Only a very few original metal acts are emerging from the mass of stylistically easy to label bands in each decade. BOTANIST are both in musical and lyrical aspects one of those unique bands that are obviously different. With his tenth full-length, "VIII: Selenotrope", which is also his 8th solo album and the first since "VI: Flora" (2014), mastermind Otrebor again sends sprigs into new sonic directions. Although the band's roots in black metal still shimmer through the dense foliage, this sprawling, straggling, blooming creation is an exuberantly growing, varied musical meditation.
The title "VIII: Selenotrope" refers to plants that flower nocturnal in the moonlight. BOTANIST's characteristic sound of the hammered dulcimer combines perfectly with now predominantly clean vocals that often arranged into multi-layered choirs entangle this highly dynamic album with its predecessors. The result is a singular piece of music that takes from all directions including avant-garde, progressive, experimental, post-metal, and other possible descriptions - the validity of which, very much depends on each individual listener. "VIII: Selenotrope" is not made to fit into just one drawer.
When composer, lyricist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Otrebor created the San Francisco based BOTANIST in 2009, he already had a specific lyrical concept in mind that has persisted to permeate all his releases until and including today.
All songs of this project are told from the perspective of a protagonist called "The Botanist". He is characterised as a crazed man of science that lives in self-imposed exile, as far away from Humanity and its crimes against Nature as possible. In his sanctuary of fantasy and wonder, which he calls "The Verdant Realm", "The Botanist" surrounds himself with plants and flowers to find solace in the company of the natural world, while he envisions the destruction of mankind. Seated upon his throne of Veltheimia, "The Botanist" awaits the time of humanity's self-eradication, which will allow plants to cover planet Earth in green once again. BOTANIST's lyrics are equally informed by scientific nomenclature as they are inspired by Romantic-era poetry, art, and philosophy.
In a striking departure from traditional metal instrumentation, Otrebor uses distorted hammered dulcimers instead of guitars. This also marks BOTANIST as the first band to adapt magnetic pickups to hammered dulcimer, and perform on stage. Stylistically, the Americans earlier paid tribute to the mentality of some of the pioneering Scandinavian black metal bands' connection to nature, before spinning the dark yarn into new sonic and emotional fabrics. To BOTANIST, the black metal trope about misanthropy and of being alone in the forest is in fact about the woods and its floral inhabitants themselves. Each named plant becomes its own character in the ever growing pantheon of the project's "green metal" discography.
- Prophecy Productions