Country : United States Label : Prophecy Productions Genres and styles : expérimental / contemporain / Métal Year : 2024

Botanist – Paleobotany

· by Laurent Bellemare

What if we replaced the guitar of extreme metal with the shimmering sound of the dulcimer struck string, a zither that has spread to Europe from the Middle East? This was the direction taken by Californian musician Otrebor in 2009, when he founded his Botanist project. Years later, this curiosity with singular instrumentation and ecological themes has metamorphosed into a band in full possession of its resources.

In its genesis, Botanist had a pared-down instrumentation, with drums, vocals and dulcimer performed by a single person. Very short tracks carried dizzying, arpeggiated melodies, to which were added raw drums and hoarse, piercing vocals. With a rather thin sound, due to the absence of bass, the entity soon reinvented itself with a series of increasingly ambitious albums. Since Collective: The Shape of He to Come (2017), the other artists involved have energized Botanist’s compositions and sound spectrum.

On Paleobotany, this flowering continues with a prominence of sung vocals and elaborate treatment of dulcimer layers. The production is massive, full and punchy, despite the unusual instrumentation. There’s also frequent use of deep throat singing, vaguely similar to that of Central Asia. But these elements combine to create a music that is complex in its verticality, but simpler in its horizontal unfolding.

In fact, Botanist opts for simpler structures here. The musical ideas are catchy and less extreme than before, opening up an ethereal space for vocal arrangements. This turn towards song-based forms is reminiscent of the evolution of big names such as Gojira and Mastodon. Like the latter, Botanist distill their most famous ingredients into a more digestible whole, showing off their avant-gardism while remaining gentle on fresh ears.

Admittedly, today’s Botanist takes far less enigmatic detours in its music than in the past, composing sections whose affects are well known to a metal audience. However, this is to the benefit of a more enveloping sound and a more rich orchestrated texture, which allows the project to reach the epic proportions its naturalistic themes suggest.

Latest 360 Content

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega, From the Top of Her Throne

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega, From the Top of Her Throne

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Luiz Salgado and his “caipira” guitar

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Luiz Salgado and his “caipira” guitar

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Bombino: human warmth with the beat of the desert

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Bombino: human warmth with the beat of the desert

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Def Mama Def, Two Sisters in Art  

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Def Mama Def, Two Sisters in Art  

PANM360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Alberto Salgado Turns Balattou Into a Percussive Laboratory

PANM360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Alberto Salgado Turns Balattou Into a Percussive Laboratory

Domaine Forget 2024 | Cape Verdean breezes in Charlevoix with Lucibela

Domaine Forget 2024 | Cape Verdean breezes in Charlevoix with Lucibela

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Kirá Was On Fire At Balattou

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Kirá Was On Fire At Balattou

Lyric Opera of Kansas City/Gerard Schwarz – Paul Moravec : The Shining

Lyric Opera of Kansas City/Gerard Schwarz – Paul Moravec : The Shining

James Ehnes/St.Louis Symphony Orchestra/Stéphane Denève – Bernstein : Serenade / Williams : Violin Concerto no 1

James Ehnes/St.Louis Symphony Orchestra/Stéphane Denève – Bernstein : Serenade / Williams : Violin Concerto no 1

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | ALBERTO SALGADO: Embracing Brazilian Traditions and Modernity 

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | ALBERTO SALGADO: Embracing Brazilian Traditions and Modernity 

Truck Violence Burns It Down and Starts Again

Truck Violence Burns It Down and Starts Again

Karma Glider, The Wesleys, and Sun Entire Bring the Sunshine at Quai Des Brumes

Karma Glider, The Wesleys, and Sun Entire Bring the Sunshine at Quai Des Brumes

PAN M 360 aux Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Plus qu’un “fils de”… voici Kirá!

PAN M 360 aux Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Plus qu’un “fils de”… voici Kirá!

PAN M 360 At FIJM I The Cinematic Orchestra’s mystifying, live movie world

PAN M 360 At FIJM I The Cinematic Orchestra’s mystifying, live movie world

The Gilsons have won the hearts of Montrealers

The Gilsons have won the hearts of Montrealers

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | George Coleman at Upstairs, the bet of an almost nonagenarian

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | George Coleman at Upstairs, the bet of an almost nonagenarian

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | Makaya McCraven Becomes Headliner

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | Makaya McCraven Becomes Headliner

PAN M 360 AT FIJM 2024 | Fred Hersch, one of the most beloved jazz pianists of our time

PAN M 360 AT FIJM 2024 | Fred Hersch, one of the most beloved jazz pianists of our time

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | Erick the Architect, A Guided Tour of Brooklyn

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | Erick the Architect, A Guided Tour of Brooklyn

PAN M 360 AT FIJM 2024 | Tevet Sela – Sweet Tears

PAN M 360 AT FIJM 2024 | Tevet Sela – Sweet Tears

PAN M 360 AT FIJM 2024 | Fred Hersch – Silent, Listening

PAN M 360 AT FIJM 2024 | Fred Hersch – Silent, Listening

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | Dominique Poirier, to be followed closely

PAN M 360 at FIJM 2024 | Dominique Poirier, to be followed closely

PAN M 360 AT FIJM | Ana Moura, The Queen of Fado

PAN M 360 AT FIJM | Ana Moura, The Queen of Fado

PAN M 360 At FIJM I Killer Mike Brings His Gospel

PAN M 360 At FIJM I Killer Mike Brings His Gospel

Subscribe to our newsletter