In a Knotfest exclusive, the Beartooth architect details the toll of lockdown, the emotional heft of getting back to live music, and the importance of the band’s fourth full length album.
Since the release of the band’s powerful fourth album Below, Ohio juggernaut Beartooth have been on a tear – relentlessly touring in support of arguably the band’s most complete effort to date.
Having already completed the first leg of the album’s namesake tour, success of the first stretch ensured that round two would be equally if not more devastating given the time that fans have had to marinate on such a potent album. Enlisting Silverstein, The Devil Wears Prada and ERRA for the follow-up, part two of the Below Tour has seen incredible reception in the way of capacity rooms all eager to experience the unhinged intensity of one of heavy music’s most dynamic contributors.
As if the adulation of the fans wasn’t a convincing enough metric, Beartooth have also scored a win in regards to the critical reception of Below just same. In fact, Beartooth will headline the 6th annual Heavy Music Awards, presented by Amazon Music UK. Helmed by a broad counsel of international music professionals and driven democratically by a fan-engaged voting process, Beartooth earned not one but two nominations – both as Best International Artist and Best Album of The Year for their 2021 full length effort.
In a recent interview with respected journalist and cultural advocate, Ryan J. Downey, Beartooth architect Caleb Shomo spoke about what the climate has been like in the months since the release of such an effective body of work.
Taking time before hitting the stage on the second portion of the Below Tour, Shomo spoke about the turbulence of the last two years and how the nature of the lockdown wasn’t an especially far reach for a creative that works best in an environment of isolation. Shomo detailed that the final show of the band’s previous album cycle was March 6th of 2020, literal days before the world shuddered and life as we all knew it turned upside down.
What Shomo didn’t anticipate – much like the rest of the world – was the duration the normalcy of the world would be interrupted. As the weeks turned into months, time became blurry and the urgency to submit their best work seemed to make less sense. It’s then that even the best suited to an environment of isolation began to feel the walls closing in.
Though Shomo confided his own struggles with the pandemic, he expressed his genuine dismay for the bands in particular that endured the most damage – the bands that either just released their best albums or were on the cusp of breaking through. Having to face that complete loss of momentum, becoming white noise in an understandably preoccupied world, is the kind of collateral damage of the pandemic that Beartooth was fortunately able to sidestep – even if it meant harnessing the power of Below for longer than they had anticipated.
As for the emotional toll of the last two years – Shomo recounted the kind of visceral reaction he had being back in a live music environment for the first time in a working capacity. He revisited that night with Downey, recalling watching one of the opening bands on the first night of the Beartooth tour and becoming overwhelmed with emotion – to the point of crying on the side of the stage – a completely involuntary emotional purge that proved just how powerful the subconscious can be.
It also speaks to the kind of connection Shomo has with his craft.
Watch part one of the Knotfest exclusive interview with Caleb Shomo of Beartooth below.
The 2022 Heavy Music Awards take place June 5th and will be hosted by Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker. Catch Beartooth headlining the 6th edition of the awards presentation. HeavyMusicAwards.com