Botanist - Ecosystem (2019)


After nearly getting hives and having to puncture my eardrums to make the sound stop with Botanist “I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead” release back in 2011, I have seen the band from afar evolve their sound and actually saw them play live once. Arriving to our inbox, we have “Ecosystem”, the band’s latest offering through Aural Music. Hearing the band with a new perspective after 8 years, we have to say that their sound now seems more cohesive and engaging, completely changing our initial shock reaction to their music.

Opening with “Biomass”, the hammered dulcimer creates a very unique and chaotic atmosphere, nicely exacerbated by the harsh screams. We are quite surprised by the contrast created by the angelic clean vocals in tracks like “Alluvial”, were they nicely change the mood of the track until the following hellish onslaught of harsh vocals and fast paced drums appear. Creating a very tense and dramatic atmosphere, the ravaging dulcimer makes “Harvestman” one of the best songs in this release.

With the overall concept of this being about the ecosystems of the redwood forest in the West coast of the USA, the band’s lyrical context is definitely one of the most unique out there. Tracks like “Sphagnum”, “Disturbance” and “Acclimation” nicely set a very harrowing mood, that is somewhat soothed at times thanks to the clean vocal arrangements and the instrumental passages. The folky “Abiotic” is an interesting piece that shows a very different side of the band.

Closing with the intense “Red Crown”, we are left actually quite surprised with “Ecosystem” and its uniquely complex music. Things feel less random and more cohesive than before (our only reference is their first release), making Botanist’s music quite unique and engaging. While we are not fully converted into the band’s style and sound, we can appreciate how ‘out of the box’ their sound and lyrical context is and are sure that many others will appreciate. If you are looking for a truly unique musical experience, be sure to get yourself a copy of this release.

Band: Botanist Album: Ecosystem

Label: Aural Music

Release: October 25th, 2019

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Genre: Avant-garde/Experimental Black Metal

Country: USA

Rating: 90/100

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