Review Summary: We'll never see them again.
Overlooked and underrated, American Nervoso seems to be the most misunderstood of Botch’s releases. Anthology and We Are the Romans have overshadowed Nervoso in the retrospective manner eleven year’s disbandment can create. With Anthology’s short, digestible length and WATR’s arguably softer tone, Nervoso hardly stood a chance.
Botch's style, said to poineer the mathcore genre, was first introduced through their early E.P.s but was more effectively promulgated by American Nervoso. Botch refined their sound from their first releases into something tasteful yet abrasive. Track after track, Nervoso assaults the ears and mind of the listener in a manner that could make even the most grizzled and callous metalhead cringe. Naturally, this album is best received sadomasochistically. It reminds one of the glory in dissonance, and of the sanguinity in release. Throughout Nervoso, Botch creates a soundscape nearly unheard of prior, and unlikely to be created again.
For an album of such fervor, Nervoso utilizes tension and release remarkably, and in such a way that the album flows smoothly despite the generous use of dissonance. Transitions such as (0:52) of John Woo and (2:33) of Oma balance the sound and give the listener a break, although only to create space for the next incursion. However, at many times it can be difficult to tell the difference between tension and release on Nervoso. A riff will build up just to break into a new riff, equally as tense. That’s not to say it doesn't work however. Take Thank God for Worker Bees, for instance. The initial minute simply features distortion, yet when relieved of that restriction sounds completely different, freer, despite that the actual song remains the same.
Despite the abrasive tone of American Nervoso, many riffs, even entire songs break the mold of what genre-hardcore is assumed to be. Only three tracks in, Dali’s Praying Mantis defies the logic set by the first two tracks, featuring vocals that might be considered comical if they weren’t so unexpectedly tasteful. Then after the intro to Dead for A Minute, it’s back to business as usual (whatever that means). This general unpredictability is present throughout the album, and rather than presenting itself as simple eclecticism- which is less oxymoronic than it sounds- it appears as despondent, unapologetic hysteria.
If your head’s in the right (or wrong) place, American Nervoso can be listened to- and enjoyed- in a single sitting. It may require a touch of psychosis, or taste for the grim satisfaction of burning bridges, but regardless if you have either or both, Nervoso will surely outmatch the sweetest melancholy you've ever tasted.
If you don’t, however, it’s doubtful that you’ll enjoy yourself at all.