From sunny California, home to oodles of bands of which I have named in past reviews, plant-themed "black metal" Botanist "welcome[s you] to the verdant realm" with one of the oddest releases I've gotten my hands on as a music reviewer. Eschewing the normal guitar-based route on which the "metal" style of music has stagnated since its inception, this solo project of the reclusive "The Botanist" features extensive use of a concert-sized hammered dulcimer in conjunction with his strange, croaking voice and all-too-precise drums. To put it lightly, with the hammered dulcimer in place of the guitars, Botanist achieves a unique, strange, memorable, "natural" atmosphere that, as strange as it is, almost makes sense. Seeing as this forty-some-odd song double album follows most normal black metal conventions as far as melody, song structure and overall atmosphere, the dulcimer, with its bell-like ringing, acts more as a new medium through which one can express the sentiments found in black metal. Sonically it's a very unique take on the genre, but melodically it has a lot in common with other more conservative bands found in the West Coast scene like Leviathan or Pale Chalice. Of course, since I am a fan of both of those projects, you won't hear any nay-saying from me, and with punny song titles like "Rhododendoom," the comedian inside of me can finally enjoy black metal without having to make fun of it.
Botanist's timbre-unique take on black metal, dubbed "plant metal," takes a strong stance against the normally guitar-oriented genre. Yeah, it sounds strange at first but if I've learned anything from the countless times I've listened to both discs of this album is that it's a grower for sure. These alien, almost emotionally vacant recordings present a new twist on a still-burgeoning "scene" in the West Coast. Be sure to order both discs from tUMULt's official distributors at aQuarius Records ASAP.