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    Default Botch



    Tacoma, Seattle WA, United States (1993 – 2002)
    With polyrhythmic guitar stylings, raw vocals, progressive song structures, and a unique sound, Botch were prominent in the underground hardcore scene from 1993 until 2002.

    In May 1998, the four-piece from Tacoma, Washington released their first album, American Nervoso.

    On November 30, 1999, Hydra Head released Botch’s We Are the Romans. Since its initial release, bands have been influenced by its style, creating, to many, what is now called mathcore.

    Recently, Hydra Head Records has released Unifying Themes Redux, an anthology of EPs and compilation tracks as well as a few unreleased tracks and a live set that was originally released by Excursion Records. In addition to this, on December 5 Hydra Head released 061502, a CD/DVD of Botch’s final show.

    American Nervoso was remastered and re-released in July 2007. The new version included four demo tracks and an extended version of Spitting Black. In September 2007 Hydra Head released a deluxe edition of We Are the Romans featuring two discs; the first being the actual album, and the second filled with seven demos from the album and four live tracks.

    Since their break-up in 2002, members have gone on to take part in bands such as Minus the Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Roy, and Russian Circles. After a long hiatus, singer Dave Verellen has recently returned to the scene with Narrows.

    Botch was:
    Dave Verellen (vocals)
    Brian Cook (bass)
    dave knudson (guitar)
    Tim Latona (drums)

    DISCOGRAPHY :
    The Unifying Themes of Sex, Death and Religion (Excursion, 1997)
    American Nervoso (Hydra Head Records, May 1998)
    We Are the Romans (Hydra Head, November 1999)
    An Anthology of Dead Ends (Hydra Head, October 2002)

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    Botch - 2002 Unifying Themes Redux

    Tracklist :
    1. God vs. Science
    2. Third Part in a Tragedy
    3. Inch by Inch
    4. O'fortuna
    5. Closure
    6. Contraction
    7. Ebb
    8. Stupid Me
    9. In Spite of This
    10. End of Discussion
    11. Wounded
    12. Liquored Up and Laid
    13. Leavers Take on Genesis
    14. The Lobster Song
    15. Frequenting Mass Transit
    16. Sudam
    17. Untitled

    There are a lot of bands that paved the way for new sounds way before their time but are either criminally overlooked today, or on the opposite end of the “giving respect where respect is due” spectrum, way too hyped. Botch certainly isn’t over-hyped -- their contribution to modern metal is nothing short of crucial. However, they don’t get a lot of love outside of their relatively small group of fans -- which is anyone with a proper enjoyment of hardcore or metal. Anyone can sing along with "Rappers’ Delight" but find me someone at a Jay-Z show that can name a Botch song.

    Unifying Themes Redux is the first in a number of Botch reissues that will be seeing the light of day through Hydra Head. It’s a fantastic record, no doubt, but not necessarily the first one I’d jump on laying my money down for. Offering material from early 7-inches, compilations, rarities, and a full live set that were originally released together back in 2002, Unifying Themes Redux sadly offers nothing new to listeners. 061502 on the other hand presents the band’s final performance on CD and DVD while the American Nervoso reissue will come with material previously unavailable. There are even some of the original releases kicking around the offices of Excursion Records, who released the original. So as a reissue, Unifying Themes Redux might not be the best purchase.

    But here’s the thing, 90 percent of the hardcore and metal fans I know, don’t own a Botch album. It’s not as though this is some marketing ploy on the hands of Hydra Head. There should be demand for this music, and with any luck there’ll be enough talk around multiple reissues to generate such demand.

    For a collection, Unifying Themes comes across as impressively cohesive. While it’s not the band’s best work (see We Are the Romans if you’re interested in that), it is interesting in that it really shows where the band was headed. Most of the songs on Unifying Themes show the band beginning to create what would come to be the foundation for bands like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan, while at the same time not hinting too much at some of the less impressive aspects of their music that would show up on later albums, such as a more mainstream rock-metal sound as heard on An Anthology of Dead Ends. The tracks here are ferocious, the guitars are technical to the point of accusations of impossibility, and the tempo changes are unpredictable and brutal. On a few occasions, Unifying Themes falls flat, if only because you know what’s going to happen with the band later on. But by and large, it is a fantastic introduction and a great ingredient for a recipe of “why won’t they tour again?”

    Again, this isn’t Botch’s best work, nor should it be a priority amongst their re-releases. But taken for what it is, it’s great, and it’s still better than most of the bands cashing huge paycheques off Botch’s sound.


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    Botch - 2007 American Nervoso (Reissue)

    Tracklist :
    1. Hutton’s Great Heat Engine
    2. John Woo
    3. Dali’s Praying Mantis
    4. Dead For A Minute
    5. Oma
    6. Thank God For Worker Bees
    7. Rejection Spoken Softly
    8. Spitting Black
    9. Hives
    10. Stupid Me
    11. Spitting Black (Extended Version)
    12. Hutton’s Great Heat Engine (Demo)
    13. Rejection Spoken Softly (Demo)
    14. John Woo (Demo)

    One album prior to Botch's landmark effort, We Are the Romans, came American Nervoso, the metal(lichard)core act's first full-length. While proving to be not quite as influential or accomplished as Romans, Nervoso was a frothing, still technical and confrontational album that was no less heavy and even a bit more dissonant, fitting in perfectly with their mid-to-late`90s brethren of the time (Converge, Coalesce). The latest offering in Hydra Head's recent flurry of activity regarding the pioneering quartet is a remixed and remastered reissue of that 1998 album along with a couple bonuses thrown on for good measure.

    Standard album numbers like "Dali's Praying Mantis" proved the band weren't humorless brutes, as it was a nearly all-instrumental attack that seemed to pre-date the overuse of "horror chords" that popped up later across the rosters of Trustkill and Solid State Records, with the song having one solitary lyric: a repetitive yell of "yeah!" Brutal cuts like the solid "Dead for a Minute" and "Oma" channeled the metallic aggression of the band's own influences (Unbroken, Deadguy), but even the latter of those closes with Tim Latona's solemn piano coda.

    The new, more aural setting applied to Nervoso makes songs much more clearer and dynamic as well. "Thank God for Worker Bees" starts with dusty drums that sound programmed and distorted vocals until the band's groove-oriented bombast and shapeshifting, heavy angularity comes into play, conveying an astute sense of soft/loud / restrained/aggressive.

    With only nine songs on the original release, a "new" song, "Stupid Me" (taken from the Nervoso sessions one would assume), plus an extended version of "Spitting Black" and demo versions of three other tracks fills out Nervoso quite well -- in fact, it pushes it to just over fifty minutes' running time. There's nothing particularly mesmerizing about the additional offerings unless one claimed a sickening love for Nervoso and wished to dissect every differentiating nuance, but their presence is certainly no detriment to the reissue. "Stupid Me" is an impressive number though, as it's much more intense than the majority of the album that precedes it and makes crafty use of interchanging, frenetic riffs.

    American Nervoso may not be regarded as Botch's pinnacle but it's certainly where they thrust into the door of the metal/hardcore scene and made their inkling, showing that their craft had reached a serious developmental point that would only prove to be the tip of a towering, threatening (and consequently crumbling and tumbling) iceberg. -Brian (Punknews.org)


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    Botch - 2007 We Are The Romans (Deluxe Edition)

    Tracklist :
    CD1
    1. To Our Friends In the Great White North
    2. Mondrian Was A Liar
    3. Transitions From Persona To Object
    4. Swimming the Channel vs. Driving the Chunnel
    5. C. Thomas Howell as the “Soul Man”
    6. Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb
    7. Frequency Ass Bandit
    8. I Wanna be a Sex Symbol On My Own Terms
    9. Man The Ramparts
    10. Thank God for Worker Bees (Remix)
    CD2
    1. To Our Friends In the Great White North (Demo)
    2. I Wanna be a Sex Symbol On My Own Terms (Demo)
    3. Transitions From Persona To Object (Demo)
    4. Mondrian Was A Liar (Demo)
    5. Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb (Demo)
    6. C. Thomas Howell as the “Soul Man" (Demo)
    7. Man The Ramparts (Demo)
    8. Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb (Live)
    9. Vietmam (Live)
    10. Transitions From Persona To Object (Live)
    11. Hutton’s Great Heat Engine (Live)

    Originally issued in 1999, We Are the Romans was Botch’s second full-length, but to the chagrin of many, was also their last. Though the breakup occurred two years after the release of this, their swansong, the Washingtonians left such an indelible mark on the scene that their concepts would turn up later in the music of bands like Norma Jean, among myriad others. Thankfully, Botch seem steadfast in their decision to remain disbanded, and rather than reunite, former members continue to forge ahead with new, musical endeavors such as Minus the Bear, Onalaska, Roy, and These Arms Are Snakes. After all, a reunion could result in a comeback album, which would inevitably pale in relation to previous installments in their discography. Speaking of their catalog, the remastered Deluxe Edition of We Are the Romans is the finale of the Botch re-release treatment that covered 061502, Unifying Themes Redux, and American Nervoso. So fitting it is that their quintessential album has been expanded by one whole disc, which offers most of the recordings in demo form, and a few live tracks. It goes without saying that “To Our Friends in the Great White North” and “Mondrian Was a Liar” are no less hard-hitting nor infectious as they were seven years ago – prior to the alarming surge of metalcore and post-hardcore. Other intricate, raging numbers like “Transition from Persona to Object,” “C. Thomas Howell as the ‘Soul Man,’” “Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb,” “Frequency Ass Bandit,” and “I Wanna Be a Sex Symbol on My Own Terms” are convoluted yet fully comprehensible, though a mid-paced song such as “Swimming the Channel vs. Driving the Chunnel” possesses a sound that the Neur-Isis niche is now known for. When discussing We Are the Romans, one need mention the 10-minute “Man the Ramparts,” which is the longest, most climactic of the lot. The midsection chanting is unique, but more importantly, effective too.

    As noted above, the second disc has a wealth of demos up for grabs, and surprisingly, each is of high quality in both production and execution. Further endearing is the fact that studio banter personalizes each song. Otherwise, there are no major changes except for the significantly shorter, chant-free “Man the Ramparts.” The four live renditions are satisfying, if muddy or flimsy, and Botch fans will definitely recognize “Vietmam” from their sole EP An Anthology of Dead Ends and “Hutton’s Great Heat Engine” from their debut American Nervoso.
    Despite the asinine song titles – that part of the quartet’s trickle-down influence I could do without – We Are the Romans is required listening for anyone who has even a casual affinity for this particular style. While metalcore has a less than favorable image these days, and though there are anomalies to the following claim, there was once a time when it could be played innovatively and with verve. Botch’s catalog proves just that.


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    Botch - 2002 An Anthology Of Dead Ends EP

    Tracklist :
    1. Spaim
    2. Japam
    3. Framce
    4. Vietmam
    5. Afghamistam
    6. Micaragua

    Botch were the last great inspirators. Like At the drive-in, Refused, Godspeed you! Black Emperor and many more before them, no one knew who the hell they were until their demise. However, since ending, aformentioned bands went on to much more recognition. Botch, 3 years after this, their swansong e.p, still remain a very untouched apon band. Even though half are now creating the same metal genious within clever pop songs with Minus the Bear, Botch are still a very unheard of band.

    Botch were creative wizards. As a result they are the proud fathers of "Math-Metal" where bands like Dillinger Escape Plan have now taken over. Where alot of bands kept topping their works each time, At the drive-in, Refused, Botch, although following the same path, had TWO records that changed everything. Their second and final album "We are the Romans" is what showed everybody why they were such an important band and how they switched from, mis-understood noise merchants to creative geniouses.

    However, this, their final e.p, topped up everything they stood for in 21 minutes. It showed their abilites to create, minimalistically ('Spaim'), how to create noise within acceptable pop boundaries ('Japam'), create haunting ballands ('Afghamistam') and how to top it all off with one huge agressive jam session ('Micaragua').

    Botch were also a band who always wanted to come up with creative song titles. Previous albums saw them make songs like "John Woo" and "Saint Mathew Returns to the Womb". But this time, the idea was to make one word titles which still fit the obscure sound of Botch. The result, six tracks taking the names of countries and replacing the "M"s with "N"s.

    Just remember, this is not an immediate album, mainly because Botch were never an immediate band, that was partly the point of their existance, to change things. This is a stunning piece of work. To cram so much into an e.p is a task simply too tough for most, which is probably why Botch decided to end it this way. A special album by a special band who changed everything, wether you understand it or not is totally upto you. -Adam Turner-Heffer


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    Botch - 2002 061502 DVD (Final Show Video + Extras + Video Clip)

    Tracklist:
    1. St. Mathew Returns To The Womb
    2. C. Thomas Howell As The “Soul Man”
    3. John Woo
    4. Japam
    5. Oma
    6. Frequency Ass Bandit
    7. Thank God For The Worker Bees
    8. Framce
    9. Third Part In A Tragedy
    10. Rock Lobster
    11. Transitions From Persona To Object
    12. To Our Friends In The Great White North
    13. Hutton’s Great Heat Engine
    14. Man The Ramparts

    Without any introduction, Botch unleashes "St. Matthew Returns to the Womb". Right away you notice that the cameras that were used to film the concert are not of the highest quality. The picture is very grainy and is very hard to watch at some points. This is one of the main problems that I have with this DVD. Some fans might be disappointed because of the low quality of the picture, but I think that this was done intentionally to give it a more underground or DIY look. Also you may notice that the bands playing is very sloppy, except the drummer, Tim Latona. The guitar is hard to follow with the mass amount of feedback that screeches every time he stops playing, (think The Chariot's Everything is Alive... album, another band that Botch has had a major influence on.) although he fixes the problem by the next song.

    Dave Verellen's dedication of "C. Thomas Howell as the Soul Man" to straight-edge bands marks the beginning of one of my personal favorite Botch songs. The intro punches you in the face and does let up for awhile. The song then enters Dave Knudson's guitar experimentation with a guitar line played on the highest string with loads of delay. This quickly morphs into a simple chord progression played on bass with a sheer amount of fuzz distortion to accent the progression. A horrendous scream from an audience member signals the rest of the band to join in to finish the song.

    "John Woo", from American Nervoso showcases more of Knudson's talent when he starts some sort of harmonic bending. If your parents were listening, this is the point where they would open up the DVD tray and snap 061502 in half. In the DVD commentary, Knudson admits that he saw the harmonic bending technique on a Saturday Night Live episode with David Bowie as the guest. I guess it shows his large range of influences.

    After asking the crowd for more "quality heckling" and Verellen asks the crowd to comment on his weight proclaiming, "I'm chubby, I know it, tell me about it," the band pounds through "Japam", "Oma", which apparently means "grandmother" in German, and "Frequency Ass Bandit". All of these songs deliver the signature Botch sound, with the added aggression of Verellen screaming like a madman over the top it. Track eight introduces my favorite song off of Botch's last e.p. An Anthology of Dead Ends, entitled "Framce" . The song starts off with the guitar's squealing feedback and explodes into the guitar riff laden with some sort of electronic sounding effect. It sounds very close to a pitch bender that would be on a keyboard. The songs goes on to a riff that contains more of The Chariot style feedback (well, I should call it Botch style feedback because The Chariot would exist if it wasn't for this band.)

    After "Third Part in Tragedy", a song from what I presume is off of an early 7" or something of the sort, and the odd cover of the B-52's "Rock Lobster", complete with screaming an all, starts the main course of this DVD. My all time favorite Botch song "Transitions from Persona to Object" begins with the odd, yet simple guitar riff with a rather low amount of distortion, one of the rare moments of the concert where you eardrums aren't being pummeled with a wall of sound. This riff is played for a while with the rest of the band joining in occasionally. The most active instrument is the drums. Latona plays with the crazy time signatures provided by the guitars, which is why I consider him an amazing drummer. His playing in "Transitions..." consists of interesting double bass patterns and some cool snare rolls that intertwine with the guitar at one point. The song repeats itself entirely again and then Knudson starts putting his Kaoss pad to good use. A Kaoss pad is a piece of equipment that is able to record short guitar clips and then it plays it over and over again, non-stop. The guitarist loops the guitar riff that starts the song and then he starts to record the same riff chromatically until it becomes a complete mess. He then puts his guitar down and starts messing with the speeds of his guitar loops and making them sound completely insane. The song ends with a simple drum beat that actually becomes the next song.

    With the highlight of the concert over it is not hard to think the next songs aren't going to be as great, which they're not but they are still worth watching . "Our Friends in the Great White North", dubbed "the Canada Song" by the band, and "Hutton's Great Heat Engine" are just as intense as earlier songs and as easily enjoyable. The show ends on a rather strange note. A sample of the choir on "Man the Ramparts" plays as there is a lot of commotion on the stage. The band and a bunch of random people start playing the ending to "Man the Ramparts". Botch exit in a hail of not so great guitar playing, which seems sort of ironic seeing that most of the bands the proceeded Botch, are not great at all.

    The major problem of this DVD is the video quality. Throughout, the picture quality is grainy and not crisp at all. The sound quality is great and I was able to hear every instrument well. 061502 should only be purchased by die-hard fans of Botch. Some standout features was the drumming, the brilliance of the guitar and the fact that I was able to hear the bass. It should also be noted that this DVD contains five tracks from a different live show back in 2000, full band commentary and a music video for "St. Matthew Returns to the Womb".



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