Botch – Unifying Themes Redux (CD)

“God Vs. Science” actually, however little it has obvious harmonies, works as a track. The title of the song is a perfect indicator for the style of music that will be issuing forth on your speakers. The back and forth screaming that is such a hallmark during “God Vs. Science” continues into “Third PPPlay In A Tragedy”, but Botch adds a few different things to this introductory track. This is not the noise music of acts like Men’s Recovery Project or Agoraphobic Nosebleed, but Botch actually takes on a lot of sludge rock during the entirety of “Unifying Themes Redux”.

“The Opera Song” moves even further from the traditional tenets of noise music and goes into a blend of hard rock and hardcore; Botch is not an act that feels as if they have to approach their music in a certain way time in and out. Tracks like “Ebb” continue with the very clean sound of things, even as the somewhat distorted guitars paint a little fuzz into the equation. Botch has a similar sound to “Spoonman”-era Soundgarden at points (mainly, those instrumental interludes) during “Ebb”. Botch makes an album that works well as a cohesive unit, and I could almost see some of the songs on this disc making it onto radio (albeit, during the late night rotation).

The guitar work that is dominant during “In Spite of This” seems to show Botch as a band of classic metal fans, and while the screaming is much more Shai Hulud than Venom, one knows that there is some thrash in Botch’s collective closet. The vicious drums that are commonplace during “End of Discussion” really give that track a much-different quality than anything else that has taken place during “Unifying Themes Redux”. It is great to hear that Botch can still learn new tricks, even half-way through this album. The band does well in staying away from any one style of music, and maybe it is the case that the “Unifying Theme” that Botch talks about is the band’s Protean ability to squirm away from anyone that might try to pin them down with a specific genre label. The fact that Botch can even throw some classic jazz into the mix (during “Liquored Up and Laid”) gives credence to that theory. Give this Botch album a go if you want something that pushes the limits of what music is, rather than just pushes the same style for a half hour.

Top Tracks: Liquored Up and Laid, Ebb

Rating: 6.2/10

Botch – Unifying Themes Redux / 2006 Hydra Head / 16 Tracks / http://www.hydrahead.com / Reviewed 01 October 2006

[JMcQ]

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