Beartooth - Below

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Columbus, Ohio’s Beartooth may revel in themes of misery, but frontman Caleb Shomo’s real goal is to have fun. Perhaps that’s why their brand of punk-influenced hard screamo is so effective. Beartooth’s fourth LP, Below, roars of frustration and antagonism and gives way again and again to wails of distress as Shomo reveals his vulnerabilities. But the mosh parts are good, if sometimes stodgy; and more often than not, the choruses hit home.

More brutal than 2018’s semi-accessible Disease, the new record churns with fury from beginning to end. Where Disease provided moments of relief, Below steers a hard course toward the punishing. Raw vocals carry the show, but the production also earns high marks for toughness and clarity. Hard-hitting verses abound, and crunchy guitar rhythms keep things pulsing along. The songs are tightly constructed, with strong transitions and no wasted moments.

1. Below
2. Devastation
3. The Past Is Dead
4. Fed Up
5. Dominate
6. No Return
7. Phantom Pain
8. Skin
9. Hell Of It
10. I Wont Give It Up
11. The Answer
12. The Last Riff