Another offering is coming from the worshippers of the Verdant Realm that are Botanist. On this record, they delve into the mystery of photosynthesis with 8 tracks. Nature worship at its most pure and basic, I would say, with the ever-hammering dulcimers foregrounded and making the band still unwelcome on Metal Archives for some clouded reason.
It’s always been challenging to figure out what number this album is in the Botanist discography. We went from VI to IV, which were followed by the ‘Collective: The Shape of He to Come’ in 2017 and ‘Ecosystem’ in 2019. I suppose this is VIII… or VII. Regardless, a concept album about how plants convert sunlight into energy, how they transform carbon dioxide into the oxygen that all fauna need to breathe is a remarkable thing in itself.
What I like so much about the sound of Botanist is that you get the full intensity of black metal, but more smooth. It’s like adding milk to your coffee, a blasphemous act I never pursue myself, to take off the edge. The clear vocals on a song like ‘Water’ even so make it easier to take in the story of the song. I suppose this is also the aspect of Botanist you might object to from a purist point of view: no guitars = no metal. But that’s not a discussion I care for, because the music stands on its own, even if you start calling the genre wood instead of metal. I’m sure the band would like that in fact.
But that doesn’t mean the sound is mild, on tracks like ‘Bacteria’ we certainly get to experience eruptions and violence in the best black metal tradition. Or ‘Dehydration’, which definitely give s bit of a rough rubbing. But yes, all over the thing you easily notice about this record is how Botanist maintains harmony within the whole. That does fit in with the concept but has in my listening experience been the consistent factor in their music. Each record is one journey and filled with flourishes and nuances, but one flow to follow, as nature itself is. ‘Photosynthesis’ embodies that best.
Label: The Flenser
Origin: United States