Botch

We Are the Romans

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

We Are the Romans is a solid display of new-school metallic hardcore (or metalcore) from a band that's not afraid to experiment. In other words, there are plenty of heavy guitars and angry, raw-throated vocals, but these more standard elements are offset by jagged math rock rhythms, a keen sense of dynamics, and some unusual-for-the-genre production techniques. For example, "Transitions From Persona to Object" uses an almost electronic drum sound in one spot, the subdued "Swimming the Channel vs. Driving the Channel" features a close-up guitar tone that differs sharply from the rest of the album, and "Man the Ramparts" includes a lengthy, reverb-drenched choir/chant interlude. In terms of songwriting, Botch doesn't strive for the dizzying complexity of Dillinger Escape Plan (with whom they've toured) or even Coalesce, whom they otherwise more closely resemble. However, their odd-time grooves and jagged, interweaving guitar lines are definitely a few steps beyond the ordinary hardcore-metal fare. As some of the song titles suggest, the lyrics tend toward the obscure side of the spectrum and are often merely vague (e.g., "People you never see the ones you'll never be/Working with their hands we've downsized again" from "Mondrian Was a Liar"). Like many other bands in the metalcore genre, Botch could stand to take themselves a tad less seriously, but We Are the Romans is still an impressive release that is generally stronger for its ambitions -- lyrical and otherwise -- despite the little bit of baggage they yield.

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