The distorted feedback, the pounding war drums, a vocal scream of ‘666 feet’ followed by a explosive riff. This is how Beartooth open their fourth album Below. The stunned look on your face painted on by an delectable catchy chorus and a breakdown with a stoner style.
Listening to this album you may as well get used to not being able to catch your breath as Devastation follows like a missile being launched. An industrial beat-riffing-rhythm with catchy pop punk melodies perfectly encapsulates the live Beartooth experience. When those war drums come back in you will be ripping the doors of your house in a apocalyptic metal rage during the ensuing breakdown.
Anyone who has ever been enlightened by the vibrancy of a Beartooth gig knows what to expect however that reigned in anarchy sometimes doesn’t translate over to record. On Below every song manages to transcend that gap.
The pop punk influences still show on tracks such as The Past Is Dead and I Won’t Give It Up however it’s on the breakdowns – those revel in the panic on the streets breakdowns – that each songs identity sits.
Fed Up, while essentially pop punk has a riff driving though it that Metallica at their pomp would die for which is just a pre cursor to a breakdown that has your head spinning. Phantom Pain has another totally different breakdown while Hell Of It feels like you’re the captain of a submarine diving deep firing missiles at a Leviathan. It’s all terribly exciting!
The air raid distorted guitars on Dominate give way to a wonderful chorus while The Answer finishes with a beautiful crescendo of melodies over a battery of heavy riffs that leaves you gasping for breath.
Below finishes with the aptly titled The Last Riff which at four and half minutes is the longest track on the album and an instrumental at that. It’s a track with a heaving heavy dirty tuned down riff – guitars and bass in sync – which drags you below to hell.
Below is an album which is exactly what Beartooth have always been live, loud, infectious, emotive and heavy as fuck. It’s an album that can only be played at one volume. Loud. So turn up the dial and prepare to have your face melted.
Album Review By Iain McCallum