Botanist - Ecosystem review

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Band: Botanist
Album: Ecosystem
Release date: October 2019

01. Biomass
02. Alluvial
03. Harvestman
04. Sphagnum
05. Disturbance
06. Acclimation
07. Abiotic
08. Red Crown

Ecosystem features what is probably the most expansive sound for Botanist to date. Let me explain.

You remember Botanist, don'tcha? The self proclaimed "eco terrorist" black metal one manner where the instrumentation consists only of vocals, drums, and (of all things) hammered dulcimer? Well, as things would turn out on this year's Ecosystem, it's no longer a one manner. While the individual known as Otrebor still remains at top of this banyan tree on vocal, dulcimer, and harmonium duty, newcomers Daturus (drums), Davide Tiso (bass), and Cynoxylon (backing vocals) have also been added to the mix. As one might imagine, this has resulted in a sound that is far more layered than on previous Botanist albums, and which sounds a bit closer to "normal" black metal (whatever that means). Opener "Biomass" is as good an example of this new Botanist sound as any: warm, spacious, inviting, and with a much more pronounced role for the bass and the clean vocals.

Where the band's earlier albums were quite experimental and unorthodox in their songwriting, the more recent ones have seen Botanist becoming a bit more accessible, for lack of a better term, venturing into territory more reminiscent of contemporary melodic black metal and blackgaze. Ecosystem more or less follows the path that VI: Flora began treading upon in this respect, with most of its tracks following a pretty straightforward structure of beginning either with riffs or calm ambiance, and then gradually transitioning into the opposite territory as they progress. Somehow, though, this transition to a relatively more conventional sound hasn't made Botanist's music feel any less unique or relevant. On the contrary, it almost seems as if the group has taken important lessons from some of the more dreamy, atmospheric black metal releases of the past few years, infused what they've picked up from other bands into their own music, and made it their own without compromising the core of their identity.

Ecosystem marks a definite turning point in the history of Botanist, but thankfully it's one that's come with almost entirely positive changes. The additions to the lineup have resulted in a sound that's overall more rich and dynamic than it was previously, and that, perhaps because of its more orthodox songwriting, is also overall easier to listen to and a lot more memorable. Whether Botanist continue in this pattern from here or descend back into more abstract, off kilter wanderings remains to be seen. But if the former is chosen, this reviewer certainly wouldn't mind.

The garden of the Botanist beckons once more. Will ye enter?


Written on 04.11.2019 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 84 users
04.11.2019 - 22:39
Yeah, this one does indeed feel a lot different than the others
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
05.11.2019 - 00:41
Written by RaduP on 04.11.2019 at 22:39

Yeah, this one does indeed feel a lot different than the others

I prefer the change honestly. Up to this point Doom In Bloom has been my favorite but this one may really start to edge it out for me after a few more listens
Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
05.11.2019 - 05:45
Troy Killjoy
Based on your review, this sounds like the first Botanist album I'll actually enjoy.

This Runescape-tier album art is a little unnerving though
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
05.11.2019 - 22:33
China was a neat
^lel. After reading this, sounds like the first Botanist album I might not enjoy, let me give it a listen and update.

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