I am guessing that most people are familiar with Botanist and their unique take on black metal, in terms of instrumentation and vibe. The band has released a series of great records through the years, replacing guitars with hammered dulcimer, focusing thematically on, as the name would suggest, flora. This journey has led to a peak with VI: Flora, with Botanist releasing its descendant, EP3: Green Metal in their contribution to this collaboration.
Oskoreien joins this effort, a relatively not well known project of Jay Valena, having already released a couple of demos and two full-length records. The band initially employed a viking metal aesthetic in their works, which begun to transform into an experimental take on black metal, with the inclusion of programmed drums and synths.
This release will be a joy to anyone who has a soft spot for the more adventurous side of the genre, and still appreciates a traditional approach. On one hand Oskoreien introduce their music with weight and purpose, as “Deterministic Chaos” displays. Their heavy, slow pace encompasses elements of doom within their black metal core, and it seems like the pagan take and viking past has also allowed them to easily call upon more majestic tones. This is beautifully packaged with the inclusion of the drum machine and the ethereal synths, moving the project in a trajectory which includes influences from Godflesh, albeit with a more mellow touch. They even have the courage to try out an unconventional courage with Placebo's “Without You I'm Nothing,” managing to make the track their own, and following a similar setup as in their title track.
On the other hand you get Botanist, for whom I will never get tired of mentioning how great the hammered dulcimer is in their music. Not only the instrument is able to take the place of the guitars, and pierce through the mix beautifully, but it has been able to switch the focus that black metal traditionally has. Sure, majestic and raw tones are employed throughout, and the structure of the tracks does not greatly diverge from the core of the genre, but the contradiction exists in the band's identity. On one side the darkness of black metal is present, but the brightness and bite of the dulcimer create a perfect contrast, a dissonance between these two worlds. That was the case with VI: Flora, but it becomes even more prevalent with EP3: Green Metal.
The collaboration here is successful, with both bands showcasing their tinkering of the black metal identity, through diverse means. However, I still consider that this should be a record for any black metal fan. Sure, both bands do not use a traditional setup, but the essence of the genre is still solidly planted in their compositions.
7.7 / 10
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