Review Summary: A seed must die before it grows, or something.
Similar to its predecessor, Ecosystem
is the product of a collective, the brainchild of San Francisco's Otrebor, featuring a supporting cast of musicians previously, or currently, involved in the outfit's live show. The result treats the listener to a relatively larger palette of vocals merged with the clear fingerprints of the project's mastermind. Where 2017's Collective: The Shape of He to Come
was an intrepid journey into new territory for Botanist, Ecosystem
is an outing that feels more refined and direct. This is an album that has the goal of its namesake: not to merely survive, but to thrive- under all conditions.
, the 6th LP from experimental black metal band Botanist, steps delicately into a whirlwind of percussion that features the band's trademark sharp dulcimers and imposing drums. Rarely does it let up. And when it does, I'm not sure which is more beautiful; the declarations of harmony or the sections that tear it to shreds. The bass work is a notable improvement compared to previous works and is not only prominent in the mix but also has a tone that tiptoes clarity and fuzz. Similarly, the notorious hammered dulcimers stand out even more than before, if you can believe it. The dulcimers are shrill at times of chaos and ring clear at times of peace, yet weave into and out of each other with absolute grace. To that end, they work better here with everything
, most notably on tracks Abiotic
and the perfect closer Red Crown
, where they dance with bass guitar to create some of the more serene and transcendental moments of Botanist's career to date.
Fans of Botanist's recent work will doubtlessly be pleased with this album. But, I also believe that more fans will be brought into the fold as the project expands and improves. Otebor and Co. are putting in serious work and it shows as they continue to impress, release after release. To put it boldly, Ecosystem may be the most complete work of Botanist's discography and with VI: Flora already five years in the past, the future is bright for this project. As bright as the fires that grow, as bright as the fires that kill, as bright as the fires that die so that all else can be reborn once again.