Botanist
VI: Flora


4.0
excellent

Review

by PiedradeLuna USER (38 Reviews)
August 13th, 2014 | 100 replies


Release Date: 06/05/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Blossoming

Black metal isn't without its quirky characters and Otrebor is surely one of them. He records music under the title, Botanist and has put out four LPs and one split so far. What makes Otrebor and thus Botanist more intriguing than your average black metal band is that he trades out the typical guitars for a hammered dulcimer, oh and there's his whole backstory about living and recording in the Verdant Realm where he laments what has happened to the precious earth and hopes for the one day when mankind obliterates themselves and allows for the plant world to take over. Once you're past the artifice of his approach your left with the music and on VI: Flora, Botanist has finally embraced the spring.

Like those deciduous trees whose leaves fall off by winter and then reemerge in springtime, Botanist here is entering into a new growth cycle for his music. The album from beginning to end is filled with energy, melody and radiant light--full of movement and promise. Effectively using the dulcimer, Otrebor creates lush landscapes of affirming black metal. Gone are the song structures where the dulcimer stood out like a sore thumb and instead we are left with tracks that cascade harmoniously throughout the runtime. In fact, it is quite astonishing how pop like, or should I say poppy, the melodies have become. Even the cover, aptly chosen with brilliant colors and textures sees the Botanist move away from the grief and sorrow of his other covers and soundscapes and perhaps move towards an acceptance of sorts. That yes, eventually the plant kingdom will take over but that there isn't a pressing need, at least not on this album, to mourn the epoch we live in now and instead to bask in the warm, tender feelings of spring and the new life that is blossoming all around.

Tracks like "Stargazer", "Gleditsia" and "Dianthus" display Otrebor's direction as the progressions used are bouncy, uplifting and full of vibrancy. In VI: Flora it is clear that Botanist focuses his attention on attempting to create something more affirming than previous efforts. Whereas in past albums, lingering traces of melody and hopefulness could be found, on the new LP they are elevated to the forefront and take center stage. There are moments of darker ominous tones on the album but they are usually an afterthought and quickly replaced with more cheerful, inspirational melodies. The vocals, which before were an area of complaint as Otrebor employed more of a croak than traditional black metal rasp, have been pushed down into the mix and don't come off so jarring or off-putting as his previous efforts. In tracks like, "Rhizophora" or "Pteridophyte" the vocals act like pacifiers to the music as they come in with a bit of processing, adding a sort of trill or reverberation to them. Of course, they lack any sort of burst but fit the music perfectly as they hover tranquilly over the compositions. The drumming provides a stable dose of fills and interesting time signatures to keep the listener intrigued and at times Otrebor even utilizes keyed piano lines to reaffirm this springtime reverie.

VI: Flora isn't the prefect album however, many listeners might get tired of the repetitive nature of the riffs and song compositions. While there are intricacies in each track that require an attentive ear, some might claim that the songs tend to sound all alike and that they just flow into each other without any differentiation. "Leucadendron Argenteum", the longest track on the album, displays more experimentation than other songs but doesn't really offer anything too different than most of the record. Another thing to note is that, yes while Botanist has cleaned things up in terms of production and ushered in a more upbeat sound he might have lost some of the items that made him such a character in black metal to begin with. Like mentioned before, the croaky frog-like vocals have been replaced, the doom elements of previous albums IV: Mandragora and III: Doom in Bloom have also been tossed to the wayside. Hell, even the dulcimer doesn't stand out quite like it used to but even with losing all those elements, VI: Flora is Botanist's most complete and unified album in terms of vision. Setting out to present the wondrous splendor that graces the earth every spring, Botanist manages to deliver a solid album and something worthy of a listen to any fan of black metal.



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user ratings (108)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
dbizzles (4.5)
Sunlight peering through your eyelids....



Comments:Add a Comment 
PiedradeLuna
August 13th 2014


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You can purchase and listen to the album at his bandcamp or through The Flenser Records



http://verdant-realm-botanist.bandcamp.com/



http://theflenser.com/



I really digged this album much more than his previous works and could easily see it becoming a 4.5. As always, comments and criticisms are welcomed.

PiedradeLuna
August 13th 2014


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Futures. Yeah, I definitely recommend it. Much easier pill to swallow than his previous efforts

SourAK
August 13th 2014


1628 Comments


its iight

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2014


6676 Comments


A little too much nature-imagery in this review for my taste, but I guess that's to be expected with this album.

Good review though

TPM731
August 13th 2014


240 Comments


Excellent review. I kind of enjoyed IV, I may check this out.

PiedradeLuna
August 14th 2014


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Jonnyonthespot - thanks and yeah, I might have gone a bit overboard with the nature themed imagery. I really though do believe, as this is his most uplifting album, that a spring connection was just begging to be made.



@ TPM731 - thanks as well. Yeah, I recommend checking this out. Seems like Botanist really found a groove with this one.

DanielNightLewis
August 14th 2014


1028 Comments


Went in to listening to this thinking I'd hate it, came out the other end really really liking it. I hope the appeal lasts.

PiedradeLuna
August 14th 2014


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Riotsugar - While I liked IV, I think this one is more complete and yeah, I don't know why but 2014 seems like a year where at least in metal some bands are dropping their edge in search for a more cheerful sound



@ DanielNightLewis - Glad to hear you really liked it and hopefully it can hold your attention for awhile.

PiedradeLuna
August 14th 2014


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Captain.

I think at the end it might rank around the upper-middle tier of black metal releases this year

dbizzles
August 14th 2014


12511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd, killer review.



I hadn't heard anything by these guys before a week ago and I absolutely can not stopblistening to this album. It is amazing.

PiedradeLuna
August 14th 2014


233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dbizzles.



Yeah, I've had this on constant rotation as well. It's similar in theme to his other works but not in execution but give his past albums a spin as well. They are definitely eccentric.

zaruyache
August 15th 2014


19968 Comments


Listening to some of this again and I like it more than previous. Need to revisit.

Digging: Black Funeral - Empire of Blood

Kazmarov
August 23rd 2014


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is quite a good album. Much catchier than the previous Botanist I'd listened to.



At its best, the dulcimer against the drums is just a great, new way to get that sort of forlorn black metal vibe.

Thane
August 25th 2014


2284 Comments


this is good

emester
September 21st 2014


8249 Comments


Weird as all hell...

Ended up liking this more than I thought I would

osmark86
September 28th 2014


8147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn, this sounds way more cohesive than IV did. I'm bloody loving this so far.

Digging: Marxthrone - A Blaze In The Western Sky

mindleviticus
October 12th 2014


9572 Comments


this is SO GOOD

osmark86
October 12th 2014


8147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it shall be conclusive eventually, when you realize how brilliant this is.

NoSons
October 14th 2014


147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love this album still.

osmark86
October 16th 2014


8147 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listen! To what the flower people say. Listen! It's getting louder every day.



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