Beartooth released their newest album, The Surface, to the masses this past Friday (13th), and fans are getting to see a new side of the band, as well as lead singer Caleb Shomo. After going down what seemed like a never-ending dark rabbit hole with Beartooth in the previous four records, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. With the release of the lead single, “Riptide,” in July of 2022, fans were given an opportunity to see into the soul of Shomo’s new look and lease on life after pitching alcohol to the curb in the search for mental and physical well-being.

As the singles rolled in, more and more, we were enthralled by not only the positive lyrics but also the same upbeat tempos and heavy drops that we had come to love. With names like “Sunshine,” “Might Love Myself,” “Doubt Me,” and “The Better Me,” every single kept us wanting more, and finally, Beartooth has delivered. With an 11-song album, we have already been treated to half before launch, and the rest was well worth the wait. Shomo took the lead on the album by not only writing it but once again producing, mastering, mixing, and engineering it as well. From beginning to end, we’re treated to highs and lows, both musically and lyrically, giving us heavy riffs where they need to be and having music drop out for distinctive vocal highlighting and dramatic effect.

The only real way to listen to this album is to read the lyrics and understand that “The Surface” is a story of someone’s life. From the lead track, bearing the album’s name, Shomo gives us a glimpse into how crippling a person’s vice can make life for them. “Riptide” follows as he sheds his past and doesn’t want to let his past keep him down. “Doubt Me” sees him talking back to doubters who think he can’t move forward, almost like they’re waiting for him to fail. “The Better Me,” which features country rocker HARDY, talks about how we all promise tomorrow will be better and how tomorrow never comes, so start today.

“Might Love Myself” talks about how one can truly only move forward when one loves oneself, and nothing can really change around you until you change yourself and your mindset. “Sunshine” is the way out of the darkness when it’s so dark, and you think this might be the end. “What’s Killing You” is a look inside oneself when you’re on a downward spiral and what’s happening with a loved one watching it all unfold. “Look The Other Way” is about shame and how you feel when you want to be left alone to pick up your life, but someone is still there to love you.

“What Are You Waiting For” is a driving rock song with heavy riffs that basically asks the question… why wait? Start now! “My New Reality” is an outlook on how life is going for someone who has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and is on the right path in life, living their best life, and wildest dreams. The album ends with “I Was Alive,” which, in an Instagram post, Caleb spoke to as his favorite song on the album. For a good reason: it’s a song looking to the future, taking chances, living life to the fullest, and being alive.

It’s easy to listen to any song on this album, bang your head, and sing along, but to listen to the WHOLE album, from beginning to end… is to live life… even for a few moments, through Shomo’s eyes. Hours before the album’s launch, Caleb took to Instagram with a video, asking those who see it to give him and his band a chance to listen to the album. It’s a humbling video where he seems quite uncomfortable and out of his element after listening to it many times and reading through all the lyrics word for word. I understand why! It’s as though he opens his journal to the world and allows everyone to read it.