Album review: Beartooth – The Surface

The journey to self-love allows metalcore giants Beartooth to dig deeper than ever before on career-high fifth LP, The Surface.

Album review: Beartooth – The Surface
Jake Richardson

Beartooth have always been pretty dark. A musical outlet that has traditionally set lyrical trauma against a visceral musical backdrop, it’s a formula has made them one of metalcore’s most beloved bands, and frontman Caleb Shomo one of this generation’s most respected songwriters. Fifth LP The Surface changes things. Beartooth remain brilliant, but things now sound so much brighter, more vibrant and hopeful. It’s a sonic shift that suits them well.

A sunnier disposition this album may possess, but any illusions that Caleb has gone soft are swiftly dispelled by the blistering opener that is the title-track, where his keen ear for melody bounces off chunky riffs the likes of which his band have been dealing in since their inception. More melodic might can be heard on the excellent Riptide – one of their biggest choruses ever – as well as defiant anthem Doubt Me and irreverent single Sunshine!.

Caleb’s clever lyricism remains a constant, particularly on the rampant What’s Killing You, but The Surface’s most affecting moment comes at its climax, as closing number I Was Alive delivers a carpe diem musical affirmation that reflects the newfound self-love that has engulfed its creators. In many ways, it’s a far cry from the despair that characterised the band’s celebrated debut album Disgusting, but the emotional impact is just as, if not more, profound.

It all makes for a collection of tracks that are the best and most consistent Beartooth have ever sounded on record. The impression these songs make is instant, but scratch beneath the surface, and there’s so much more to love about the heart, hurt and craft that has gone into this album.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Wage War, The Amity Affliction, While She Sleeps

Beartooth’s new album The Surface is due out on October 13 via Red Bull Records – pre-order it now.

Read this: Beartooth: “Life is about loving the process, loving all the different seasons and the ups and downs”

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