Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Artist of the Day: Botch

Undisputed mathcore heavy hitters Botch can still hold their own. Alongside Converge, Botch's technical stylings coupled with unique song structures and raw metal sound inspired a whole new generation of metal and hardcore bands in the 2000's through to the present. Modern metal bands have borrowed so much from Botch that they probably don't even notice it, and the influence is just one reason that Botch are true pioneers and legends today.

Botch's brief but substantial catalog takes the raw, potent energy and performance of hardcore punk and pushes it even further. Crushing breakdowns, stop-start tempo changes, blazing riffs, and extremely technical guitar noodling are just some of the high lights of the Tacoma, WA band. After releasing a handful of EPs, the band unleashed the The Unifying Themes of Sex, Death and Religion which combined previous material into one package. The harsh and shrill screams overlay driving bass lines like in "God vs. Science" and take a more straightforward snare beating assault like in "Third Part In A Tragedy."  A year later, Botch's first studio album American Nervoso continues with the raw sound, giving the overall album a live-performance feel. "Dali's Praying Mantis" features a hauntingly catchy riff with groovy drums, while "Thank God for Worker Bees" thrashes onward with screeching guitars and bouncing headbang-worthy riffs.

 The band's pinnacle release, We Are the Romans, is widely considered to be the band's most prominent work. Featuring an even more intense technicality and intricate musicianship, Guitars spiral down and around in an ebb of distortion and out into simple mid-tempo rock parts, which change progression over and over into breakdowns, interludes, and outros. This is exemplified in "To Our Friends in the Great White North" and "Transitions From Persona to Object" which are fairly progressive tracks, featuring main compositions which are repeated and built upon. The album closes with the epic "Man the Ramparts," a nearly 11-minute march that works into a climactic crescendo. The angelic interlude near the end only adds that much more mystery and a rest stop before the close.

The band's final release, An Anthology of Dead Ends, came in the form of a perfectly-executed EP. "Afghamistam" is the stand out track. Featuring clean vocals, a memorable bass line, a piano and some spoken word, the song is everything that Botch's previous material is not. Despite this, the band's technicality still thrives, and the rolling distortion at the end that ramps up into "Micaragua" is nothing short of spectacular.

Botch is one of the most vital bands of the late 1990's and early 2000's for the metal and hardcore scene. A flawless discography and dedicated fan base continue to push Botch into the hand's of a newer generation, reflecting in the likes of contemporary artists like Every Time I Die and Norma Jean. Though the band is defunct and members went on to perform in Minus the Bear and Narrows, Botch continues to be a favorite amongst metal heads and hardcore fanatics alike.

You can stream the band's discography on Spotify or Bandcamp. The music can also be found on iTunes, and you can purchase physical versions of the releases through Hydra Head Records.


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