Matt Benton

A Look Inside the Rise of Beartooth

Matt Benton
Jul 11, 2024
6 min read
Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine [taken from Kerrang]

If you were anything like me, one of the most influential and important albums that defined your present-day music taste was 2008’s Someday Came Suddenly by Attack Attack! The album was groundbreaking and one of the first times many of us heard those iconic “screamo” vocals, synth sound combined with chugs and breakdowns, and we wrapped it all up in a crab-core bow. While the entire band was, arguably, full of musical geniuses, there is one member that takes the cake: Caleb Shomo. Not many people can say they were in a band at 15 years of age, and even less can say that that band of theirs was signed to Rise Records while having multiple songs that hit the Billboard 200. We had the luxury of seeing Shomo take over as lead vocalist in 2010’s self-titled Attack Attack! and 2012’s This Means War. Then, almost as if out of nowhere, fans received the news of Shomo’s departure as well as the end of the band the following year (2012 and 2013 respectively). But, once again, out of nowhere fans heard some of the most amazing news ever: Caleb Shomo had started a new project. Enter: Beartooth.

Sick - EP - Album by Beartooth - Apple Music

Back in 2012, Shomo created Beartooth as a means of self-expression. It never was intended to really pick up and become the metal powerhouse it is today. Simply just an outlet for emotions and something to do. I remember not hearing much about the project until 2013. I remember the moment vividly. I was home and scrolling on YouTube to find more scene and screamo bands to download onto my iPod and came across a suggested video from Red Bull Records. I had no idea what to expect from a record company formed by an energy drink. I clicked on the music video and had my life changed forever as I heard “I Have a Problem” for the first time. As of today, the music video has nearly 7.5 million views and still sends shivers down my spine when I watch it. I immediately went out of my way to find the Sick E.P. and I probably listened to that E.P. daily for who knows how many months.

Disgusting - Album by Beartooth | Spotify

Fast forward about a year later and Beartooth finally graced us with their first full-length album: Disgusting. With some of the most incredible, rage-filled, mosh-inducing, and back-breaking songs ever to grace the metalcore community, Beartooth began to skyrocket to fame. With songs like “The Lines,” “Beaten in Lips,” “Body Bag,” & “Dead,” the entire album is incredible. One of the most heart-wrenching songs on the entire album has to go to “Sick & Disgusting.” While listeners have been bombarded with nonstop hardcore sound, raging vocals, and all-around sound, one would think this song would be just as heavy. Well… it is. But, in a different way. The song gives an insight to the mental struggle Shomo has been dealing with since his youth and gives himself to fans a vulnerable individual. Between moments of vulnerability to moments of widespread success, Shomo never forgot about his roots and love for the music scene. March 2015 gave us the “DIY Tour & House Shows” where fans got the opportunity to catch Beartooth playing house and basement shows. Something I am truly jealous of is that I never got to experience a show like that.

Album Review: Beartooth – Aggressive – Backseat Mafia

Riding the wave of success, another release through Red Bull Records and UNFD was inevitable. This brings us to 2016 & the release of Aggressive. You know you did something right when the biggest complaint of the internet is the fact that the album cover has a wolf instead of a bear. This was another album of back-to-back-to-back bangers. This album saw the rise of such fan favorites like “Aggressive,” “Loser,” & “Always Dead.” This album lived up to the title: Aggressive. Fans continued their support of the band as they continued their rise up the metalcore ladder- more touring, more headlining shows, and more festival appearances. With the success of the album, another album seemed inevitable. The question and mystery circled around what the newest album would be about- A continuation of the Aggressive album era? A newfound sense of anger and frustration? A totally new concept? And this is what led us to, what some may say, a new era of Beartooth: the Disease era.


One of the most immediate changes for Beartooth that I think almost every fan noticed back in 2018 was the logo. Similar to when other bands, such as Whitechapel, Stick To Your Guns, Stray From the Path, or The Ghost Inside, changed their logo, you just know that means the music will be different. While the sound did change and evolve to an almost festival-level, it still retained those Beartooth bones. Songs like “Greatness or Death,” “Disease,” & “Afterall” all contain an almost Parkway Drive level of music mastery where you know that when the songs are played in a festival setting it will be life-changing. I also don’t know how Shomo continues to make the title song one of the most creative and incredible songs, but he continues to grow with each and every release. Now it wasn’t too noticeable at first, but it seems this is around the time that Beartooth started to have color eras. Disease saw itself surrounded by the color orange. So, what does that mean for the next album? What color would be chosen? What would the focus be? Every single fan was at the edge of their seats as the next release came to light: Below.

Below - Album by Beartooth | Spotify

2021’s Below saw the continuation of the metalcore rise to fame as the purple era started. This is solely my opinion, but this is the album that made me a bit nervous for the future of the band. With songs like “The Past is Dead,” “Devastation,” & “Skin, fans could hear that almost stadium-focused sound. While the album wasn’t a nonstop banger fest, there were a handful of songs that hit just as hard as ever. But, when you think about it, it makes sense. This album was more than likely started around 2020 when COVID came through and shut down everything. Struggling with depression and mental health issues while confined to a home… A nonstop touring schedule pulled to a screeching halt… A lifestyle that was started back at 15 years of age… It is no wonder why the album is considered the darkest album of the Beartooth discography. This thought brings tears to my eyes and hurt to my heart because who knows what the future of Beartooth would have been. Would this be the end of Beartooth? Would this be the end of Shomo?

The Surface - Album by Beartooth | Spotify

Fortunately, when there is darkness there will inevitably be light. Welcome The Surface. 2023 saw the release of one of the best Beartooth albums ever. Filled with positive metalcore, feelings of empowerment, and all-around good vibes, this album is truly Beartooth’s best work. With such feel-good songs like “The Better Me,” “Might Love Myself,” & “Sunshine!” the songs truly bring a smile to the faces of fans as they can scream these words with Shomo. One of the best songs on the entire album has to be “Riptide. After quitting alcohol, Shome debuted the song to the world and took it by storm and surprise. I’m sure I speak for every fan when I say that if this is what the future of Beartooth looks like, then we are all ready for it. 

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