WORDS: JACK RAMAGE 

Since their formation in 2012, Beartooth has been shaking the metalcore scene to its roots. Despite their popularity, it’s surprising to some that Beartooth is the product of one man; the brainchild of Caleb Shomo who used the band as a unique, personal emotional outlet: “Out of the gate that’s what Beartooth was. The reality of it is, when you get a lot of people in the room you get more heads in there and it makes you feel more anxious – like I’m just trying to please them or I’m trying to make the song something it shouldn’t be. So there’s something really special about me writing completely on my own and I just feel like I can do anything.”

With this being said, as Beartooth have flourished, Shomo has relied on his fellow bandmates to keep the creative process afloat. “It was probably late march early April, after doing a shit load of writing sessions, I hit this wall where I didn’t know what was good and what wasn’t – it just sounded like white noise to me. Cam and Oshy came over to my place and we spent a few days listening through all the songs and being like do you think anything is salvageable – they helped me determine what was good and what was bad. They also helped to talk me through the process and kept the record on track. Who’s better to know what Beartooth songs should sound like other than the people who play the songs?”

“its just sort of a disease and you never get rid of it – it’s just learning how to live with it and manage it.” – CALEB SHOMO 

The group have had a series of pessimistic album titles – but that’s intentional: “I try and choose one word that I can capture the record…and I thought ‘Disease’ was the best word. It just seemed like it made sense. The whole record is about just trying to figure out mental health and I guess that’s kind of the conclusion I came to, its just sort of a disease and you never get rid of it – it’s just learning how to live with it and manage it.” And this runs true throughout the album – even onto the album artwork itself, showing an eerie snake masked over a human head. “The snake represents depression. Whatever the disease is, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you go through, everyone deals with a snake wrapped around their neck at one point or another. I thought that was a cool way of depicting that.“

And this pessimism – arguably realism – is an occurrent theme throughout the band’s work. Fist-clenching, heart-pumping, heavy instrumentation accompanied by grippingly angry raw lyrics is what makes Beartooth resonate with a worldwide audience, although the lyrics from ‘Disease’ are largely based around the constant battle against mental illness specifically. “It’s been so ignored for so long and now people are just dropping like flies. That’s reality. And it sucks.”

“Every time I write about it, it hurts. But then once it’s over…I feel like a new person. It’s very cathartic.”ry time I write about it, it hurts. But then once it’s over…I feel like a new person. It’s very cathartic.”

Shomo goes on to describe the importance of finding a way to cope. “A lot of people don’t think they can talk about it, don’t feel like its a quote-on-quote ‘manly’ thing to do. Or with any person it makes them feel weak and people don’t want to feel weak. But the reality is that making you weak means you’re dealing with a separate load of shit and the faster people figure that out the better.”

It’s perhaps this sheer honesty that has propelled Beartooth into the alternative limelight, making them more relatable to their audience. “Every time I write about it, it hurts. But then once it’s over…I feel like a new person. It’s very cathartic. I guess people would use that word, but I don’t know its just kind of getting your shit out – getting your demons out.” Music is his own medicine, he exclaims, and that every word, sang or screamed, comes from the heart – not the wallet. After being questioned on using the topic of using mental health as a selling point, Shomo replied: “There are songs we took off the record kind of for that reason. Because to me it’s part of who I am and it’s always what Beartooth’s been – if you go to the earlier shit we have, it’s part of what we’re about.”

Although climbing up the metalcore podium hasn’t been easy, the band recently disappeared off the radar for their longest break, of which Shomo said, “for me it was extremely important. I did five years straight of touring and then had a small bit of time off. I needed a break and to take time to make sure the record was perfect before we jumped back in.” And jumped back in they have. 

DISEASE IS OUT THIS FRIDAY (SEPTEMBER 28TH) VIA REDBULL RECORDS

 

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