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Friday Tunes: Botch ‘We Are The Romans’

August 16, 2013

Something a little bit noisier this week for our Friday Tunes pick in the form of Botch’s landmark 1999 LP ‘We Are The Romans’. If you appreciate heavy music in any shape or form, then I urge you to check this record out. I still remember the first time I heard this album way back when. That crazy heaviness offset with this weird math-y choppy feel was unlike any other band I’d heard previously. To this day I still find new bits to appreciate about this record when I put it on.

With one LP under their belt previous to this (1998’s American Nervoso), Botch (comprised of  Brian Cook – bass guitar, backing vocals, Dave Knudson – guitar, Tim Latona – drums and Dave Verellen – vocals) had made something of a name for themselves through relentless touring and acquired the clunky term ‘mathcore’ along the way as a means of describing their previously unheard sounds. Unlike a lot of heavy music, Botch didn’t simply rely on down-tuned guitars and growling vocals to get their point across. Dave Knudson’s guitar work was incredible in both its complexity and also his unorthodox approach to playing (check the mid-song detuning in Hutton’s Great Heat Engine).

In a week where the internet lost its shit over a Kendrick Lamar verse dissing other lacklustre rappers, Botch were doing things more succinctly back in '99 with a track like C. Thomas Howell as the 'Soul Man'. Bassist Brian Cook described the song as a dig at “other bands with these very lofty political ideals that seemed like more a marketing tool for the genre of political hardcore rather than a sincere agenda”. Check the lyrics and notice how you don’t have to mention all your peers by name to get a point across.

I make no secret for my love of this band. If you already dig them, then I know we can be friends. If not, then please check ‘em out. Botch went on indefinite hiatus in 2002 with member going on to play in bands in Minus the Bear (ok), Narrows (not so much), and These Arms are Snakes (criminally underrated). The band’s label Hydra Head has done some nice reissues over the years which you can check out HERE, as well as releasing the awesome live DVD 061502 which you can watch in its entirety HERE

By SeanM