Beartooth - Below

Band: Beartooth

Album: Below

Genre: Hard Rock/Metal

Label: Red Bull Records

Location: Columbus, Ohio

FFO: While She Sleeps, Hands Like Houses, A Day To Remember

I have been a fan of Beartooth since they first began and started releasing music back in 2013/14. ‘Disgusting’ brought on simple, yet hard hitting and fresh riffs that would become the staple for what Beartooth is all about. ‘Aggressive’ and ‘Disease’ followed throughout the years after. Both LPs I enjoyed, moreso the latter, and although never truly exciting me as much as their debut, both of those albums kept the rough hard rock sound that makes them them while leaving some room to grow. As for ‘Below’, Beartooth turns things up higher than they have in a while, and creates some of their hardest hitting tracks to date.

With every Beartooth song, there’s a natural energy that feels so unique to them. Whether I love a song or think it’s just alright, there’s still that energy and feel that is undeniable to me. The intro title track immediately brings that very same energy I’ve been hearing for years through the instrumentals and vocals alike.

Every song has riffs within verses that drive you like kerosene to a fire. The breakdowns being written here are also some of my favorites from these guys to date. From song to song, I keep having to say to myself “This is some of the best writing I’ve heard from them”. I love the switch ups such as the random blast beats on ‘Devastation’ and others. Amongst these invigorating, fast paced sections, Beartooth still has their catchy and sing-along type choruses. I haven’t been the biggest fan of a couple of these in the past. Sometimes it just doesn’t work as well as I wish it did. On ‘Below’, that feeling lingers at times. There’s plenty of choruses here that I do like a lot, but a couple that took some extra listens to grasp better like on ‘The Past Is Dead’ or ‘Skin’. An example of a chorus I much more enjoyed right away was ‘Hell of It’ or ‘Dominate’. Speaking of which, there’s grooves on here that are super head movers. Every song will do that, but ‘I Won’t Give Up’, ‘No Return’, or ‘The Last Riff’ are a few great examples of tracks with contagious grooves.

Lyrically things aren’t any better or worse than they have been throughout Beartooth’s career thus far. I’ve always heard Caleb’s words as serious, emotional, and absolutely passionate. However they never hit me too deep personally or stood out as anything distinctive. At the same time, I don’t expect that from these guys. I don’t listen for some mind bending lyrical experience so I don’t take it too seriously when thinking about how much I enjoy a song or not unless the lyrics are noticeably better or worse.

As many bands seem to be doing in 2021 so far, Beartooth is another one on the list that managed to make one of my favorite albums from them in a while. I honestly have to put ‘Below’ up there with their first record when it comes to my favorite projects from them. For 12 tracks and 44 minutes of a straight up hard rock album, it’s easily replayable. There’s more beef to this album than the past couple. More to it in terms of sounds and depth of those sounds.

Beartooth is on fire just as much as they always have been. The passion and energy is so clearly there and alive. One of the few bands I can genuinely hear how much they love playing music within their studio recordings. No matter what they make next, I can trust that feeling will be there for a long time to come.

Rating: 8.5/10

Strongest Song: Devastation, Dominate, Phantom Pain, Hell of It


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