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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