Something witty. Give me a break, it’s Friday

So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society. Like being a human scarecrow.

Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.

This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.

If you don’t know these guys, there is something missing from your life: I’m talking about Botch

Given my poor research of late, I’m playing the lazy card and writing about a band that are pretty well known, and that I know a fair bit about. The way I figure it though is that the one guy reading this who hasn’t heard/heard of Botch will now be converted. You’re welcome.

Botch were one of the most important hardcore bands of their period. Formed in 1993 and hailing from tacoma, Washington, some say they pioneered mathcore. That’s a pretty lofty accolade, and rightly deserved in my opinion. Although I generally like hardcore, I find it a bit boring sometimes, and Botch cut right through that with a bunch of meaty riffs and violent yells like a hot chainsaw through lard.

01. To Our Friends In The Great White North
02. Mondrian Was A Liar
03. Transitions From Persona To Object
04. Swimming The Channel Vs. Driving The Chunnel
05. C Thomas Howell As The Soul Man
06. Saint Matthew Returns To The Womb
07. Frequency Ass Bandit
08. I Wanna Be A Sex Symbol On My Own Terms
09. Man The Ramparts
10. We Are The Romans

As far as Botch records go, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Their final EP, the seminal An Anthology of Dead Ends, could probasbly take the crown; it’s a clusterfuck of amazing, unique tunes. American Nervoso, too, has some stellar tracks, but what I’m actually going to talk about is their best known record: 2000’s We Are The Romans.

Many consider this their opus, and it’s hard to argue with that. For starters, the production is not what you might expect from the genre. Hardcore is usually pretty lo-fi, and that’s fine – I like the DIY, punk ethic – but Botch sounds so huge, particularly here. They even play around with the concept on tracks like American Nervoso‘s ‘Thank God For Worker Bees‘, which starts off sparse and crappy sounding – and then explodes into something absolutely brutal.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WZyumTkVa0]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI67ls-MaMc]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LizrUBa75jE]

They had an awesome career, but in the end they kind of burned out. With the quality of their creative output, I’m sure it was difficult to keep up with the expectation. I think it’s better that way though; I don’t thnik I could stand it if they had put out a bad record.

Not that their split (or ‘indefinite hiatus’ – we can always hope) was a total disaster. About a year before the demise guitarist Dave Knudson formed Minus the Bear who have never been anything short of phenomenal. They continue to go from strength to strength, releasing the excellent OMNI only this year. I saw them tour it, and Dave’s still got it.

Bassist Brian Cook went on to form These Arms Are Snakes, who I’ve mentioned in this column before. If that wasn’t enough, he now fills his time in Russian Circles, a post-metal band that just keeps getting stronger and stronger.

Vocalist Dave Verellen was in a band called Roy for a bit. I haven’t honestly checked them out, but I hear they were pretty good – sort of folk-countryish stuff, for whom he played drums. More recently he retook the mic with Narrows – that incidentally includes Cook’s TAAS bandmate Ryan Frederiksen. They’re probably the closest to Botch of all the post-Botch bands, and also pretty fucking awesome.

As for dummer Tim Latona…well, nobody knows. He dropped off the face of the earth, musically-speaking, and being in the band that he was I’m sure someone would have picked up on any new projects. I did a little research, and found a Tim Latona from the Washington area on business networking site LinkedIn that suggests he’s now a data and technology specialist – if it is even the same guy. Who knows?!

I can’t guarantee a post next week, but I’ll do my best. If not, enjoy our look back at 2010 in the final week of the year. We’ve got some good stuff lined up!

– CG

As ever, if you have any suggestions for this column, please send them my way to chris(at)heavyblogisheavy(dot)com or leave a message in the comments section!
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