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Botch - We Are the Romans [reissue] (Cover Artwork)

Botch

Botch: We Are the Romans [reissue]We Are the Romans [reissue] (2007)
Hydra Head Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

At the Gates. In Flames. Botch. What do these three bands have in common? Current metalcore bands love ripping them off! The specific album most of those ripoffs seem to reference with Botch however is We Are the Romans, the Pacific Northwest sons' devastating, final full-length. But you proba.
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At the Gates. In Flames. Botch. What do these three bands have in common?

Current metalcore bands love ripping them off!

The specific album most of those ripoffs seem to reference with Botch however is We Are the Romans, the Pacific Northwest sons' devastating, final full-length. But you probably already know that. But for those who don't, Hydra Head Records serves you a reminder with the latest in a series of catalog reissues of the band, serving forth a mighty deluxe edition. It's also the reissue with the most bonus material as evidenced by an entire second disc with demo and live versions of nearly every song off the album. We Are the Romans itself is also remastered.

As for the very album itself, it sounds as meticulously crafted and noisy as it did during its original release. Dave Knudson's mind-bending, angular riffs, effects pedal abusing and pulsating finger-tapping resonates below the time signature changes (those ringing riffs in "Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb" still hauntingly great), while vocalist Dave Verellen still gravelly screams over the ever-changing chaos. Instruments seem to bounce off all corners of the studio -- a darkly colorful, explosive cacophony that relents only during its 50+-minute running time for some mellow lulls that merely act as calms before the throat-grabbing storm.

As for the new-ish sound clarity, unfortunately, it's simply bulkier and louder. Matt Bayles' original production, engineering and mixing job never seemed to be terribly unfocused or off; We Are the Romans was always a loud, confrontational record, and the remastering, while trying to push those aspects to the limits, proves that they may have been immobile from the start. Luckily, it doesn't shift the enjoyability of the album in either direction, but it consequently seems sort of needless.

For those who truly love the record, though, the bonus disc is a treat. The band laughs and momentarily jokes around between the demo takes ("Man the Ramparts" was apparently originally called "Fair Maidens Aplenty") and each song offers a slightly alternate perspective; it's sort of like We Are the Romans in a parallel universe. The aforementioned "Saint Matthew" in its demo version seems a little more raw and rugged and its bare bones delivery makes it a mid-disc standout, as does the groove-laden foundation and weird electronic flourish of certain moments in "C. Thomas Howell as the 'Soul Man'." "Man the Ramparts" is even shortened by a good three minutes. The live version of "Saint Matthew" that reappears later is great, too; there's a cool, electronic-tinged guitar loop introducing the band to the crowd and its stop-starts are as pounding as ever, while Verellen sounds like a man possessed. A live "Vietnam" is refreshing, helping to break up the repetition of Romans material.

Despite a questionable remastering, We Are the Romans definitely seems to be the complete package here for an album that collects more and more accolades by the day for the obvious, healthy influence it's continued to provide since its release.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
SilentStorms (October 1, 2007)

How is it that the most bipolar album is the best album I've ever heard? Hmmm. Dunno. Do know ... cheeze I know, that tracks 1,2,3,5,6,7 are the best tracks I've ever heard. No one can ever reach the originality that these guys produced. Get the DVD, it's funny. Or ... GET BOTCH BACK TOGETHER!!! The latter would be sweet.

LetTheDayBegin (September 30, 2007)

Love this album.

AlmostPunkENough (September 30, 2007)

feeding5000...

absolutley, this pretty much transcends 'metalcore' or whatever you wanna classify it as. i don't see how any fan of heavy music wouldn't love this. in fact, i'm jealous you've never heard it cause i would love to experience this for the first time again.

it's not quite "Slaughter of the Soul", but nothing is. get your hands on it ASAP.

feeeding5000 (September 29, 2007)

So...assuming y'all know what I like, does anyone think I should get this? I mean, I'm by no means a fan of metalcore, but I'm into both crust and screamo, so...

DrGunn (September 29, 2007)

y'know, i used to feel that way. but over years and years of listening to it, it's all begun to make perfect sense and even the long man the ramparts outro sounds perfect to me.

punkgato (September 29, 2007)

This record rules...now it sounds louder! Get over your "I heard this the first time when it came out" ego, plenty of 17 year olds didn't and it would be a serious shame if they continued to think Norma Jean or some other shitty, lame Christian band invented this sound! It sounds better, Botch and Hydrahead get extra cash for beer, and teenagers learn the valuable lesson that everything was better before Biblethumpers stole it...grow up and enjoy being old and jaded!

tenwestchaser (September 28, 2007)

"... but the original is a perfect record."

I disagree. The album is too uneven to be perfect. The monk hymn like occapella at the end of "Man The Ramparts" over stays its welcome by a couple miles and the electronic "hidden track" that starts immediately after "Man The..." is even more pointless leaving me wishing they left it off their album. Long story short, what goes on track after track as an awesome album is just thrown off by too much pointlessness that I skip at the very end. A better climax or settling at the end would have been nice.

tenwestchaser (September 28, 2007)

So if the remaster is louder and not much different isnt that a good thing? I personally do not care at all about demos and live versions of songs from any band (evenmy favorites) so if the remaster is worth buying it for I will....any second opinions?

Hey_Asshole (September 28, 2007)

slutty girls from the Carol Stream, Illinois hardcore scene are stoked

Archangel (September 28, 2007)

inagreedase: I guess I should be grateful that it's an honest review of the reissue... when on the other hand you have Pitchfork who give reissues 10.0's because of how great the original was (even if they gave the original an 8.something).

abrrock (September 28, 2007)

botch does this style better than anyone else. the guitar effects are extremely badass. i also love the sludgy bass. great album.

brown (September 28, 2007)

I dunno if I want this re-issue. I have the original and LOVE it, but are the demos really worth the extra money?

inagreendase (September 28, 2007)

Four stars!?

It's a review of the reissue, not the original.

Archangel (September 28, 2007)

Four stars!?

red_eye_inc (September 28, 2007)

Dave Knudson needs to cut that minus the bear shit out and get on the phone with the rest of these guys.

DrGunn (September 28, 2007)

haven't picked up the re-issue yet, but the original is a perfect record.

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