Crate Diggin’: Botch – We Are The Romans

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Confession: Botch is the first extreme musical act I ever fell in love with. To many they were known as the metal band that covered O Fortuna and Rock Lobster by the B-52s. Were they punk? Were they metal? Were they metalcore, or mathcore? Why didn’t they worship Satan? Why did they break up after only two full length studio albums and a last gasp EP? I don’t have answers to all these questions. It’s highly likely you could find out on Wikipedia, or by listening to their second studio album We Are The Romans.

Released in 1999 on Hydra Head Records, Botch set the standard for “metallic hardcore” all through the 2000s with We Are The Romans. Botch was also one of the first bands to be associated with the tag mathcore, due to their complex playing, jerky movements, and odd time signatures. The Dillinger Escape Plan would later become very famous for playing heavy metal in a similar style. From its confrontational opening to its ten minute plus, epic, stretching finale Man The Ramparts (was a cue taken from Black Flag there?), to imagery associated with warfare in Caesar’s republic; We Are The Romans is a landmark in heavy music and an album aspiring bands should look to for guidance.

Personally, We Are The Romans was a gateway album for me into extreme music and heavier metal. Botch took me from listening to the likes of Metallica’s The Black Album, Slipknot’s Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses, and Linkin Park radio jams to listening to advanced level stuff like Gorguts, Pyrrhon, and Stomach Earth this year and last. I hadn’t heard anything that loud and abrasive before it! It was also the first album I can recall hearing where a lot of the lyrics are indecipherable, but in this case I could pick out some of the good ones. You brought the worst out of me, and it’s here to STAY!!!

I don’t feel Botch have always gotten the credit they deserve. Sure, nerds write about them on the internet, but they were innovators in the style of music they played and are little known in the cultural zeitgeist of heavy metal today. Check out their classic album We Are The Romans and dig around (with your fingers on a keyboard, lol) for the rest of their work. Hit play and turn this shit up!

 

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  • W.

    Good post, NegroD. I love Rock Lobster.

    • Negrodamus

      Thanks Dubya!

    • Christian Molenaar

      B-52s have some classic jams and were one of the first bands I ever heard. Botch are also good.

      • Negrodamus

        B-52s > Botch probably lol

        • Christian Molenaar

          Probably, but Botch are still >most things.

          • Negrodamus

            Christian I meant to run this by you: do you ever find yourself jamming some noise or power electronics records and questioning your own sanity? A Youtube comment on that Sutcliffe Jugend record I played Saturday night posed that very question and it got me thinking lol.

          • Christian Molenaar

            Oh sure, but even moreso when I’m making it myself. I mean there must be something at least a little wrong with you if you choose to throw on some Of Earth and Sun or something for a good time. By the way, you should definitely check him out. I’m not sure how into the more drone-oriented stuff you are but his is great. He uses bone horns, oscillators and drum machines to make this vaguely ritualistic dark ambient/noise stuff.
            http://ofearthandsun.bandcamp.com/

          • Negrodamus

            Now we’re talking.

          • Negrodamus

            Christian have you ever heard of Akitsa? Raw black metal, I just found out about them last night, thought about writing a TOH post about them already lol.

          • Christian Molenaar

            Yup, they have a paragraph or two dedicated to them in my noise post for NCS that I’ll probably never finish. If you like them, check out Malveillance, Ildjarn, Blood Awl, Mἄrsh, Verglas, Vaaska, Axnaar, Vaba Marat, and maybe even Burial Chamber Trio? They’re a little different but you get the idea.

          • Negrodamus

            What about Bone Awl? I’ve heard of them but can’t find shit on them, that real tr00 underground. What about Ash Pool?

            Plus, dude, finish the noise column for NCS!

          • Christian Molenaar

            lol, I meant to say Bone Awl but typed Blood Awl. Anyway both those guys were in a short-lived power violence band called Belabor, and one of them ran Klaxon Records which split off into Seedstock and Cinereous. Bone Awl puts out all their stuff on tape or vinyl only though, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find it digitally. You’re probably better off just listening to Raspberry Bulbs or White Medal, who are basically the same thing.

          • Negrodamus

            I enjoyed that Raspberry Bulbs album from last year, but I have to say metal critics / writers were foaming at the mouth about it’s connection to black metal when to me it didn’t sound much like black metal, I think they just do that when stuff is “in” if you know what I mean.

          • Christian Molenaar

            When it comes to noise, the only writers worth reading are the ones actually in the scene. Traumatic Static (formerly Obskure Pandemonium) is written by Abattoir from Gnashing of Teeth/Black Sheet Servitude and while I don’t always agree with his reviews he definitely knows his stuff.
            http://traumaticstaticwebzine.blogspot.com/

          • Christian Molenaar

            Oh, re: Ash Pool, EVERYTHING Dominck Fernow does is mandatory listening if you like raw black metal/noise.
            http://www.metal-archives.com/artists/Dominick_Fernow/38068
            Another good starting point is the compilation Hail the Black Noise on Dipsomaniac Records (run by Izedis from Enbilulugugal). Download is in the description, by the way.
            http://dipsomaniacrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hail-the-black-noise

          • W.

            I’m totes gonna be peeping that. Also, the fact that I enjoyed WOLD made me seriously question my life decisions.

          • Negrodamus

            The newest WOLD? I dig that Pharmakon a lot but I guess it is pretty entry level stuff no big deal lol

          • Christian Molenaar

            If you dig Of Earth and Sun check out the latest Nighttime in the Abyss album (which I did the artwork for, #shameless). It’s similarly ritualistic ambient that’s worth your time. His back catalog is generally much noisier which normally I’d love but I actually consider this one his best release.
            http://torturecultofficial.bandcamp.com/album/fosforos-a-blazing-black-star

          • Negrodamus

            Who is the “famous” noise guy who does the voodoo style stuff?

          • Christian Molenaar

            Not sure who you mean, any other info?

          • Negrodamus

            I think his name is Cut Hands but I haven’t heard that shit yet either.

          • Christian Molenaar

            Oh yeah, haha! Cut Hands is the new “afronoise” side project of the main dude from Whitehouse (who I think I’ve told you to listen to on multiple occasions, seriously get on it!) but it just sounds like someone downloaded some “tribal loops” and loaded them into Ableton with some distortion. Not recommended, lol!

          • Negrodamus

            I was actually reading about Domonick Fernow last night, that was how I discovered Akitsa, Ash Pool, Bone Awl in name, etc.

            Yeah, I will check out Whitehouse by the gods.

          • Christian Molenaar

            This used to be free but I guess no longer is, I can hook you up if you want though. Lots of must-hear names in the modern power electronics/raw black metal/noise/dark ambient/death industrial community, like Theologian, Xiphoid Dementia, the Vomit Arsonist, Steel Hook Prostheses, Deathstench, T.O.M.B., U-731, Nyodene-D and more.
            http://kalpamantra.bandcamp.com/album/the-black-plague

      • W.

        Time Warp and Love Shack master race.

  • Howard Dean

    We’re not just going to listen to Botch, Tom (Negrodamus) Harkin. We’re going to listen to some Vulcano, and Bulldoizer, and Ripping Corpse. And then we’re going to listen to Ildjarn, and Incantation, and Gorguts. And then we’re going to listen to some Disma, and Katharsis, and Drawn and Quartered. And then we’re going to go all the way to the record store and listen to the first pressing (yellow goat) of Bathory’s S/T! Byaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    • CyberneticOrganism

      #BYAH

      • W.

        That onomatopoeia always conjures an image of a judo chop in my mind.

      • Howard Dean

        Look at that handsome devil! Facepunching fistpumps for all nonbelievers in the Dean Dream! Byyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

    • Steve Smithwick

      This is amazing, and is a gimmick I can really get behind. Slay them, Howard, slay them!

      • Howard Dean

        I will slay them with the artery-clogging power of Vermont Cheddar Cheese! No one can stand against the Cabot calorie onslaught! We’re going all the way to Maryland Deathfest! Byaaaaah!

        • Steve Smithwick

          I HAVE A CABOT CHEESE STORE WITHIN A MILE OF MY HOME. IT IS AMAZING. YOU HAVEN’T LIVED UNTIL YOU’VE EATEN CHEESE INFUSED WITH BACON.

          #BYAAAAAAH

    • I am so glad that you exist!

      • Howard Dean

        And I’m so glad that you exist! Dean-Thrashnkill in 2016! You are a hero to all blog commenters who are fed up with shitty-ass blogs! When the site-that-shall-remain-unnamed tells its readers they don’t care, we tell them to fuck off! Toilet ov hell forever! Flush and purge! Byaaaaaah!

  • To flush or not to flush?

    • Negrodamus

      Don’t flush me, I love your username.

      • ilu2

        • Howard Dean

          Riff Tannen! Make like a tree! Byaaaah! Marty’s coming with the pain train!

  • Sponge Of Mystery

    i’m ashamed to admit i still have never listened to Botch, i’ll get on that

    • Negrodamus

      Happy to be of service to my fellow man!

      (or sponge, as the case may be)

      • Sponge Of Mystery

        Aquatic Living Porifera is the politically correct term, but i’ll let it slide

    • Steve Smithwick

      Same here, I have a new homework assignment tonight.

      • Sight Vnseen

        Never heard of Days of the New until your article. Homework all around.

        • Steve Smithwick

          They’re a labor of love for me. They’re frustrating, from a fan’s perspective, but when shit is going well, they have the best sounding mashup of folk and alt-rock that I’ve ever heard. They’re one of the few bands that I loved as a teenager that I still really love.

  • Deputy Dipshit

    MOTHERFLUSHING BOTCH! m/

    These guys were great!

    • Negrodamus

      Shame they never got it together to finish that third album before they broke up, and the EP wasn’t on par with their two studio albums imho.

  • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

    Oh look, more music that I have to investigate fully. My list is starting to get pretty large, but it’ll have to wait until after I have every note and lyric for The Flesh Prevails memorized.

    Minus one really shitty medical test, this is looking to be a good week.

    • Negrodamus

      I did not get a chance to listen to The Flush Prevails over the weekend, and not I am questioning what the hell I was listening to, and doing!

    • Fromwisdomtohate29

      It’s one of the better problems to have though isn’t it? I have so much new music to look up it’s ridiculous.

      • Negrodamus

        I think I am getting comfortable with the fact that it simply isn’t possible but I will enjoy a lot of the stuff I discover; I want to lend a little more time to records I like but need more time to fully absorb.

      • A Feed From Cloud Mountain

        Oh absolutely.

        Usually to discover new bands I go to LastFM’s site and keep clicking on “similar to’s” for all my faves. Haven’t had to do that in awhile.

  • Mook Styfawker

    I’m one of those fellow people who’ve never heard of Botch until now. It’s pretty damn good, though the vocals are keeping me from loving it. Also, I can clearly hear where the Dillinger Escape Plan got their sound.

    • Negrodamus

      MOOK!

      • Mook Styfawker

        NEGRO! Want some chicken and watermelon? 😀

        • Negrodamus

          =/

          • Mook Styfawker

            Figured I’d get the racism out of the way on the new site ASAP.

    • Poop Mango

      Another band to check out from this era, if you haven’t yet, is Coalesce. Botch and Coalesce used to get compared a lot back in the day because of some similarities re: time signatures etc. but Coalesce is a bit more fluid and “groovy”. Both of them have excellent tracks on the Hydrahead Black Sabbath tribute series “In These Black Days”, which is worth tracking down as well.

      • Reminds me – Coalesce covered Jealous Again on that “Black on Black” tribute to Black Flag. That was a fantastic comp.

        • Poop Mango

          Burnt By The Sun and Converge’s covers on that are what got me to re-evaluate the post-Damaged Black Flag albums.

          • Drinking and Driving is my favorite BF song. I can’t decide who did it better; them or Burnt By The Sun.

    • Mother Shabubu III

      Also; “O’ God, the Aftermath” by Norma Jean is pretty much a Botch album not played by Botch.

  • Good post, Negrodamus. Never heard this before.

    • Negrodamus

      Thanks JAG! Botch is a pretty cool band. They and fans of them got flak for being early “hipster metal” before that was even a term really cause they weren’t into evil and Satan, like they were a “safe” metal band to like.

  • Gorgasm

    I’m one of the poor souls who didn’t find botch until they were long broke up and just a couple years before hydra head pulled the plug. Really thankful for HHR to commit to all the reissues they’ve been doing lately.

    • Negrodamus

      I really dug Hydra Head even though I’m still not totally familiar with their roster. That was like the first “indie” metal label I knew about and was a fan of. They put out a ton of good artists!

      • Gorgasm

        I remember discovering HHR immediately after discovering ISIS and Pelican.

        It was the blossoming of a beautiful, undead, misanthropic flower

        • Howard Dean

          Hells Headbangers kicks ass. Great label/distributor! Dean approved! 0/5 flushes!

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    Just more proof that Brian Cook is one of the best bass players around, if Russian Circles wasn’t proof enough.

    • Negrodamus

      Holy crap I meant to put something about “fan favorite Russian Circles”!

  • Fromwisdomtohate29

    Frequency Ass Bandit. Yeaaahh!!!

    The last EP they released was great too. Framce has one the hardest breakdowns in metalcore.

  • RuIN?

    At the risk of walking into the cool kids’ discussion, I’m going to pipe in. Can someone tell me what I should be listening for here? Maybe I’ve never understood East Coast Hardcore stuff. I think it’s the monotony of the songs. Acquired taste maybe?

    • I wouldn’t necessarily call Botch hardcore. They have a lot of complicated musical elements that traditional hardcore bands never touched. Listen for shifting time signatures and tempo changes.

      • RuIN?

        Fair enough. This timeframe of 1999-2000 was a decidedly un-metal time for me. A time of so-cal punk like Lagwagon and mainstream stuff like Californication. Cool site so far, Joe.

      • Does hardcore have to be simple?

    • Negrodamus

      Am I one of the cool kids?!

      • RuIN?

        Sure. If your post is any indicator. I like discovering new “old” bands and how the bridge is built to stuff that is out today. Dillinger isn’t exactly in my top favorite bands to listen to but hearing this older stuff and seeing how it translates to today is cool stuff.

  • Mr. Bojangles

    While they sound nothing alike, Botch reminds me much of Underoath and how they didn’t fit quite well in to any genre. Not quite metalcore. Not quite hardcore. Not quite pop punk. Not quite sludge metal.

    -Mr. Bojangles

  • mouseporn

    great album

  • guest