Botanist
III:Doom in Bloom

I’m typically one that’s all for experimentation and avant-garde elements in music, I respect most musicians that push envelopes and boundaries with their music. However, sometimes it gets a little too much for me and that’s the case with Botanist — a one man plant-themed project delivered from the point of view of a man called ‘the Botanist’. ‘The Botanist’ lives in fantastical world called ‘the verdant realm’ surrounded by plants and delivers his music in a discordant, plodding, clanging style of black/doom metal. So what we have here is some very strange, plant and flower -themed, experimental black/doom metal. Oh I forgot to mention that it includes heavy use of a hammered dulcimer as the primary instrument.

Let me let that sink in… experimental enough for you?

Like I said, I’m all for experimentation and such but I simply could not get into Botanist‘s sound, no matter how hard I tried. About the only time when the material even came close to making sense is at night with headphones, when I was in that half-asleep/half-awake phase and the lengthy atonal droning, rasps/whispers and dulcimer would simply lull me fully into sleep.

I’m sure there is a mood and place for this, but frankly I don’t think I’d ever be able to ingest enough ‘plant or vegetable matter’ (if you know what I mean) for this to really click with me. Take for example the second track, “Deathcap”, and 5th track “Ocimum Sanctum”, the dulcimer just grates me here and seems to barely follow any sort of chord progression, being almost purposefully off key. It truly seems as if Botanist is simply free styling and making up the songs as they/he goes along. All of the long tracks appear to be named after various plants (“Vriesa”, “Gannoderma Lucidum”, “Ocimum Sanctum”, “Amanita Verosa”) and to be honest, there’s very little here in the way of actual riffs. Rather it’s a series of tracks that seem to be drum beats, some atonal guitar strumming or plucking layered with some distant rasps, moans and whispers and the aforementioned nails on a chalk board mellotron.

There is even a 2nd CD included in the package called Allies that contains 7 other equally weird, obscure bands and experimental friends of Botanist that I’ve never heard of (i.e. Matrushka, Bestiary, Arborist, Lotus Thief) giving their own (at least mellotron-less) interpretations of the drum tracks from the III: Doom in Bloom sessions. But I have be honest, I didn’t check them fully, only giving it a cursory listen,  as I could barely make it through multiple listens of just III — as a second helping or other bands interpretations of Botanist already grating sounds didn’t really appeal to me. However, Cult of Linnaeus‘s track named “The War of All Against All” did sound like a surprisingly normal death/doom lumber and Bestiary‘s “It Lives Again” is a haunting female fronted doom number (reminding me a little of a Omit or It Will Come). But when friends’ versions of your songs — using just the drum tracks — are more memorable and far less annoying than the source material, there is an issue.

I like Total Rust Music and I like most experimental music, and I’m sure at some level somewhere, someone will get what  Botanist is doing here, but it’s not me and I doubt it ever will be.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 15th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gabaghoul

    I love mellotron in prog rock so I am definitely interested in hearing this…


  2. Commented by: TMSNGE

    It’s a hammered dulcimer, not a mellotron…
    sounds all baroque, minus the trills


  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Thanks TMSNGE- fixed- still sounds pretty awful


  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yeah that’s a dulcimer… this is weird shit! it sounds like giant praying mantises fucking on a piano


  5. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    plant or vegetable matter, heh heh.


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