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I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Decibel Hall of Fame: Botch, We Are the Romans

A few things came back to my memory while listening to this album (which I had previously owned, but had not spent much time with): one is their semi-legendary light show. For a band setting up on the floor and playing through crappy p.a. systems, it was incredible. My old band performed with Botch in Nashville... We might have played a show in Milwaukee together as well.

There was a certain sense of "togetherness" with the bands that were happening at that time in the so-called "Noisecore" scene. We felt part of it but apart from it at the same time. Like the redneck metal kids trying to fit in with the hipsters. I'd say that scene was basically made up of Coalesce, Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Cave In, Isis, The National Acrobat and a handful of others, all of whom we either toured with or played a couple of shows with at some point.

But I digress. This album is incredible and more than worthy of the "Hall of Fame" in which it was placed. It has twists, turns, depth, creativity and shards of emotional frustration to spare. I can do without the techno-ish outro (which gets repetitive and redundant much too quickly) but otherwise, it's an enjoyable listen.

The other thing I remembered was that this album has a "dis" track about the band Racetraitor. The title is brilliant ("C. Thomas Howell as the Soul Man") and the lyrics are pretty spot on: "The worst music I've ever heard/ the words fall onto the floor." It's remarkable that Racetraitor was able to land on the cover of two "big" fanzines and earn a spot on this somewhat important album without ever composing so much as one good song. It was all politics, theatrics and bravado. Very funny to think about.

*Yes I skipped the album from Atheist, although I listened to snippets. I know they are off-time, "important," and all of that, but I just can't bring myself to listen to a band with that name. Weird maybe, but true. I may skip a couple of others, as well.


Christopher S. Feltner said...

Are you the same guy who used to be in Burn It Down?...who did a split with Racetraitor?...and gave them a great review for M.A.G. years ago? Why the criticism now?

Ryan J. Downey said...

Good question, but to clarify, my feelings haven't really changed. I supported the band back then based on friendship and some shared views. I also appreciated the ferocity and enthusiasm of their presentation. I NEVER accused them, however, of writing or performing good music. And to say that Botch's song title and a few of their criticisms are without either humor or merit would be revisionist history, something Racetraitor preached against.