“Some of the most impressive heavy music from the past 10 years. It’s been four years since they called it quits, and still, no one has come close to topping their dedication, adventurousness or personality. Botch were dead serious about one thing: fucking ruling.” - Decibel “One of the most revered hardcore bands of the last decade, Botch pioneered the mathmetal school of rock with song structures so complex and musicianship so virtuosic the Seattle quartet might as well have played classical music.” – Revolver “If you’re a fan of metal, hardcore or any of either category’s attendant subgenres and still aren’t worshiping the ground Botch stomped on, we don’t have any hope for you.” – Alternative Press “Disturbingly bipolar, with mercurial guitar parts reverting from frighteningly chaotic to tautly controlled within a breath.” - CMJ “Seattle, WA’s Botch [was] at the forefront of a near revolution in sound in heavy music. A virulent strain of progressive, underground, and sometimes violent heavy metal-infused guitar histrionics steeped deeply in hardcore punk scene aesthetics and the much touted D.I.Y. ethic.” – All Music Guide Perhaps no band has been as influential with only two albums. Endlessly anthologized, fetishized, and eulogized, Tacoma's Botch deserve every bit of their posthumous exposure. Last year saw the release of Unifying Themes Redux, an odds-and-ends collection, and 061502, a document of their incendiary final show in 2002. This year, American Nervoso and We Are the Romans get deluxe reissues. Metalcore band Norma Jean are basically Botch v.2.0; many, many others owe Botch stylistic royalties. When you see bands today jabbing math-y angles into hardcore punk, with short-haired metallic headbanging—Botch runs in their veins. By the '90s, hardcore punk had stagnated into stylized testosterone-fests, all brawn and no brains. Along with Converge, Coalesce, and Cave In, Botch helped make hardcore unpredictable and dangerous again. Instead of breaking down to chugging stomps, songs veered in any number of directions—slicing Slayer riffs, proggy dissonance, sludgy crawls. Lyrics went from simplistically hostile to brainy and abstract. Botch were the artsiest of this new breed, yet their songs were the most memorable. American Nervoso's reissue is eye- and ear-opening. The remixed and remastered tracks sound absolutely massive. Brian Cook's bass becomes low-end lava; Tim Latona's drums are crisp yet beefy, sweeping across the stereo spectrum with fluent rolls. Dave Knudson's six-string scrapes and slides sound like revving Harleys, falling missiles, electric shocks. Dave Verellen's howl sits perfectly in the middle. Even lesser tracks like "Stupid Me" turn into exploding constellations of dynamics. American Nervoso has always been considered merely the setup to We Are the Romans, one of the great albums of the past decade. However, the incredible sound here renders this record a classic in its own right. Latona's haunting piano coda to "Oma"; the "it's so quiet in here" chant of "Hutton's Great Heat Engine"—these are the mutations that alter generational DNA. The reissue's extras are more curios than must-haves. The "Extended Version" of "Spitting Black" adds a long intro, while demos of "Hutton's Great Heat Engine," "Rejection Spoken Softly," and "John Woo" are simply rawer, though extremely competent, renditions. That's it for bonus material; the forthcoming double-disc reissue of We Are the Romans will be much more posh. Even without extras, though, this reissue would be a towering monument. -Cosmo Lee Seattle, WA's Botch is at the forefront of a near revolution in sound in heavy music. A virulent strain of progressive, underground, and sometimes violent heavy metal-infused guitar histrionics steeped deeply in hardcore punk scene aesthetics and the much touted D.I.Y. ethic, with many that community's lowest common denominator, tough-guy minded inflections thankfully absent. It's a subgenre that is most often labeled noisecore. Much like their noisecore peers in bands like Converge and Isis, Botch's sound balks at the established conventions and preconceived limitations of the hardcore genre, with the quartet tastefully and artfully crafting complex, mathematical musical compositions with dexterity, depth, and skill. Advertising copy once appropriately called the band evil math rock. Vocalist Dave Verellen takes his lyrical conceptualization very seriously, filling the band's records with stark metaphors and often incredibly wordy song titles. Botch formed in 1993 when Verellen hooked up with his high school chums Tim Latona (drums), Brian Cook (bass), and guitarist David Knudson -- a lineup that has endured over the years, avoiding the constant changes that many of the band's peers undergo. Two years later, Botch released their first demo on cassette and toured behind it. In 1997, the band joined forces with Boston's Hydra Head Records imprint, a sometimes home to such noisecore genre standard bearers as Cave In, Drowning Man, and other bands. Botch released their first full-length album, American Nervoso, that same year. It was an album that showcased Knudson's incredible guitar playing talents that would soon see him recognized as one of the best players in the underground scene. 1999 saw the release of Botch's We Are the Romans, a profoundly dense, conceptually driven, and meticulously crafted thematic tour de force that heightened the band's notoriety amongst the metal press and garnered them further touring opportunities, including a trip across the pond to Europe (their second) in support of friends/like-minded musicians Dillinger Escape Plan. The next two years saw the band performing live, including an appearance at Krazy Fest 4 in Louisville, KY. ~ Ryan J. Downey, All Music Guide

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