The whole concept of one-man black metal projects is quite old. From back in the ‘90s you would have acts like Burzum and Ildjarn (although they would feature also Nidhogg occasionally.) Those acts were great and it was quite nice to see that other musicians today would adapt the same philosophy and try to create solitary projects, with excellent examples being Panopticon and Leviathan. But even within that crowd, Botanist seems to score even higher in the nihilistic scale. A one-man project created by an actual botanist, who according to his own website: “lives in self-imposed exile, as far away from Humanity and its crimes against Nature as possible,” while awaiting the demise of humanity. Well if that is not black metal attitude and thinking I do not know what is.
Botanist has an underlying folk-y vibe within his black metal. But that comes almost solely from the feeling that this album gives to the listener and it seems like the structure of the songs and its melodic lines are just a testament to that. While with the inclusion of the hammered dulcimer Botanist is able to acquire a unique sound, I mean come on… how many black metal acts are out there that use a hammered dulcimer? The results are amazing, with the instrument standing out in the spotlight, and what is even more impressive is that it highly enhances the structures of the band’s songs. And when you have on top of that the frenzy patterns that the band is laying out, you cannot go wrong with VI: Flora.
Still, what is even more remarkable is the ability of Botanist to find a fine line between melody and dissonance. Take “Cinnamomum Parthenoxylon” for instance, with the track beginning in a horrific manner, making your brain melt and then Botanist are somehow able to put melodic lines buried, but still perceivable, within the track. The result is insane, with the merging of these two sides causing real cognitive dissonance. A similar pattern is followed in “Dianthus,” with Botanist starting things off with a more melodic mentality before unleashing waves of discord and mayhem, and in a much more interesting extent in “Leucadendron Argenteum.”
Then there are those moments when Botanist just want to suck all the light out of this world and really get down to it. When you hear a track as dark and dim as “Wisteria,” you get a glimpse at the true darkness that lies within the heart of this band. But, what is even more impressive is that there still are moments within VI:Flora where you are able to find catharsis in Botanist’s songs. The amazing melodies of “Pteridophyte” have an almost cleansing effect on the listener, while, on an interesting note, the opening track “Stargazer” brings in an almost sentimental tone from Botanist. And on top of all that, Botanist is able to craft songs that are fucking epic in nature. Take “Rhizophora” for instance, with its mid-tempo groove and huge melodies creating vast sonic landscapes. And with that sick effect on the vocals you will not be forgetting this one anytime soon. A similar epic feeling can be found within the faster paced “Erythronium” within the folk vibe making a strong appearance in this one.
Botanist has really outdone himself with this one. Even though the nihilistic element is always there, the album contains a few interesting twists that the band is coming up with, making VI: Flora a great experimental black metal album.
Posted March 24, 2015, 5:25 a.m.
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