It's been a long two years since Beartooth released their album "Aggressive," but the massively popular metalcore band has done anything but lose their spark in their third studio album "Disease."
"Disease," released September 28 by Red Bull Records, continues the narrative about frontman Caleb Shomo's struggle with depression and other mental health issues. Beginning with "Sick" in 2013, "Disgusting" in 2014, then "Aggressive" in 2016, Beartooth has established its place in the modern metalcore genre - but "Disease" suggests a new direction.
The hardcore influences are, fortunately, not completely absent in the new record. The hard breakdowns, the visceral screams and growls from Shomo, and the anthem-like sound can be found throughout the album. But overall, "Disease" is much less metalcore and much more like hardcore punk with metal influences.
But don't let the acoustic intros or pop-punk sentiments fool you - frontman Caleb Shomo still delivers his iconic growls and screams followed by hard-hitting breakdowns throughout the album (listen to "Bad Listener," "Disease," or "Greatness or Death").
The softer angle might disappoint some, but the raw vocal work from Shomo is arguably his most impressive to date, and the album's production value is absolutely through the roof. Shomo wrote every track; recorded vocals, guitars, drums and bass; and produced it with only some assistance from an engineer - and it was totally worth it. Every single instrument, lyric, and sound is perfectly crisp and clear, giving us one of the highest-quality listening experiences we'll ever get.
It's not only the production level that makes "Disease" a winner in my book. The album itself comes off as so organic and raw because, to put it simply, it is. Caleb Shomo never shies away from opening up about his journey with depression and other mental health issues in his music, thus solidifying the band's intent to be honest and to connect with their audience, rather than to just create catchy songs to make loads of money - which, in today's world of boring pop songs that pretend mental health issues don't exist, is sorely needed.
So despite the album's split from the classic metalcore sound that Beartooth began with, "Disease" still delivers everything fans want: truthful, emotional lyrics, impressive screams and vocal work from Caleb Shomo, and brutal breakdowns. All of that, plus the high-quality production and focus on mental health, makes "Disease" one of my favorite albums of 2019.
Find the album on all streaming services and visit Beartooth's website for tour information.