Mental health and Metal music. It’s a combination that, sadly, goes rather well, let’s be honest bands like KoRn and My Chemical Romance, among others, have made their bread and butter on such heavy topics. So forgive me, dear reader, if there are not many jokes with this review, but you there are things you don’t f**k with and mental health is one such thing.
Spit into any distance of aDownload Festival crowd and you will find many a metalhead that have had struggles with their mental health, I am one such person and in some respects, it’s why metal is such a great scene to get involved with here in the UK. Metal music does have that sense of belonging, even if we still like to argue about bands like Babymetal or Ghost.
Beartooth is the latest band to talk tales of mental struggle, a band that are very new on my radar, but a band that I actually haven’t had a problem with thus far. They do good albums, write catchy songs, for a band that is – up until this point, two albums deep in their career they have all the tools to be a memorable band and dare say hit the mainstream without compromising too much of their sound.
Sure, I have said in the past that Hardcore music is a very tricky genre to expand your sound without alienating your audience of looney windmillers and pet goats, but if they’re willing to do so, Hardcore bands can indeed expand their sound keep things fresh for themselves, whilst also reaching out to a newer, contemporary audience. Beartooth’s ‘Disease’, their third album is one such example an album that is unforgiving and is a scathing look at one’s struggle with mental health but oh so satisfying and cathartic to listen too.
The album starts off rather somber with ‘Greatness or Death’, with dulcet acoustic guitar and soulful crooning, things kick into high gear very quickly and cleverly written lyrics are abound on this song alone with one such lyric, “I think I am beginning to think, that I can’t outrun these demons, but you know what they say, sickness is in season!”, being profound, yet bold and honest in its delivery and certified crowd pleasure. You can almost hear the masses singing that lyric back.
From here on out, Beartooth is swinging from song to song, each guitar sound, drum beat is as heavy as a gang beating and each lyric being as concise and powerful to get you head-banging in that pit and singing until your lungs cough up enough blood to bathe Elizabeth Bathory’s baths for an eternity in hell. ‘Bad Listener’ is one of the albums many highlights, a defiant scream of a rock and roll anthem and yet, gives you enough identity that it isn’t a paint by numbers like so many ‘anthems‘ before this.
Are there any weak spots on this album? Yes… Kind of. However, that’s more my personal opinion. The song ‘Believe’ feels a bit misplaced, maybe even a bit too poppy for the listeners liking. It’s not an inherently bad song, but it does ruin the flow of the overall album and could have easily been left on the cutting room floor, however, it’s one blemish, on an album that is quite immaculate otherwise.
By time the final chorus of album closer ‘Clever’ belts out, you can tell that there was enough love and attention to detail in Beartooth’s ‘Disease’ if you have had mental health struggles, this album is going to get you right in the feels and it is an album I would highly recommend, without question. One of the best parts about a band on their third album is that if it’s all pulled off successfully, you can pinpoint where their career is changing for the better.
Make no mistake this is that album for Beartooth and the range they have executed is higher than my future after several devils cabbage cigarettes.
If you are currently having a mental health crisis, you are not alone, everyone loves you. Especially me, as your wasting precious minutes reading this article.
I urge you to listen to this album, make yourself a cup of tea, go for a walk, feed some ducks with bird seed and get hold of your doctor. There is still a reason you are here on this planet, full of Donald Trump’s and Brexit’s and while the wider world is going to s**t, your world doesn’t have to be, this album may just save your life.