There was a time, particularly around the summer of 2003, when Poison the Well were the coolest band you could like. They came out of nowhere (for me, at least) and by that summer, I remember nearly every hardcore kid at Reading Festival was wearing a PTW t-shirt. Their set was very early in the day and dangerously mental from start. I've never seen more people leaving a pit bloodied and beaten as I did that day.
I was introduced to Poison the Well, rather unexpectedly, by the singer of shitty nu-metal/punk band Amen; he'd curated a mixtape for Kerrang! Magazine to give away as a free cd - it had some surprisingly strong moments, including Turbonegro, Refused and The Birthday Party. He'd chosen the song Botchla, which opens up the band’s second album Tear From the Red. That song was huge - the gentle intro quickly gives way a brutal assault that dominates for the rest of the record. You could see why the band was so popular - songs like that were written for messy mosh pits.
I always felt little else on the album lived up to Botchla. When you only really have very heavy hardcore and the ability to occasionally put in a bit of singing/spoken word, there's not a great deal you can do. My main memories of the album are Botchla and that the song title Parks and What You Meant to Me was the most emo song title I could imagine. Moments Over Exaggerate is quite strong, and the following song, Horns and Tails, opens up Side 2 in a similar way to Side 1 - acoustic guitar and singing. It's strange though, without the hardcore parts, songs like that are just generic, acoustic emo, of which there was plenty at the time (and I imagine not what most fans were after - it's fine in the context of Botchla because it juxtaposes the hardcore). Karsey Street is differently out-of-place, sounding like a filler from an industrial album.
I found this LP in a record shop in Bristol, a few months after it came out. I was in town for an open day at the university and made the most of the time there by checking out the local record shops. I found the shop because they were playing some fairly heavy metal on speakers outside - it was basically beneath a roundabout, so I'd never have found it if not for that music. It's since closed (of course), but I got a good haul in there that day, including Lookinglasself by Snapcase, and a Cave In record for Hugh. I paid £9 for Tear From the Red, which I'm still happy with - a quick scan on Discogs shows that it still sells for more than twice that (although that is basically the price of a new LP these days, so maybe it's just inflation).
Format: 12", insert
Cost: £9 new
Colour: Transparent red