Botanist – Ecosystem (Aural Music)

Tuesday, 29th October 2019
Rating: 8/10

Seems it’s been a while since the ‘green metal’ act Botanist has popped back onto the radar, at least in comparison to the speed at which their first few releases came about. That said, 2017’s The Shape of He to Come was the first ‘band’ effort – meaning it was a collective, as opposed to the one-man act, it used to be in the beginning. Ecosystem also acts as a collective, and sits nicely next to the band’s last release.

The main area of attraction for Botanist is still that of it’s focal point of using the hammered dulcimer as opposed to a guitar, and it gives the band a unique sense of both eeriness and beauty. Often weaving in between these two areas is where Botanist is most comfortable sitting. You get some tracks that have some real terrifying moments, as the harsh vocals atop the dulcimer (see “Disturbance”) are quite prominent, making for a mysterious vibe as blastbeats and the bass swirl in the background (something the collective piece has made even more notable). At the other end of the spectrum is where things become more haunting and grim from a more melodic perspective, such as the foreboding “Abiotic,” where clean vocals and a slower tone almost feels akin to a funeral march. The album is not without some real beauty to it as well though, as the closer “Red Crown” effectively taps into that euphoric, post-metal vibe that acts as a wonderful climax to the music that has come before it.

Given the vast swing of emotions at play, there’s plenty to take in. Of course, the use of dulcimer is going to be a variable in one’s enjoyment of the process, but it’s always been this way with Botanist. Those who ‘get it’ are going to enjoy this one just as much as previous efforts, as Botanist continues to conjure a fresh and unique vibe in their material that other band’s just can’t replicate.

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