Botch – American Nervoso (Re-release)
Release Date: July 10th 2007
Record Label: Hydra Head Records
Hot on the heels of reissue of Unifying Themes Redux comes another re-release for arguably one of the most influential acts in the hardcore scene. American Nervoso is Botch’s first full-length effort for Hydra Head and is the predecessor to the band’s critically acclaimed apex We Are The Romans. Why reissue an album that originally came out 10 years ago now? Didn’t Botch break up? Well, yes they did, but there is debatably no better time for this album to get the proper release it deserves. Many bands in the current metal/math/whatever-core genre have built upon the foundations that Botch laid; American Nervoso is where the ground was first broken.
Although not together anymore, Botch has left a legacy that is too noisy to be ignored. Surprisingly, members of the band went on to form groups that are still making headway today such as Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes and Roy. Although Botch is stylistically the furthest thing from Minus The Bear, Dave Knudson’s guitar playing is no less influential. His playing has developed into one of those instantly recognizable techniques where just a few notes give away his identity. Dissonant chords and notes that have no business being paired together sound downright demonic when accompanied by the driving pulse of the band. “John Woo” is a perfect example of Botch’s talent in taking pure and utter noise and making it something wholly cohesive and oddly rhythmically catchy. “Oma” is controlled chaos at its finest. The double-time shred fest melts into an eerily melodic piano outro that acts as a perfect intermission before the blistering hardcore resumes, never letting up again until the final cymbal crashes. Although many tracks incorporate the same basic principles, songs never sound rehashed due to the unique song structures and sheer cacophony of Dave Verellen screaming at the forefront.
Much like the various special editions and re-releases of DVDs, the bonus material is a large reason for the reissue. The disc contains 5 bonus tracks, which range from newly released material to demos of songs that appear on the original album. Some, such as “Stupid Me” are worth the listen, but the demos are limited to die hard fans only. The entire disc has been remixed and re-mastered, tightening up the rough edges of the production from the initial disc. The tweaking of the production is a welcome change that sounds noticeably better from my old copy of the disc. Every twang and second of feedback emitted from Dave Knudson’s squealing amp is now audible to a new level of detail. If you have yet to get the disc, there is no better time than now, however, if you already have a copy, the new version might not be different enough to merit another purchase.
If you listen to Norma Jean or Underoath and have yet to hear Botch, then I suggest you go out and pick up a copy of American Nervoso and We Are The Romans right now for a look at how those bands were pioneered. I was a little nervous as to how this album would hold up when I revisited it for a review. Bands like the above have massive fan bases and the genre has become saturated to the point that many bands are starting to sound the same. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this album holds up after such a long time with so much competition. The disc is not as strong or influential as We Are The Romans, but is not weak by any means and is also widely available for the first time in a while. While not vastly different from the original release, the reissue of American Nervoso is definitely worth a listen for those not familiar with the bands early material and is a must for any fan, if only as an updated endearing reminder of the legacy left by Botch.