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Botanist - VI: Flora review




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Band: Botanist
Album: VI: Flora
Release date: August 2014


01. Stargazer
02. Callistemon
03. Cinnamomum Parthenoxylon
04. Gleditsia
05. Rhizophora
06. Dianthus
07. Leucadendron Argenteum
08. Pteridophyte
09. Wisteria
10. Erythronium
11. …Gazing…


If you ever needed a prime example of black metal's growing shift towards the unconventional in our recent times, you need look no farther than Roberto Martinelli's Botanist. A curious concoction of vocals, drums, and hammered dulcimer, the debut of the project took the more obscure fringes of the genre by storm, fusing seemingly unfitting elements together for the achievement of a refreshingly original creation. While perhaps not as radical, VI: Flora seeks to continue this pattern, and it does so wonderfully.

VI: Flora essentially continues the new model for the project set by the previous IV: Mandragora (the question of what happened to V in this chronology is currently a secret still being held deeply within Otrebor's gardens). The dulcimer is indeed still distorted, once more helping to give the music a more of an actual black metal aesthetic that, while still distinctly Botanist's, seems to approach a sense of more familiar structures. This may strike some listeners as more accessible of a sound, and those who preferred the less controlled nature of debut may be slightly put off by it, but if anything it also seems more sophisticated, as though Otrebor has now harnessed some of the arboreal chaos of his earlier work and channeled it into a more direct and guided delivery.

What really makes Flora, however, is its superb attention to the creation of a grand harmony of sorts. Here it seems as though Otrebor has been experimenting with the exact sound of his dulcimer perhaps more than ever before. Less rhythm-focused than the previous album, the music here flirts around with a lot of hazy textures and melodies, for a very emotive, transcendental experience. There's some deep, immersive feeling going on here: the ending of "Stargazer," "Dianthus," and "Wisteria" especially all seem to be playing heavily with this technique, approaching some fantastic levels of atmosphere somewhat resembling shoegaze. Otrebor's vocals also seem a little bit more buried in the mix than usual, making them feel like whispers from within the great forest his music creates, which builds excellently upon this vibe.

VI: Flora is thus yet another worthy chapter in Botanist's pantheistic saga. While somewhat lessening the "out there" element, the music still doesn't fail to maintain its uniqueness or its gravity, and Otrebor's composition is no less interesting, even if it may be focusing on a different point of view. If this is the proverbial "next step" in the project's evolution, I'm very interested in seeing where things go from here.

Like weird shit? You know what to do!





Written on 07.09.2014 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 192 users
07.09.2014 - 17:16
R'Vannith
ghedengi
Very explanatory review. From my perspective I think you're right, this really is much more accessible to me. I'm a few tracks in and it sounds considerably different from what I remember of IV. That one went for more of an outright avant-garde approach in terms of song structures from what I remember. This seems to have more of a basis in post-black metal shoegazing, as you explained. More of a melodic foundation. Interesting music as usual.

Whenever I think of experimental metal, this is one of the first and most recent projects that come to mind, if I need a point of reference or a pertinent example.
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07.09.2014 - 20:41
LascaillesShroud

Listening to this, and halfway through, it' oddly enjoyable yet strenuous to listen to. It tires me out with it's abrasion and kind overly dense bass/ low end at parts where it feels like its putting pressure on my head.

Yet I still enjoy it for some reason, despite its demanding nature and tonality. Might even purchase this.
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09.09.2014 - 01:52
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by R'Vannith on 07.09.2014 at 17:16

From my perspective I think you're right, this really is much more accessible to me. I'm a few tracks in and it sounds considerably different from what I remember of IV. That one went for more of an outright avant-garde approach in terms of song structures from what I remember. This seems to have more of a basis in post-black metal shoegazing, as you explained. More of a melodic foundation. Interesting music as usual.

Thankfully it doesn't really diminish the quality of the music, I mean it's not like a band making their sound more familiar to please fans, the guy's trying something new and it's still working great. I don't really listen to much shoegaze (don't like it too much honestly) so I can't really compare too much, but I'll say this album's definitely perhaps shoegaze influenced. Quite interesting sound indeed.
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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09.09.2014 - 06:49
R'Vannith
ghedengi
Written by Apothecary on 09.09.2014 at 01:52

Thankfully it doesn't really diminish the quality of the music, I mean it's not like a band making their sound more familiar to please fans, the guy's trying something new and it's still working great. I don't really listen to much shoegaze (don't like it too much honestly) so I can't really compare too much, but I'll say this album's definitely perhaps shoegaze influenced. Quite interesting sound indeed.

Having listened to this a few times now, there's no doubt that it's unconventional. There's no diminishing in terms of quality here, if anything it's a step forward with more structural integrity. The fact that this guy can apply the dulcimer to create music within a shoegazing context is an experiment in itself, whether it's a more accessible sound is largely irrelevant in terms of how experimental Botanist's work is, I think. I can count on one finger the amount of times I've heard a dulcimer being used to create a shoegazing kind of sound. A dulcimer used to replicate any kind of style, whether it be a more avant-garde black as the previous ones seemed to be, or this shoegaze influenced sound (perhaps my stating that it was a "basis" is wording it too strongly) is ambitious in my book.

This is still very much on the avant-garde side of black metal, don't get me wrong. I didn't mean to suggest that it's getting anywhere close to generic or anything.
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09.09.2014 - 07:00
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
I hear lots of shoe gaze in this, and it's a bummer he went in that trend.


IS NOTHING SACRED
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14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum
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09.09.2014 - 13:34
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Boxcar Willy on 09.09.2014 at 07:00

I hear lots of shoe gaze in this, and it's a bummer he went in that trend.

Went in that trend? Lol this isn't Deafheaven or AAFCC, by a long shot. Again, shoegaze influenced, perhaps, but it's definitely not a shoegaze album.
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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09.09.2014 - 13:38
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by R'Vannith on 09.09.2014 at 06:49

Having listened to this a few times now, there's no doubt that it's unconventional. There's no diminishing in terms of quality here, if anything it's a step forward with more structural integrity. The fact that this guy can apply the dulcimer to create music within a shoegazing context is an experiment in itself, whether it's a more accessible sound is largely irrelevant in terms of how experimental Botanist's work is, I think. I can count on one finger the amount of times I've heard a dulcimer being used to create a shoegazing kind of sound. A dulcimer used to replicate any kind of style, whether it be a more avant-garde black as the previous ones seemed to be, or this shoegaze influenced sound (perhaps my stating that it was a "basis" is wording it too strongly) is ambitious in my book.

Indeed, it kinda seems like the guy is saying "let me explore a more popular sound from my own interpretation," which is an interesting technique in itself. People are more familiar with the sound you're employing, but you're still using it within your own definitions.
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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04.10.2014 - 22:00
Daggon
Underpaid M.D.
Just listened to this one for the first time, and I can say that even if it sounds like Otrebor is exploring new horizons, it still maintains that "organic" atmosphere that makes this project different from the vast amount of Black metal albums out there. I prefer his previous efforts over Flora, but it's an enjoyable album nonetheless.
Spot-on review by the way!
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"Les vers savent qu'ils n'ont pas d'ailes, c'est pour cela qu'ils se cachent sous terre"
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04.10.2014 - 22:41
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
Written by Boxcar Willy on 09.09.2014 at 07:00

I hear lots of shoe gaze in this, and it's a bummer he went in that trend.

I always thought you were a shoegaze fan
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Rose is red, violet is blue. Flag is win, Baba is you.
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05.10.2014 - 02:37
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Written by Karlabos on 04.10.2014 at 22:41

Written by Boxcar Willy on 09.09.2014 at 07:00

I hear lots of shoe gaze in this, and it's a bummer he went in that trend.

I always thought you were a shoegaze fan

A huge shoegaze fan, I just don't think this is the appropriate place for it.
----
14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum
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05.10.2014 - 16:49
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
Written by Boxcar Willy on 05.10.2014 at 02:37

A huge shoegaze fan, I just don't think this is the appropriate place for it.

Well, as for me I'm loving the dulcimergaze. And to be honest it's good if he keeps adding influences from other genres. The dulcimer bm idea is good but it's not that good if he just keeps repeating it over and over again, so I think he's right.
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Rose is red, violet is blue. Flag is win, Baba is you.
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07.10.2014 - 00:42
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Written by Karlabos on 05.10.2014 at 16:49

Written by Boxcar Willy on 05.10.2014 at 02:37

A huge shoegaze fan, I just don't think this is the appropriate place for it.

Well, as for me I'm loving the dulcimergaze. And to be honest it's good if he keeps adding influences from other genres. The dulcimer bm idea is good but it's not that good if he just keeps repeating it over and over again, so I think he's right.

His sound was very unique and I'm disappointed he went in the direction to include something that many other bands do (better, too).

There was only one experimental-dulcimer-black metal band, versus 1000 blackgaze bands. Now there's no experimental-dulcimer-black metal and 1001 blackgaze bands.
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14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum
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