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Botanist – “IV: Mandragora” – [Flenser]


Drawn from recordings made in 2010, but released this year, this third full-length from Northern California’s mysterious one-man project is yet another working of verdant misanthropy and herbaceous hypnotism. The music’s core continues to be The Botanist’s (that’s his name, the band is merely ‘Botanist’) wonderfully naturalistic black metal drumming, but there could be electric guitars in the mix this time– or is that just his now-infamous hammered dulcimer on a detour through various distortion effects? Perhaps both; you can definitely hear the latter in its untreated form on t.s 6+7. In any case, the added reverberations bloom into melodies that are surprisingly dreamy; arboreal cathedrals where Cocteau Twins and Pale Saints are worshiped alongside Les Legions Noires and Deathspell Omega. (Night)shades too appear of the similarly escapist Nuit Noire and similarly plant-fixated Turdus Merula. Despite The Botanist’s unconventional instrumentation and 4AD pseudo-pop sensibilities I don’t think of his work as post-black-metal: in fact it is more black metal than most black metal, conveying an ongoing narrative of vegetative malevolence, human extinction and the return of true balance to nature with an eery sincerity born of beliefs he describes as ‘eco-fascist.’ Metal as fuck too is his absolute refusal to conform to any expectations but those of the gnarled murmurs in his own head, ascribed by his mythology to the artifice of the demon ‘Azalea.’ This particular installment in the Saga of The Botanist sees him induced to alchemically raise an army of Mandrakes to wage war on humanity. Many black metal bands invoke the solitude of the forest, but Botanist wants to be the forest. If plants had thoughts, surely they would not sound like human thoughts. Likewise if plants made metal, surely it would not sound like human metal. This is glorious; play any and every track. The Budding Dawn approaches.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on May 28, 2013 at 3:47 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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