Botch
We Are the Romans


4.5
superb

Review

by Ryan Flatley EMERITUS
March 21st, 2007 | 1462 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We Are The Romans is an Earth shattering album that fused hardcore and metal to create an album of technical genius.

The year was 1999. Prince told us to party like it is 1999. The world had us thinking there would be computer mayhem after the year 1999. The same year that George W. Bush told us that he would be a republican candidate for the upcoming election. It was the same year that the Euro was introduced as a major form of currency. Yet after all of events, three blunders and one economic uprising (give you a hint, the economic uprising did not have anything to do with George W. Bush), there was one record in 1999 that changed a genre of music as we know it or perhaps even created one. In 1999 in Tacoma, Washington the four members of Botch created an album that is considered one of the best within its genre entitled, We Are The Romans. A title that is a statement about the United States thought of immortality, but a realization that we are not. The album cover shows what appears to be New York City with a huge blot of black ink covering the city. Within the blot is a red target, signifying that the United States is indeed a target. The even more disturbing aspect of the art is the fact that when you first open the contents, there is a picture of destroyed buildings. That picture, perhaps, tells the story of what will happen in the near future to the United States or maybe Botch themselves. Now then, let us get to the album that Norma Jean tried to base an entire album off.

Botch had only produced two full-length albums during their brief career as a band. We Are The Romans was the second of the two and a major advancement from their earlier release, American Nervoso. While American Nervoso was an amazing record in its own regard, it was not produced well and not as groundbreaking, musically, as We Are The Romans. During this release they came up with catchy and yet menacing guitar riffs, thick distorted sludgy bass riffs, extremely technical drumming.

As an opener, “To Our Friends in the Great White North,” kicks you directly, square in the nuts. With an initial shout, the guitar, bass, drums immediately follow. A consistent downward scale is played on the guitar that soon slyly transitions in a chug-to-high chord section. It then begins to break down as the pace begins to slow down. On and off head banger riffs follow at a slow dissipated pace that leads into a clean vocal section chanting

it’s your fault (it’s your fault)
***ing up the kids (***ing up the kids)


The chant is repeated for a few solitary moments and then it becomes tacit with just a high-hat keeping tempo that quickly turns until another heavy part with intense guitar work. The initial reactions after this song that it was simply mind blowing. The album maintains its ride of almighty power into the next song “Mondrian Was A Liar” with math metal elements incorporated. “Transitions from Persona to Object” continues the theme of memorable guitar riffs with a hook that is repeated and altered throughout the duration of the entire song. While the noises protruding may not be the most pleasant to the ear, they certainly add to the effect of destruction. While some may say that the repetitive nature of the song continues for far too long (clocking in at just over six minutes), the overall feeling was that it could not be abruptly stopped after any given point. It eventually comes to a halt when the drums are the only remaining instrument left. “C. Thomas Howell as the "Soul Man”” provides a sloppy and gritty performance with classic tapping guitar riffs. Also contained is a three note distorted bass riff that evolves into a clean break within the song that builds up into chaos that then tapers off.

More than half way through the album, We Are The Romans needed a shot of pure adrenaline. In what is the climax of the album, “Saint Matthew Returns to the Womb” has an unspeakable feeling about it. The song practically defines metalcore (in an album that is the start of metalcore, as we know it, perhaps). A song that combines classic elements of brutal metal and what can be considered “fun” hardcore. It is a true staple strong in the short lifespan of Botch. Finally, in what maybe be considered the song that may have predicted Botch’s downfall, “Man The Ramparts.” Surely, one can look at the album in the eyes of America’s downfall, but ironically, Botch may have fell first. Think about it this way, it was their last full length without conflicts of the direction the band was going. It is a song about preparing for what is ahead, because it will soon be a collapse, but not without a last stand.

We’ll man the ramparts
With arrows ready
With our flags up
We are the Romans


The song can almost be related to a battle. It starts as it were trudging along to the beat of a war drum with off time guitar and bass. It then starts the battle with a brutal scream and fiery fierceness to it. As it continues, it slowly disassembles and then regains composure into the previous intensity. The song dies down, with every beat and it begins to fade into a choir hymn saying We are the Romans as almost collecting forces to join for one last hurrah. Eight minutes and thirty now elapse, the quintessential loudest section of the entire song ERUPTS. Precise drumming and abrasive chords carry on until the final hits of the instruments and the last screech and it everything stops.

It is over. The piercing screaming, the rhythmically brilliant drumming, the coarse sound of the bass, and the memorable guitar riffs are no longer. While “I Wanna Be A Sex Symbol On My Own Terms” is the only track that I feel was a grave disappointment, they produced an unbelievably solid record. We are the Romans was a completely original album in its own regard and left a legacy behind. They made the music that was out there more interesting and complex. Botch created a fusion that was perfected with this release. I am glad one thing will never change, no matter what year it is next; I can still listen to this album.



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user ratings (1405)
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4.3
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other reviews of this album
feelthemetallica (2)
Imagine a Between the Buried and me, crossed with a Converge that's vocals are the worstest you coul...

YetAnotherBrick (5)
Intelligent and abrasive, but never pretentious or obnoxious, We Are the Romans shatters the earth, ...

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Far and away one of the best metal albums of all time....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AlienEater
March 21st 2007


716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

earthshattering indeed

Confessed2005
March 21st 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Botch are such an awesome band and this is an excellent album. I sometimes prefer listening to An Anthology of Dead Ends but this is just killer.

Great review too.

Iai
Emeritus
March 21st 2007


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Big fan of this album.

Now then, let us get to the album that Norma Jean tried to base an entire album off.

Did you mean career?

RunAmokRampant
March 21st 2007


228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well it is some 6 or 7 years old now.

trustxdialect
March 21st 2007


1502 Comments


I like this so far.

Intransit
March 21st 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

if this was a better converge, this band would be the best ever.

Good review. You know my feelings on the album.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 21st 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Did you mean career?


yes hahah but there is evidence of them requesting the producer and some other guys who were on this album to make "O God The Terrible Music"

cbmartinez
March 21st 2007


2525 Comments


If you can get past the obvious heavy Botch influence and infamous reputation, I think fans of this album would enjoy O' God, The Aftermath.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
March 21st 2007


2125 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't get why everyone hates Norma Jean. Or maybe I don't get why I like them so much.

Anyway, killer album, possibly my favourite 'heavy' album.

trustxdialect
March 21st 2007


1502 Comments


I like this more than No Heroes, but it pales in comparison to Converge's better line-up.

superfascist
March 22nd 2007


118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this pales in comparison to everything else Botch has done, especially American Nervoso. But then again, I'm always changing my mind about that. =/This Message Edited On 03.22.07

SylentEcho
March 22nd 2007


1570 Comments


And Botch is not metalcore , its "Mathcore"

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 22nd 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

don't even start with the genre issue...I agree that it's metalcore/mathcore but they are more of a metalcore pioneer rather than say Dillinger who are mathcore pioneers.

Wizard
March 22nd 2007


19441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, you have only further interested me into checking this band out!

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

trustxdialect
April 6th 2007


1502 Comments


Alternative Press did an article on these guys, detailing their history. It made me go back and listen to this album again, and it's better now that I fully appreciate it. Sparked my interest in getting American Nervoso, if anything.

GleamInRanks
April 8th 2007


298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is fantastic. I love the guitar looping on Transitions from Persona to Object. Makes me want to buy a KAOSS pad.

Is it okay if I add 061502 to their albums?

This is a good review by the wayThis Message Edited On 04.08.07This Message Edited On 04.08.07

cbmartinez
April 8th 2007


2525 Comments


I thought the last track is called "We Are The Romans?"

trustxdialect
April 8th 2007


1502 Comments


That's what it says on mine.

iarescientists
April 8th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Is it okay if I add 061502 to their albums?

Yeah, anybody can add albums.

GleamInRanks
April 8th 2007


298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Does an album usually come up right after you submit it?



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