Trivium – Beartooth
For over two decades, Trivium have quietly raised the bar for heavy music by conjuring a near-magic balance between towering melodic metal infectiousness, extreme metal unpredictability, black metal scope, and a kick of rock ‘n’ roll spirit. After forming in 1999, Trivium crafted a classic in the form of Ascendancy. It concluded 2005 as KERRANG!’s “Album of the Year,” went gold in the UK, and has since surpassed global sales of 500,000 copies. Retrospectively, Metal Hammer cited it in the Top 15 of the “The Greatest Metal Albums of the Century.” They’ve earned six straight Top 25 debuts on the Billboard Top 200 and six Top 3 debuts on the Top Rock Albums Chart. One of many standouts from 2017’s The Sin and The Sentence, the single “Betrayer” garnered a GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of “Best Metal Performance.” The quartet reached new heights on 2020’s What The Dead Men Say, appearing everywhere from The New York Times, NPR, Forbes, Billboard, Tech Crunch, and Kotaku to Revolver and Alternative Press. They are the rare band who can incinerate a stage alongside Metallica and Iron Maiden and hold a captive audience of tens of thousands on a Twitch stream. Following 22 years, over 1 million units moved, hundreds of sold-out shows, and half-a-billion streams, the GRAMMY® Award-nominated Florida quartet—Matt Heavy [vocals, guitar], Corey Beaulieu [guitar], Paolo Gregoletto [bass], and Alex Bent [drums]—deliver a definitive statement cast in ironclad guitar fireworks, pummeling rhythms, lyrical provocations, and stadium-shaking choruses on their 10th full-length offering, In The Court of the Dragon [Roadrunner Records]. It springs from the past, seizes the present, and hints at the future of Trivium—and metal—all at once.
The band Forbes declared is “inching towards a tipping point of becoming the latest arena headliner” takes a step closer with “Riptide.” BEARTOOTH’s 2022 anthem sees Caleb Shomo put the pain of the past in the rearview mirror as he takes the steering wheel from fate to command his own destiny. The furiously courageous (almost unnervingly optimistic) song of self-empowerment is a victory lap. “Riptide” memorializes the struggle with mental health and self acceptance, which has defined so much of BEARTOOTH since its inception. Shomo started this band in his basement, playing all the instruments to challenge and purge inner darkness, purely for himself at first. As the band he assembled to play the songs traveled, they discovered how many people recognized the same demons. As Kerrang! observed, “Caleb Shomo is one of his generation’s most remarkable songwriters.” It’s a testament to the purity of intention manifested by the multi-instrumentalist from the start.
Songs like “The Past is Dead,” “Fed Up,” and “In Between” have pushed BEARTOOTH past 850 million streams. The band’s fourth album, Below, topped the Rock, Hard Music, and Alternative charts in 2021 and found its way into Best Rock/Metal Albums of the Year lists assembled by the likes of Revolver, Rock Sound, Kerrang!, Loudwire, Knotfest, and a slew of like-minded media outlets. Rolling Stone introduced BEARTOOTH as one of 10 New Artists You Need To Know, and they rightly described the sound as “like a nervous breakdown, usually with enough optimism to push through.” As the band grew (grabbing trophies at genre events like the Golden Gods and Loudwire Awards), the raw nerve simply became more exposed, sounding wilder yet accessible all at once. Steadily, without pretension, the fearlessly determined and boundlessly creative Ohio-based powerhouse perfected a sound sought by a generation of bands, equal parts solitary musical confession and celebratory exorcism. Their marriage of colossally catchy choruses and post-hardcore-soaked-in-sweaty-metal is without rival. Its effect is evident by their deeply engaged audience; tours with Slipknot, Bring Me The Horizon, and A Day To Remember; and an RIAA-certified gold plaque.
BEARTOOTH is both bomb and balm. An outright refusal to suffer in silence, BEARTOOTH weaponizes radio-ready bombast to deliver raw emotion mixed with noise-rock chaos. Other bands play the “devastating riffs and catchy hooks” game, but for BEARTOOTH, this music is the difference between life and death. As easygoing, charming, and outgoing as these young men may appear, there’s an inner turmoil churning away, only satiated by the savage music they perform onstage. Hard rock and hardcore combine in a way that’s smart, lean, melodic, and irresistible, without apology. The stadium-sized type of riffs found in Metallica and the explosive passion of The Used are equally at home. Back in Black was the first album Shomo ever bought with his own money, and the straight-to-the-point stomp of AC/DC’s masterpiece remains entrenched in the BEARTOOTH backbone. Motörhead’s fast-paced groove and “let it rip” attitude is another part of the anatomy.