with Shomo creating the track as a melodramatic confessional to his father, where his total loss of composure in the subject of the song is reflected by the haphazard nature of the instruments and his chaotic, disheveled screaming - but deciding whether it's a genuine and artful display of unfiltered sentiment or simply "emo bullsh-t" is left to one's discretion. // 5
Lyrics: The lyrics in "Disgusting" further display Shomo's role as the one and only director of the album, with subject matter addressing numerous personal issues - from alcoholism (in "Relapse" and "I Have a Problem") to depression and suicide (in "Ignorance Is Bliss," "Me in My Own Head" and "Body Bag") and child abuse (in "Beaten in Lips" and "Sick & Disgusting"). While the end results of pop-punk-style toplines and doe-eyed motivation do come off like transcripts from after-school specials, knowing that Shomo's lyrics speak from past experiences helps the case that his heart is in the right place - and the fact that these lyrics are much less irritating than lyrics found in Attack Attack! songs is something else to appreciate. However, other songs, like the bland societal criticism of "Keep Your American Dream" and the ambiguous uplifter "In Between" come off as formulaic in the lyrical aspect as they do in the sound aspect, and the hyperbolic meltdown of "Sick & Disgusting" comes off like a drama school freshman trying way too hard on his monologue. // 5
Overall Impression: Though it can be considered fortunate that "Disgusting" is in no way a séance to call back AA's sound from the proverbial grave, the adherence to the popular formula of metalcore/pop-punk fusion seems like a very safe attempt by Shomo to carry AA fans over to support Beartooth with minimal turbulence. Shomo may have been successful in that, and will most likely nab more fans that have an affinity for the metalcore/pop-punk style, but the choice to go down this very beaten musical path ends up being underwhelming. While it's not a dismal album, "Disgusting" doesn't do very much to set itself apart from its peers - probably because it's directly inspired by its peers. // 5
vppark2, on june 16, 2014 4 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: Beartooth is a hardcore punk/melodic hardcore band from Columbus, Ohio, formed in 2012 by Caleb Shomo after he left Attack Attack!Caleb had begun writing songs while he was still in Attack Attack! as "a different musical outlet." The band originally "started as a joke band" with members of My Ticket Home, as a way to make fun, punk-rock, hardcore, wild music, play crazy shows and have a good time without pressure from anything. The band was originally called Noise, but was switched to Beartooth upon realization the name was already taken. The band consists of two other original members: Taylor Lumley on lead guitar, and Brandon Mullins on drums. Kamron Bradbury (rhythm guitar) and Oshie Bichar (bass, backing vocals) joined the band earlier this year, after leaving City Lights due to their breakup. The sound of this album, as a whole is just outstanding. It's been quite awhile since I heard anything this refreshing. That's not to say I did not enjoy any other albums put out this year, but this album is in my top five favorites so far. There are plenty of moments of intense screaming with enormous emotion on this album. "The Lines," right off the bat, have Caleb starting to cough in the intro, while the guitars do its thing. The guitars are heavy and creative (something that wasn't quite there in Attack Attack!). The choruses soar with rhythm, and melody. The drumming is quick, and fills the songs nicely. And one thing that doesn't seem to be noted quite often in this scene of constant chug core garbage is the fact that the bass is actually present on this album, and actually shines on this album immensely. The breakdowns are also crazily awesome sounding, and would surely be some great songs to mosh to. // 10
Lyrics: Caleb has topics that range from personal depression to never giving up. The lines got me thinking what kind of family he came from: "Am I the son in or out of law? How many chances do I get before my head explodes? What's going on? What's going on? When I look into the mirror there's another gun What's going on? What's going on? When I look into the mirror there's another gun."
"Beaten in Lips" was the third single released if you include "I Have a Problem" as one. This song also has an outstanding music video to go along with it. The song starts off with distortion. "Everything that I say won't mean anything less / When I'm down in a grave, and you've put me to rest," Caleb shouts. My favorite lines would have to be:
"Pull the plug with a single decision Your way of life is a contradiction Go to rehab, celebrate with ketamine Mend the wounds and light it with kerosene Light my wounds with kerosene."
And to go along with that, there is a crazy breakdown. Later on in the song there is an even bigger slew of breakdowns, in which is probably the highlight on this album, regarding breakdowns. Caleb screams, "Listen to the sound of your children revolting / Listen to the sound of the lives you're ruining." What makes me love this song as a whole, is the fact that it has a great message. The chorus is really catchy: "This is for the kids with the beaten in lips (Hey!) Whose parents try to shut them up using their fists (Hey!) Keep living loud and proud They never can hold you down."
The next track, "Body Bag," has Caleb screaming the same two bottom lines as the chorus: "If I could set the clocks back I wouldn't be headed for a body bag One life and one decision Make sure it ends with you still living!"
This song I think is most notably creative, regarding the bassline, especially towards the end of the song. "In Between" is one of the more melodically driven songs. The chorus is actually my favorite chorus on this whole album, and honestly one of the best choruses I've heard in any song in quite some time: "Up on the mountain I see down below It's easy to lose yourself I know Can't hear what you're shouting, I'm deaf to your show It's easy to lose your self control Everybody gets high, everybody gets low Life can be such overdose Up on the mountain I see down below It's easy to lose yourself I know in the in between."
The next track is much more dark, and contains some of my favorite uncleans from Caleb. "I want a reason, I want an answer, I want a reason (Someday!) / I want a reason, I want an answer, I want a reason (Now!)," he screams.
"Ignorance Is Bliss" is another song with some great Caleb uncleans. "I'm not one of your demons," just showcases some angst and emotion.
"I Have a Problem," the seventh track, was also featured on their "Sick" EP. So this song was already well known for awhile: "I found my vice, I found my vice It lives in a bottle and wants me to die." "God I wanna call you my father I'm sick of drinking my life away, I can't remember anything This isn't fun anymore, my body's glued to the floor When did my king start living inside a glass bottle? I'm dying, I'm done lying to myself If I'm living, its inside a hollow shell My stomach is bleeding, but I'm still drinking A hole inside me is now more than a metaphor
I guess a bottle can't save my life I guess a bottle can't tame my mind This is my reward, a barely beating heart But I still lie to myself, I always lie to myself My hands are in the air, and God I hope you're there Cause I can't make it myself, I'll never make it myself."
That song has quite a message, and it's honestly one of the main songs that gets to you from these guys. "One More":
"Sitting alone in my basement again Staring at the screen thinking what comes next I've been at this for days but the nights are worse The key's in my head but my mind is cursed
Where's the moment of divine intervention Where's the moment of divine inspiration."
My favorite lines in the song are actually: "Please understand me I'm breathing not living I wanna know if my souls worth saving."
The next two songs are great, but the next song that I really enjoyed was "Dead." The song is basically just a quick, hardcore song. What impressed me the most on this entire album was "Sick and Disgusting," which happens to be the last track. So they saved the best for last I see. "Sick joke, sick joke, that's all you'll ever be to anyone / I'm nothing but sick and disgusting." If you thought there was any other song that contains Caleb at his highest point regarding uncleans, and emotion... well you thought wrong. I was literally left stunned by how much emotion was put into this song. Its just like... wow... I can't help but feel bad for the guy. The last few lines has Caleb literally crying the lines:
"Dad I don't wanna be sick and disgusting Daddy I don't wanna be sick and disgusting Dad I don't wanna be sick and disgusting Dad I don't wanna be sick and disgusting." // 10
Overall Impression: Wow, this album really turned out to be quite an amazing one, with many messages written in every song, there is no doubt that Caleb has had a rough past. What really shocks me, and impresses me is that he also produced and mixed this album himself. The production is crisp, and like I said, the bass is heard very clearly. I cannot wait to see them at Warped Tour this summer. Every single one of these songs will make the crowd jumping and singing along. Caleb Shomo is now a well known figure in this scene, and quite frankly, he has a long way to go as a young 21 year old. I recommend this album to any fan of hardcore in general. It may not be for everyone in this scene, since I know there's some people who don't like clean choruses and all, but this album definitely made an impact on me, and it quite honestly should make an impact on you. I love every single song, but I guess my favorites are: "The Lines," "Beaten in Lips," "In Between," "One More," and "Sick and Disgusting." // 8