The Journey Below Livestream
July 15, 2021
We’re back with the wonderful world of livestreaming because Australia’s vaccine rollout is still a cluster-fuck and we’re not going to be on the same leevl as the rest of the world anytime soon… sigh… but the thing that brings us joy is still available in the comfort of our own homes with Beartooth joining forces with Veeps (the same crew who hosted Architects‘ stunning 2020 livestream) and delivering The Journey Below a livestream event in celebration of their perfect new album Below (our review here). Not only is this the first chance we’ve had to see the band performing new songs from their latest opus for us, but it’s also the first time us in Australia have seen the band performing since their last headline tour down under ended (exactly two years ago today). Let’s get into it…
Kicking off with purple visuals taking us to a stage where the band got straight into album opener (and title track) ‘Below‘. The riffs are loud, the screams are welcoming and the cleans are so on point, it’s hard to believe this is still the same band I’ve been frothing for 7 years! They’ve come so far in their journey and finally it feels like they’ve found their true lineup. ‘Devastation‘ follows and we’re welcomed by drummer Connor Denis bashing away on his kit while Caleb screams amongst the fire and flames! The breakdown is just one of many on show for us in the show and it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Next we head back in time to 2016’s album Aggressive for ‘Hated‘ complete with strobes and clean crisp vocals from our leading man. ‘Sick of Me‘ shines the spotlight onto clean vocalist/bassist Oshie Bichar as he and Caleb tango between singing and yells througout – it’s this comradery that makes you sing along at the top of your lungs too because why the fuck not!
Beartooth mastermind Caleb Shomo grabs a guitar and joins in on the festivities for ‘Fed Up‘, rocking the fuck out alongside fellow guitarists Zach Huston and Will Deely. It’s at this moment you can hear the new metal/hard rock direction the band are heading in and it all makes sense – this sound is massive. It’s far bigger than anything they’ve done in the past and with every single member on an instrument, it really showcases that heaviness this band can produce in a live setting! That breakdown is going to send bodies flying at their upcoming live shows. Following this we’ve got a loud, creepy voice welcoming us to the below and reminding us that we’re still at the start of our journey before telling us it’s time to ‘Dominate‘ – the sound blasts through the speakers and it really puts a focus on the guitar work of Tooth’s new album Below. The blast beats are orgasmic too FYI.
Caleb addresses the crowd and says it’s time to dive into some old shit before the opening riffs of ‘The Lines‘ start and all systems are go. Listening and watching the boys bounce around the stage, it dawned upon me just how far this band has come since I first saw them supporting In Hearts Wake on the Skydancer Tour back in 2015. That band who opened the show are now killing it on stage and their older tracks sound so much bigger, fuller, faster as they’ve progressed. That’s classic Beartooth and it still holds the fuck up after all this time. But before you can catch your breath, ‘Beaten In Lips‘ kicks off and it’s a fast, furious and fired up assault on the senses. Oshie’s cleans are delivered with precision in the chorus and Caleb’s screams are so on point, you’d stab yourself in the eye to be there! Also, it’s just come to my attention that the lyrics are: “Go to rebab, celebrate with ketamine” and not “Go to rebab, celebrate with cocaine” as I’ve been singing for the past… 7 years… oops! Will Deely is also running about the stage looking like he’s been with the band since day dot. ‘Body Bag‘ comes next and this is what you call metalcore perfection. After all this time it still slaps like the first time I heard it (fun fact it was the first ever Beartooth song I ever heard, and that was when I saw them live for the first time).
Back to Below with ‘Hell Of It‘ making an appearance and as I mentioned in my review, this song is just so fucking fun. Seeing the all-in chorus in a live setting just makes me want to get on a plane and get the hell out of Australia to go see this again and sing the words out loud with a bunch of randoms in the mosh. The heaviness of the instrumentals hid the cleans in the chorus (which sounded just a little bit off from my perspective) but it left me with a big smile on my face afterwards. It’s at this point I take a look at the bigger picture and realise just how big this band is now. The last time I saw them was in front of a SOLD OUT crowd at The Triffid in Brisbane, Australia (approx 3,300) and now, I can’t see them playing for any less than 5,000 at large scale venues for the foreseeable future. ‘Skin‘ keeps the momentum flowing and as the band’s latest single, it’s easy to see why this is gaining traction in rock radio world and on TikTok. The lyrical content (about struggling with body issues) is a hard-hitting anthem for those who felt alone, but now seeing and hearing the words being sun towards you, it gives you that sense of belonging and knowing you’re not going through life alone, you’ve got (as Vin Diesel would say) family in Beartooth fans!
The sing-a-longs continue with ‘You Never Know‘ and even features Connor screaming away into the mic above his drumkit. It may be one of the band’s more melodic offerings from the back catalogue (not as melodic as the rendition on the Blackbird Sessions) but still one of the best “grab your best friend and scream along” vibes throughout. Caleb apologises in advance for losing his shit during the breakdown and rightfully so, it’s been well over a year since their last live show so seeing him lose his mind on stage again is infectious! ‘Bad Listener‘ brings the fireeee before Caleb stops the show for his motivational speech about the struggles of the past year.
He talks about the weird year that was 2020, with the pandemic shutting down the entire planet and despite the uncertainty of making it through he always knew that “rock and roll always finds a way no matter what”. Words that echoed through the entire stream and got fans in agreement in the chatroom. He adds “it’s the glue that keeps us all together and pushing forward”. Shomo thanks us for sticking with the band and waiting through all of this for the band to hit the stage again before opening up and saying the next song means something personal to him, as he reveals it’s ‘Disease‘. The song starts off slow before the first riff opens it all up and we’re treated to a flawless performance of the 2018 album’s title track. You could literally feel the passion and emotion behind every single word he was singing, especially during the moments he closed his eyes and put his heart and soul into his performance. That song played a big part in Caleb overcoming his mental health struggles and the song that followed was the song that literally saved my life – ‘In Between‘. I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve listened to this song, on an album and in a live setting and it still hits hard every time. The opening lines of “life just sucks when all you know is the bottom / it’s not your choice there’s no escaping it” have played over and over in my head multiple times since I’ve been battling my own demons and it always manages to pull me out of that slump I find myself in. Hearing it in this livestream just reiterated that it is one of the most important songs in metalcore history. It’s uplifting, motivational and heavy as fuck, but it has the absility to heal, strengthen and empower those who listen to it attentively. The track climaxes with raining sparklers and I’m an emotional mess.
But there’s no time to dwell on the past, because as Caleb and co. screamed, ‘The Past Is Dead‘, we get to see their lead single which kicked off the next era of Beartooth. Everything about this performance ruled – the singing, the guitar combo, the fire, the lights, it was just the best way to wrap up The Journey Below… had it been the actual final song of the night, but the boys had other plans which really left a HUGE impact upon those who caught the livestream As Caleb and Oshie left the stage, Will, Zach and Connor kept jamming and it only became apparent when the riff from Below’s closing track ‘The Last Riff‘ started getting played that we knew the show wasn’t over yet. The band’s first instrumental song and goddamn the intensity and pain of it could be felt ten-fold in comparison to listening to it on the album. It was intense and this was a combination of the drums and guitarists playing in unison. Caleb and Oshie joined the boys for the final playthrough and the chatroom was absolutely losing their shit over it. We all couldn’t believe what we were hearing. It wasn’t overdone and overplayed, it was just the most fulfilling way to end this experience which – consequently – left us wanting more when the boys hit that last note. I didn’t think I’d enjoy a Beartooth closer as much as I LOVED hearing this and now I am all for the band playing this to close out their shows in future.
Beartooth killed it tonight. They’ve more than proved they are the next big thing in heavy metal with their latest album, but seeing the precision and intricate planning they put into this show goes to show just how committed they are to taking that next huge step in their careers. It won’t be long before we’re seeing this band spoken about in the same vein as Slipknot, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and (I dare say it) Parkway Drive in future years and tonight cemented that statement in place for all to see. Take a bow Beartooth, you’ve fucking earned it.
Review by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Sick Of Me
Beaten In Lips
Hell Of It
You Never Know
The Past Is Dead
The Last Riff
The Journey Below is streaming for a further 48 hours.
Get tickets Here