Oct. 24, 2019


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The Pitch: Avant-garde, hammered dulcimer black metallers Botanist return with a new concept album about the West Coast redwood forests via Aural Music. FFO: Bosse-De-Nage, So Hideous, Palace Of Worms

What I Like: No matter how many times I say the phrase "black metal with hammered dulcimer," it somehow never gets old; and for this reason and many more, Botanist has become one of my favorite bands to share with others over the years. This esoteric project is precisely what Metal Trenches is all about. Everything that they create is wholly unique, and Ecosystem is no different in this regard. Tracks range from bleak and haunting to blissful and cathartic. I dare say that "Red Crown" is one of the most uplifting tunes I've heard all year despite its raw, harsh vocal delivery. Compositions linger with you long after listening and resonate through my very being; appropriate given the continued meditative themes of nature and mother Earth. It is music that surrounds and penetrates like the very elements that give us life.

Critiques: I'm not sold on the clean singing. It feels purposeful in its approach, but that doesn't make tracks like "Abiotic" very enjoyable to listen to. I'd like to hear an album with a choir or some female vocals on the melodic parts. It would be interesting to get another experimental singer like Björk on some of these tunes.

The Verdict: While a little rough around the edges and most certainly not for everyone by design, Esoteric is another beautiful album from one of the most innovative bands in the genre. There is a reason I put Botanist at #1 on my list of most intriguing post-black bands. If you enjoy all things refreshing and atypical, look no further.

Flight's Fav's: Harvestman, Acclimation, Biomass

- Review by FlightOfIcarus

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