Botch An Anthology of Dead Ends

When a band as innovative, challenging and as brilliant as Botch releases a six-song EP, their first new material in nearly three years, it should be a time for rejoicing and unadulterated fan boy-ism, not of mourning and what ifs? But that's what An Anthology of Dead Ends is: an epitaph to greatness and a reminder of what's been lost. Because, after nine years, and redefining hardcore with their exceptional 1999 We Are The Romans full-length, the brilliant beast known as Botch has cashed in its chips and left the table. Despite claims, pre-break-up, that An Anthology of Dead Ends would be more linear and straightforward, aside from the brooding, moody lament of "Afghamistam," which utilises piano and violin, and the noise-drenched freak-out of "Micaragua," An Anthology of Dead Ends continues Botch's bewildering and invigorating mathematical permutations on aggressive music, building on past accomplishments, rather than sparking a revolution. Unorthodox, eclectic and jagged riffs collide with odd time signatures, riot-inducing breaks, crazed noise and a more frantic construction, but laced with a catchiness and ferocity few could match. Aside from the banal song titles ("Spaim," "Japam," "Framce," etc.), An Anthology of Dead Ends is peerless and virtually without flaw. Enhanced with a live video and photos, it only reaffirms Botch's legacy in an increasingly banal musical landscape. They will be missed. (Hydra Head)