Botanist – Ecosystem

3 min read

Band: Botanist
Title: Ecosystem
Label: Aural Music
Release date: 8 November 2019
Country: USA
Format reviewed: Digital Promo

Plant metal, green metal, flower…no, no I’m going to stop there, I’m going with green metal.

Never have I ever experienced anything that was labeled as such, but then again, there is the first time for everything.

I’m not entirely sure, but I believe what I just heard was the upcoming album from BOTANIST. Hailing from San Francisco the album Ecosystem is scheduled for release on the 8th of coming November.

What immediately caught my attention is the band´s absence from The Metal Archives. Now, being nosy, of course, I had to know why, and sure, it became quite obvious when I heard what the music was like. It’s not that it’s bad, or not metal, in fact, it’s quite black metal entwined with botanical influences, however, it is the fact that there is no guitar, and therefore, no metal riffs.

But (almost) no matter, I can survive without the guitar riffs, at least for an hour or so…I think.

Some sharp sounding instrument started the opening track of Biomass. The skill needed to play such an instrument and keep on the beat has to be high, it sounded like an attack on my brain with the increasing speed of the drum fill-riff. Even for the screaming vocals I still felt the effect of the absent guitar, the music sounds somewhat empty.

The Unidentified Stringy Instrument, or USI, is fine to fill the intros, but I wasn’t too keen on it being the main instrument for this type of music. Alluvial was alright with its fair arrangements but it all just reminded me of the MIDI-songs that were a thing before the first MP3s came along. And with Harvestman following upbringing forth a cluttered hell breaking loose with the bass and drums and of course the USI, it all just felt like a very inappropriate marriage.

By now I had figured that the USI was actually a hammered dulcimer. Fair enough.

Acclimation brought forth some different segments. Some more held back parts that sounded alright, although I can’t help but feel that it could have been tighter. This is by no mean BOTANIST´s first album at all, on contraire I believe this one is the 9th or 10th even since 2011, and being signed with a record company I personally wondered if the band did not have some pretty good people at the quality checkout before releasing something. Abiotic includes some clean vocals that did not sit well, the drumming lacks tightness, the bass can barely be heard, the dulcimer is ever present and at the bottom end there really isn’t anything to back the whole thing up.

Red Crown is all guns blazing with all this band has to offer. Fast and sloppy drums drenched in too much compressor. Muddy bass guitar that can hardly be heard at the low end of the drums with an un-tight dulcimer way too present on top of the whole pile.

And that is the bottom line. Someone had a grand idea and wanted to execute it but for me it was a hit and miss. Which is really a shame, this is something completely different from anything else out there but perhaps for some, it won’t be so easily forgettable. 2/10 Julia



2/10 Your ship sank sir!
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