Release DetailsLABEL Hydra Head
RELEASED ON 9/11/2007
We Are The Romans (Deluxe Edition)
posted on 10/2007 By:
Originally issued in 1999, We Are the Romans was Botch’s second full-length, but to the chagrin of many, was also their last. Though the breakup occurred two years after the release of this, their swansong, the Washingtonians left such an indelible mark on the scene that their concepts would turn up later in the music of bands like Norma Jean, among myriad others. Thankfully, Botch seem steadfast in their decision to remain disbanded, and rather than reunite, former members continue to forge ahead with new, musical endeavors such as Minus the Bear, Onalaska, Roy, and These Arms Are Snakes. After all, a reunion could result in a comeback album, which would inevitably pale in relation to previous installments in their discography.
Speaking of their catalog, the remastered Deluxe Edition of We Are the Romans is the finale of the Botch re-release treatment that covered 061502, Unifying Themes Redux, and American Nervoso. So fitting it is that their quintessential album has been expanded by one whole disc, which offers most of the recordings in demo form, and a few live tracks. It goes without saying that “To Our Friends in the Great White North” and “Mondrian Was a Liar” are no less hard-hitting nor infectious as they were seven years ago – prior to the alarming surge of metalcore and post-hardcore. Other intricate, raging numbers like “Transition from Persona to Object,” “C. Thomas Howell as the ‘Soul Man,’” “Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb,” “Frequency Ass Bandit,” and “I Wanna Be a Sex Symbol on My Own Terms” are convoluted yet fully comprehensible, though a mid-paced song such as “Swimming the Channel vs. Driving the Chunnel” possesses a sound that the Neur-Isis niche is now known for. When discussing We Are the Romans, one need mention the 10-minute “Man the Ramparts,” which is the longest, most climactic of the lot. The midsection chanting is unique, but more importantly, effective too.
As noted above, the second disc has a wealth of demos up for grabs, and surprisingly, each is of high quality in both production and execution. Further endearing is the fact that studio banter personalizes each song. Otherwise, there are no major changes except for the significantly shorter, chant-free “Man the Ramparts.” The four live renditions are satisfying, if muddy or flimsy, and Botch fans will definitely recognize “Vietmam” from their sole EP An Anthology of Dead Ends and “Hutton’s Great Heat Engine” from their debut American Nervoso.
Despite the asinine song titles – that part of the quartet’s trickle-down influence I could do without – We Are the Romans is required listening for anyone who has even a casual affinity for this particular style. While metalcore has a less than favorable image these days, and though there are anomalies to the following claim, there was once a time when it could be played innovatively and with verve. Botch’s catalog proves just that.
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American Nervoso (Reissue)
Unifying Themes Redux
An Anthology of Dead Ends