[8 February 2007]
Formed in 1993 and disbanding just before the decade mark in 2002, Botch unfortunately met their demise just a few short years before metal would re-enter the mainstream consciousness. Who would have thought that in 2006 a band like Mastodon would not only be on a major label, but would garner massive critical acclaim? While Botch were never able to fully celebrate the posthumous praise heaped upon their only two full length albums, American Nervoso and We Are the Romans, reputed metal label Hydra Head Records are at least making sure the records stay in print.
Unifying Themes Redux is one of a series of planned reissues and releases that look to keep this until-now-overlooked band within the metal consciousness. Unfortunately, this collection of early b-sides, compilation, and EP tracks are for diehard fans only, and hardly display the technical prowess and precision that would appear on the group’s subsequent long players. Much of Unifying Themes Redux is very much mired in the E-chord chugging hardcore of the early ‘90s. But there are flashes of humor and brilliance. “The Opera Song”, a cover of Carmina Burana‘s “O Fortuna”, and “Rock Lobster”, the band’s take on the classic B-52’s cut, highlight a group that was more than willing to look beyond the confining borders of the hardcore scene for influences. But these are exceptions, as the rest of the disc, in all it’s poorly produced glory, is merely slightly more intelligent takes on the same standard mosh grind that was pumped out of basements everywhere in the Nirvana years. But like a tease, the disc ends with fantastic “Sudam”. The instrumental track, blessed with decent production, showcases the forward thinking compositions and unrelenting energy that would mark the group’s future classic albums, which, thankfully, will be back on store shelves soon.