Pioneering mathcore outfit Botch have surprise-released their first new material in 20 years.
Titled One Twenty Two, the track channels the angular, off-kilter riffs with which the band made their name on landmark late-’90s releases American Nervoso and We Are the Romans, albeit with a much crisper production – it’s particularly pleasing to hear Dave Knudson’s wild pitch-shifter bends in a heavier context once again.
The song will feature on the vinyl reissue of We Are the Romans, due November 4 via Sargent House (opens in new tab). You can watch the video for the track below.
Formed in 1993, the Tacoma, Washington outfit is notable for introducing the world to the innovative stylings of guitarist Knudson (later of Minus the Bear) and eventual These Arms Are Snakes and Russian Circles bassist Brian Cook, who played alongside drummer Tim Latona and vocalist Dave Verellen (brother of Helms Alee guitarist and Verellen Amplifiers founder Ben Verellen).
Though critically acclaimed, Botch split in 2002, citing writer’s block and communication difficulties.
While the group’s upcoming vinyl reissues were no secret, the release of new material will come as a surprise to many fans, especially given Knudson told Guitar World a reunion is “not in the cards” back in May.
“We’re older, slower, bigger,” he laughed. “We don’t have the same stamina that we used to. I think it would be really, really difficult to be able to pull it off.”
Tellingly, however, the guitarist didn’t rule out new material, even if live shows remain unlikely.
A press release for One Twenty Two reveals the track came about as a result of writing sessions for Knudson’s debut solo album.
“During Covid, I was writing my debut solo LP, and mentally, I was sick of everything in quarantine. Lots of frustration had set in at home, and I figured the best way to deal with it was to write something heavy,” he recalls.
“I had no intention of writing anything for Botch, but when I was thinking of a singer to collaborate with, I thought, 'Hey, I know the best hardcore singer ever to do it,' so I hit up Dave V. He was super excited and so it just kind of snowballed from there. There was never any intent or conversation about getting back together or writing. It just happened so naturally and was a great release for all of us to make it happen without any of the traditional pressure an 'active' band faces.”
Reflecting on the band’s ongoing popularity, Knudson told GW earlier this year, “It’s so cool that people still care. We started out as dorks in high school; we couldn’t get anybody to listen to us. Some of the [earliest] Botch stuff was so terrible – thank God it doesn’t exist anywhere – but it’s so cool that people still dig [the records].
“I find it weird to talk about sometimes. There were a lot of bands that were doing that [style as well], we certainly weren’t the first. We idolized Deadguy and metal bands like Sepultura. We just took all those influences and tried to make something unique.”