Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Botanist - Photosynthesis


Botanist have long been one of the more interesting bands to emerge from the West Coast black metal underground. Featuring dulcimers, heavy emphasis on bass guitar and some truly unique songwriting, they have always fascinated listeners. Their new album, Photosynthesis delves deep into the process of well... photosynthesis. They approach the topic from a variety of angles, both stylistically and lyrically. This is the fourth of the bands so called, "Collective" albums, where a group of individuals composed the tracks, and while mainman Otrebor crafted the basis of many tracks the wealth of other influences brought in is exciting.

There are moments of more second wave black metal flavored stuff here as on the track 'Chlorophyll' but also of course a willingness to lean into the more weird elements. The big focus on the bass guitar is especially interesting to me as it drives the band increasingly into unexplored territory. It makes for a lot of interesting arrangements and compositions that eagerly zig when one might normally expect them to zag. There is a sublime energy to the band, and Photosynthesis sees Botanist at their finest, defying expectations and adding unique layers to black metal. Never have beings fed by the sun been so dark and grim!

Photosynthesis is a masterful offering, a fitting step forward for the band and a record that eagerly borrows from a wide variety of elements. There ability to lean into the avant garde and then dial it back with something much more classically oriented is of course inspiring. Photosynthesis is a potent offering and one that USBM fans will be sure to treasure. Thoughtful, focused and deeply interesting, this album sees the band at their finest, building on the old magic and bringing us something exciting and new. Why not immerse yourself? 

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