Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Botanist "IV: Mandragora"

Country: USA
Sub GenreBlack Metal, Avant Prog, Experimental
LabelFlenser Records
Release dateFebruary 13, 2013
1.Arboreal Gallows (Mandragora I) 02:40
2.Nightshade (Mandragora II) 05:07
3.To Amass an Army (Mandragora III) 04:26
4.Nourishing the Fetus (Mandragora IV) 03:33
5.Mandrake Legion (Mandragora V) 02:59
6.Sophora Tetraptera 04:31
7.Rhyncholaelia Glauca 09:40

Botanist - instruments and vocals

For those who may still be unfamiliar with the strange, black metal phenomenon that is Botanist, here's the short course: Botanist is a one-man black metal band, and the two primary instruments are drums and hammered dulcimer--think of removing the soundboard from a piano so you can strike the strings directly with mallets, like a xylophone. The albums--four so far--are all about The Botanist, a man who really loves his plants but doesn't care too much for humans. They lyrics tell of his hopes and dreams for the destruction of the human race, leaving only plant life behind.
What has impressed me most with the progression of these albums is the quality of the songcraft. I hesitate to use the phrase "novelty act" because of its negative connotations, but when your main melodic instrument is as unusual in metal as a hammered dulcimer, you can't create four albums worth of material--certainly not material that's worth listening to--without solid songwriting. The melodies on the previous album, Doom in Bloom, are haunting and lovely, and Botanist has kept that up on Mandragora. The song "To Amass an Army" could almost be a ballad, were it not about trying to destroy all of humanity with ambulatory plant monsters. 
Read the full review by Justin C. at metalbandcamp.com


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