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Botch - American Nervoso CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.69 | 8 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Progressive metalcore is one of those splinter genres that is too wildly abrasive for prog lovers and too artsy fartsy for many who indulge in the core section at the metal supermarket but has been somewhat popular in crafting a unique hybridization of the two styles for those into both sides of the fence. The term mathcore covers a lot of these bands in a generic sense but just like technical death metal and progressive death metal, has slightly different dynamics which take place. The Tacoma, WA based BOTCH straddled the lines between straight out metalcore and mathcore and thus found a few fans from both sides of the fence including Aaron Turner who was the vocalist for the post-metal band Isis and founder of the Hydra Head Records label.

BOTCH formed all the way back in 1993 and released a series of EPs of loud and abrasive metal / mathcore but also was more adventurous than the usual band of noisemakers by covering unexpected pieces such as Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" on "The John Birch Conspiracy Theory" EP. After several years of taking the mathcore realm to more fertile grounds and incessantly touring which gained the band a larger following, BOTCH finally released its debut album AMERICAN NERVOSO in 1998 which featured a stealthy mix of mathcore laced post-hardcore with occasional drifts into piano based progressive rock. The album sort of went over the heads of many as whole progressive metalcore thing hadn't really caught on yet but nevertheless the band toured with The Dillinger Escape Plan and Jesuit. The album as you may have guess debuted on Hydra Head Records!

AMERICAN NERVOSO originally only had nine tracks on the first pressing but subsequent releases have added five bonus tracks which are all worthy editions albeit clearly in the bonus track realms. The album starts off in full metalcore mode with "Hutton's Great Heat Engine" and is a little misleading as the album doesn't start crafting a more intricate deliveries with more frequent time signature changes until the track takes off. Late on it hots softer passages that escape the incessant bombast of the frenetic bass, drum and guitar assaults linked with Dave Vereillen's frantic screaming, however even on the opening number, BOTCH are clearly not your run of the mill metalcore group as there are moments of more atmospheric contemplation with subdued clean vocals and more guitar sustain than rampaging chords.

Perhaps what is most effective in this kind of extreme metal is the diversity of the guitar riffs and styles of playing throughout the album. One trick pony extremism can become quite tiring for an album's run yet BOTCH excel at keeping the raw core bombast as the album's emphasis while pulling enough tricks out of their sleeves to leave an extremist metal lover's attention fully in tact. In addition to rhythmic variations and tempo changes, the band delivers some progressive deviations as well as a few moments of respite to allow the contrast to sink in such as the space rock beginning of "Dead For A Minute." While labeled as mathcore on many databases, AMERICAN NERVOSO is much more of a progressive metalcore album with some mathcore seeping in once and a while. Regardless of how you classify BOTCH's debut full-length, it's certainly a compelling listening experience if you can handle the incessant screamed vocals. BOTCH would release one more album before breaking up but they certainly made their short run count.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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