Catching my attention for the first time in 2014 with his sixth album VI: Flora, one man experimental black metal project Botanist has now released an EP at the beginning of this month entitled Hammer of Botany.
Botanist’s choice of instruments is definitely the most peculiar thing about his music, because he completely excludes guitars from his sound and instead utlizes a dulcimer in their stead.
Now, on this release his approach to creating music hasn’t changed for the most part and he rather keeps polishing the sound he developed over the course of his last couple releases.
What I found to be most significant improvement on this EP was the drumming. It feels like it has more finesse and ambition behind it and especially the drumbeat on the opening track The Footsteps of Spring is incredibly dynamic.
It generally feels like the entire mix is made to give every instrument a bit more room whereas on VI: Flora it was a core of vocals and drums, that were encompassed by distorted and at times very hectic dulcimer play. On Hammer of Botany however the instruments are a bit more eye-to-eye and rather complement each other instead of each having their own set roles.
The vocal performance hasn’t changed too much though. Botanist still brings a variety of vocals to the table, ranging from the more traditional wretched black metal screams over spoken word passages to very shoegaze-y background cleans like on the fourth track called Stachys Olympica.
The music on this EP has a Three-Act feel to it, with the first two songs being very energetic and lively, building up to the third track, which is probably one of Botanists shortest and most intense pieces, not even reaching the two minute mark. After that we have the shoegaze inspired Stachys Olympica and the last, slightly more energetic, track Pelargonium Triste, which lead us to the end of this EP.
Overall, Botanist has delivered a very dynamic and captivating piece of experimental black metal, still pushing the envelope with his innovative instrumentation.