Y’all ready to upgrade your New Music Friday?
Beartooth have reappeared online with a Deluxe Edition of their stellar album Below – which ended up being my Album of the Year last year, scoring a perfect 10/10 (review here) – and showcasing the band’s heavy metal/hard rock side which in turn set them up for a long path outside of their metalcore origins.
The new release from Caleb Shomo and co. features two new songs, an alternative universe version of hit single ‘Skin‘ and their entire live performance from the band’s The Journey Below livestream – which took place on July 14th/15th when the world was still very much locked down.
Taking a look at the new tracks first ‘Fighting Back‘ opens with clean guitars then Caleb jumps in with a big ol “Let’s Go!” as the rest of the instrumentals kick in. It’s fast paced fun with plenty of new backing synth and a melodic approach in both sound and feel. To me (your friendly neighbourhood Beartooth simp) I hear similarities between the original ‘Skin‘ release and ‘Dominate‘ but this has more of a progressive sound away from the heaviness that was brought on Below.
Lyrically (to me) it’s about no longer needed help from prescription drugs which help give your head clarity during difficult times. Caleb sings about telling lies to keep his friends around and hiding feelings by pushing them deep down inside himself. The chorus invokes huge sing-a-long sections of “Causing pain became the latest trend/All the after effects it might be permenant/I won’t let you in my head again/Try to tear me apart, I’ll just keep fighting back” and yes there’s a tasty breakdown to bash your head to.
As for ‘Permanently Sealed‘, this one actually leans more on a frantic/proggy/heavy side with alluring clean singing throughout that leads to a solo instrumental section that is full of prog-metal undertones and guitar tuning. FYI I’m not a prog expert, but I’ve heard similar guitar sounds coming from acts like Polyphia, Northlane and Karnivool and that has me fucking excited for the future of the band. If this is the cross-over that’s going to lead into a guitar-driven new album (more on that soon), sign me the fuck up!
On the new songs Caleb says:
“Fighting Back and Permanently Sealed are undoubtedly experimental songs for Beartooth… I really tried to push the boundaries of what I’m doing with guitar, what I’m doing with my voice, and what I’m doing with the songwriting. The outcome may not have made the first cut of the album, but I think they’re definitely worth hearing and play a big role in how the record ended up turning out.”
As for ‘Skin – Alternate Universe Version‘ – it’s a stripped back edition, swapping riffy guitars for an almost acoustic approach that makes for a smooth and easy listening experience. Following the success of this body image empowerment anthem, I can see this rendition making it across mainstream radio in the US (not Australia because they hate fun) and showcase the band to a completely different audience, while still remaining true to themselves and the message the song brings. If you still play the band’s Blackbird Sessions EP (with stripped back performances of songs) then this will fit nicely into your playlists when you’re not feeling like a screaming session.
“I think it can be really easy to get lost in taking yourself too seriously. And Skin (Alternate Universe) is ultimately about having fun. I really wanted to take a song that was incredibly dark and put a really light twist on it and do something that Beartooth would never normally do, totally focused towards our diehard fans that have been with us and could use something a little bit lighter.” – Caleb Shomo
So there’s the new and improved Below! It’ll be out at midnight local time and fans can expect to grab an exclusive 52-track “Special Video Edition” Apple eMix bundle that will include all the official videos plus the videos from Live From The Journey Below. The band will also be launching a pre-order for the Below Deluxe Limited Edition 3-LP set with four variants (limited to /200), available via their website.
As for the future, Caleb has already started writing for Beartooth‘s fifth studio album (from his new home in California) so until that starts seeing the light of day – feast your ears on these new songs – because as we’ve seen in the past, these tracks may end up being the crossover sound between Below and what’s next…
Words by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown Insta: @brownypaul
Beartooth – Below (Deluxe) is out now – listen here
Beartooth – Below (Deluxe) Tracklisting:
3. The Past Is Dead
4. Fed Up
6. No Return
7. Phantom Pain
9. Hell Of It
10. I Won’t Give It Up
11. The Answer
12. The Last Riff
13. Skin (Alternate Universe Version) (New)
14. Fighting Back (New)
15. Permanently Sealed (New)
Live from the Journey Below:
19. Sick Of Me
20. Fed Up
22. The Lines
23. Beaten in Lips
24. Body Bag
25. Hell of It
27. You Never Know
28. Bad Listener
30. In Between
30. The Past is Dead
32. The Last Riff
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