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Fans shouldn’t be worried about any major changes with Beartooth’s third full-length record: Disease is more ‘Beartooth’ than they’ve ever been.
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Greatness or Death is a fantastic opener. Imagine the break from acoustic to full blown assault bursting through festival stages. Like in previous favourites Beaten In Lips and Loser, they’re leaning into what’s catapulted them so far forward in the past few years, Beartooth’s strengths are earworm choruses with a dose of guitar bludgeon for good measure.
Infection is a strong example of how well Shomo and co can mix heavy and light to create broad appeal. But even with a personal preference for their heavier cuts, tracks like Manipulation can feel forced. Thankfully Bad Listener’s the sort of fun, swagger filled track that Beartooth need to break up the darkness that plagues Disease. The analogue mix does make a huge difference to the energy that pulses throughout their third record.
Raging against the darkness may well have been Beartooth’s original calling card, but Disease accepts that we all have to live with our demons.
Ride cymbal ‘tings’ and thumping kicks feel more real than they ever have on a Beartooth record. The guitar melodies, most notably in Believe, are some of Shomo’s best efforts. Matching his impassioned vocals, the mini solos keep everything from becoming too ‘same same’. Breaking with tradition too, is closing track Clever. Usually reserved for an album closing mental breakdown, it’s a clever bait and switch. The deceptively positive instrumental masks a quite devastating lyrical confession. Shomo genuinely feels vulnerable in a way that somehow hits differently to what we’ve heard before. Raging against the darkness may well have been Beartooth’s original calling card, but Disease accepts that we all have to live with our demons. Sickness is in season Beartooth fans, and it’s contagious as all hell.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Greatness or Death, Bad Listener, Clever
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