A horrible hack


An Anthology Of Dead Ends

Year Released: 2002
Format: CD
Label: Hydra Head
Reviewed by Alex Deller on Jun 13, 2007
Out of that whole mess of noisy, late-nineties dissonant hardcore, only Botch and Converge really stayed the distance for me. Reason being, or so I'd guess, that they had their own influences, set their own trajectories and knew they wanted to sound like a band that didn't sound like them. Plus they could actually write songs, which is always a bonus.

So, for whatever reasons this six track, five-song affair appears like a landmine wrapped in a pretty pink ribbon. The music, as ever, is dense, inventive and ferocious. Hinged on an airtight rhythm section that allows their resident guitar virtuoso free reign to explore whatever territory he so desires, mathematically jagging and digging into his instrument, making it whinny like a strangled horse or trill like Eddie Van Halen drunkenly crashing a Jesus Lizard set. The noise that ensues is like a cement mixer full of broken glass, randomly stopping and starting of its own accord whilst their vocalist balefully eats bleach for breakfast. One moment of lugubrious clarity surfaces with 'Afghamistam', a seven-minute moment of transcendental quiet, all clean guitar, piano and hushed, near-sung vocals that sounds warm yet brittle, like frayed nerves at the end of a testing day, a smiling face on patience about to break. Naturally it can't last too long, and when we hit 'Micaragua' we know we're in for a gut-churning ride to the finish line. Marvelous.

However, despite the malevolent grandeur of it all, it has to be said that 'An Anthology' does not satisfy whatever beasts 'We Are The Romans' may have left gnawing away at your belly. Like pieces of a half-finished puzzle, the tracks here leave us wondering what might have been if Botch hadn't exploded into dull, shitty fragments like Minus The Bear. While it lasts the trip is bliss, but at just twenty minutes I'm left wanting thirty more on top.

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