From Where We Came Is Where We’ll Rest: Old Wounds, Old Music, New Guys Playing It
As, shockingly, there are quite a few bands that sound like Botch, weeding out the ones worth paying attention to is simultaneously tough and instinctively simple. Hear enough of them and you can tell which ones are leftovers from other mediocore bands looking for something to do and the ones who heard that kind of music and wanted to contribute something of their own to it. There’s a subtle difference between “let’s start a band that sounds like…” and “I want to start a band that sounds like…” Old Wounds graphically illustrate the productive side of this difference. Which is why From Where We Came is Where We’ll Rest is such a fun listen: while the music isn’t fresh, it’s fresh to the guys making it. They’re making discoveries and seeing what they can do. That excitement is palpable, adding an extra layer to something that usually just gets its first layer flopped around.
This isn’t saying the record is excellent or even that exceptional. But it’s good to hear some life breathed into this sort of thing. The feedback that fills in the spaces between needling dissonant riffs provides welcome abrasion and the hardcore sense of propulsion keeps things nourished. From Where We Came has an interesting sense of peaks and valleys as well, as the band have no issue slowing things down to a doomy trudge, throwing themselves into the occasional angular breakdown, and even nauseous moments of unnerving calm. The riffs are all good, too: something like “Born to Mourn” would be just another shifting time signature jog through the park, but with chunky hardcore chords, Dillinger-y runs, and spacey asides, it’s something much more fun and vital. It’s only 25 minutes, but From Where We Came manages to feel pretty substantial.
Even the vocals are a little more varied than the initial impression might suggest. They seem to be more obnoxious than obnoxious-on-purpose (though that ambiguity is kicked to the side for “thethievesweknew” because… woof. They’re unbearable there.) But most of the time, they blend well with the cluster of discordance. There’s nothing new on the album, but it’s better than most albums that get that backhanded compliment. There’s an intangible element to hearing bands that sound like they’re into it as opposed to bands starting something up because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Old Wounds embody that element. While From Where We Came Is Where We’ll Rest may be ultimately run-of-the-mill, there may be something there worth paying attention to that’ll kick in a few records down the road. In the meantime, there are worse ways to spend… well, less than half an hour.