It felt like it was just yesterday that we were talking about how apocalyptic themes seem to take up a lot of time on this site. That’s because it was yesterday, and here we are, 24 hours later, and that point is being cemented home again. Though this is not the same kind of end, a totally different means to bringing humankind to an end.
It’s been a little while since we’ve visited with the Verdant Realm, home of the Botanist, the main character of dulcimer-hammered green metal band Botanist, one of the most interesting and consistently bizarre bands in all extreme music. Botanist now have signed up with Aural Music, a place that seems as good a home as any for them since musically they align. As a part of that, Botanist (led by creator Otrebor, though he’s flesh out the lineup over time) are looking a new full-length efforts and a series of reissues, the first of which is 2015’s “Hammer of Botany” that got a limited release and now is being rolled out to a larger audience with a mammoth new song tacked on at the end. For those who don’t know, the epic of Botanist’s music revolves around the Botanist, a crazed man of science who isolated himself in the Verdant Realm, away from the toxic machinations of mankind as he awaited the end. Demon Azalea is portrayed as the entity that speaks to the Botanist (the whispered vocals) and directs him on how to help bring about the fall of mankind and the rise of the Plantae Kingdom.
“The Footsteps of Spring” has drums rattling, whisper-based growling, and a haunting aura as the voices spread, and the melodies turn mind-numbing in a good way. The vocals creak while the miasma of colors unfolds before the song fades away. “Flame of the Forest” has a rapid heartbeat to start, with wild shrieks scraping, rhythmic drums ticking away, and whispers then mixing in with the brutality. The track delivers heavy drama, as darkness unfolds and envelops the region, an ominous spirit tracks its way, and the track blasts back out again and sends reverberations. “Upon the Petals of Flowers” is a quick track but effective while it lasts. The track erupts, letting the drums smother, whispered vocals haunting and growing inside the Botanist’s head, and everything ending vibrantly but abruptly.
“Stachys Olympica” begins with sticks cracking and a moody setting pulling over everything, as a choral treatment treads lightly underneath the waves, and warbled vocals generate confusion. Then the song gets a little brighter and about as poppy as a Botanist song is bound to get, bouncing along its path gloriously while it rises and falls. “Pelargonium Triste” had drums pummeling, the dulcimer lines glimmering, and a cold, freezing vibe that makes your skin burn. The pace buzzes amid spoken-style growls, while the track ignites again toward the end before the track rolls out. New track “Oplopanax Horridus” runs 12:50 and is Otrebor alone, and things gets started with growls and strange choral parts intermingling as a weird, Medieval feel makes this feel like something from the Middle Ages. The track morphs and alters itself, spilling into drama and elegance, with the song getting darker and damper as it goes. Cries reach out as the drums crumble, and the song hits a faster, crazier pace that sounds like it’s sound tracking a train robbery or big escape in an old black and white silent movie. Weird way to describe music about a botanical uprising, but it’s meant from a good place.
Having a wider range for “Hammer of Botany” allows it to find more people, spread its message, and find like-minded listeners intoxicated by these strange sounds. These six cuts comprise an interesting turn in the Botanist’s story, one that demonstrates the richer texture the music has gained over the years. This is the start of a new Botanist journey, one bound to take us deeper into our natural fate.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.botanist.nu/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.auralwebstore.com/shop/index.php
For more on the label, go here: https://www.auralmusic.com/