Welcome to Botanist.nu, the official home page of the musical project Botanist.
© Botanist 2014. All rights reserved.
"this is truly original, astounding music." -- Paul Simpson, WCBU Radio
"[Botanist is] undeniably powerful and dramatic and accessible all at once." -- Norman Records
"Unlike other 'metalgaze' efforts, Botanist keeps things a little left of center on this record, the bombast toned down and even muted in a way, always contrasting beauty and extremity, yet always mindful of not letting one side overwhelm the other." -- Adrian Begrand, Decibel
"In this, the next installment in a growing and impressive saga, the only rules are those of sound and fury. And yet still,VI: Flora breaks them all. (9.5/10)" -- Sorrow Eternal
"VI: Flora keeps all the elements that make the project the stunning wonder that it is, pushing it to new frontiers with the added confidence and experience the previous efforts have accrued to its creator. (5/5)" -- Kelly Hoffart, Full Metal Attorney
"It’s a crazy sound, both chaotic and serene at the same time." -- Creephouse Comics
"The album is hauntingly gorgeous, symphonic and very visceral. It’s an experience that is not necessarily fun, but it’s difficult to argue against the results." -- Nicholas Senior, New Noise Magazine
"Not only is this one of the best black metal albums of the year, it might just be one of the best albums of the year hands down…" -- Meghan, Cvlt Nation
"The creative concept behind Botanist feels like it should have run its course five albums ago. (...) But listening to his work, it’s hard to dispute the music’s surprising power. 4/5" -- Robert Ham, Wondering Sound
"this is a beautiful record filled with sounds and themes yet to be explored in black metal." -- A Metal State of Mind
"I bet the Botanist dude has nightmares about constantly explaining his novel, awesome style." -- MetalSucks.net
"VI: Flora is as if in the afterlife of mankind, a spectral being is left to narrate the fauna utopia."-- Sean Gonzalez, Yell Magazine
"Botanist mastermind Otrebor has taken an instrument not well known outside of folk--the hammered dulcimer--and has created five full-lengths and a split of compelling music that falls in, around, and beyond black metal. For me, the genius in this remains that no matter how outside of the musical mainstream Otrebor is working, his songs are still held down by rock-solid composition and melody." Justin Collins, Metalbandcamp
"The spaces Botanist create feel ritualistic without the dramatic posturing that pervades much of the genre, and sound, somewhere between raging and mournful, is hypnotic." -- H.P. Taskmaster, The Obelisk, July 8, 2014
Noah Berlatsky interviews Botanist about the direction of "VI: Flora" and Botanist's origins of misanthropy in the NY City Cultural site The Awl.
"So is it about misanthropy? Absolutely. I think that the black metal way is to tell the story about, you know, we're really fucking things up. Not every single person in the world is, but I think at a world cultural level, the consciousness of humanity is not in a really good place. I think because of that we're messing things up, as I said, mostly for ourselves, and it's going to be our undoing. That's the misanthropic angle of Botanist, but it's also the difference the band has over a lot of black metal bands, in that there's a message to it. It's not just, humanity sucks, everyone should die. No, humanity's blowing it, and if we don't change, the planet will kill us, and it'll move on."
"The ominous tones of the dulcimer coupled with the thumping drums echoing the spirits of shoegaze and the cushioning synths creating a massive wave of euphoria. Blissful." -- KG, Heavy Blog Is Heavy (reviewing the premiere of "Stargazer" on Tiny Mix Tapes), July 25, 2014
"But for all its sensational details, Botanist’s thematic transfiguration into a hermit who awaits humanity’s destruction from the safety of his 'Verdant Realm' serves as an exercise in humble self-negation, rather than a grandstanding gesture, by virtue of the tenets at the heart of his mythos: respect for the environment, isolation, the insignificance of humanity in the face of nature’s grandeur. Shielded behind two nested monikers (Botanist and Otrebor), the 'real' person behind the project sunk into a bed of moss long ago — and we’re lucky enough to bear witness to the music issued from this hideaway." -- Muqks, Tiny Mix tapes
"[Botanist] is retribution of the most frenzied black metal dimensions." -- Tony Ernst, Close-Up Magazine #158 (special thanks to Måns Ericsson for the translation).
Sweden's biggest metal print mag does a one-page article on "In the Hall of Chamaerops" in their 2-part article series "13 USBM Songs to Hear Before You Die."
In this one, Ernst compares Botanist's art to the scourge upon humanity of the tiny spiders that live in the Chamaerops-derived material that people used to use as padding in furniture. It's creative and well-written. English translation here.
"Otrebor's advances extend beyond storytelling. Botanist is a black metal band in the ideological sense, but the compulsive arrangements actively resist that descriptor.
Balan is a terrific soloist and his guitar arpeggios lift 'Ode to Joy (Hurrah, the End Draws Nigh)' out of the shadows." -- -- Nick Green, Decibel #113, March, 2014
Did you also know that Balan is in Botanist and Otrebor will be in Palace of Worms for when that project is ready to go live?
"III: Doom in Bloom" to be released on vinyl by Otrebor's label, Favonian. Gatefold 2LP, remastered for the medium by Jack Shirley at The Atomic Garden (Deafheaven, Whirr, Wreck and Reference). Coming Spring, 2014.
When I first heard about these guys on NPR(!), I wasn’t really digging the music. Then I saw them live. Then I started listening to this album on repeat." -- My Life Is Metal
"a unique style of music with almost no sensible stylistic comparisons" -- Stuart W., Summoning Spirits.net
"Botanist is one of the most interesting and original takes on the genre we’ve heard." -- Heresy Label Blog
"We’re thinking about skipping the release of V and going straight to VI, as everyone in the band thinks that VI has not only better songs, but is the best available progression from IV. I personally feel that the emotional space that VI is in is a better reflection of where Botanist is philosophically at this time... and those songs will come over better live, too. Both V and VI are not particularly remarkable conceptually as far as going along with any form of a story. It’s more the progression of the sound of VI that makes it an interesting successor. Again, it won’t be till VII that those looking for a deep thematic concept will come about again, and I can promise it will be the most philosophically developed one." -- Otrebor, to Metal Bandcamp and Begraven Mot Norr.
San Francisco has less garage and indie rock, and more punk and metal, directly as a result of the city's ever rising cost of living and tech industry invasion inspiring more angry music, says SF Weekly's sam Lefebvre, citing Botanist specifically. Hmmm...
"It's easy to read the flourishing local metal scene as a reaction to the city's changes, too. Botanist, a one-man black-metal band with hammered dulcimer instead of guitars, details an elaborate concept about a person willfully secluded in nature until humankind destroys itself. This kind of technophobic creativity is understandable given the sharp, visible disconnection between the hi-tech industry's utopian rhetoric and the widening inequity in its backyard."
"Botanist is the spirit of an environmental monster, a self proclaimed 'eco-terrorist,' that gets channeled through musician Otrebor when he records. His words, not mine. Whatever works, I guess, as Mandragora IV is one of the most interesting releases to come out of metal this year. The one man band has one of the more original means of making music, using a Dulcimer attached to his drumkit that he plays simultaneously along with the drums. The results are realized and highly melodic, further blurring the already smudged line that is black metal." -- Phil Maye, Bearded Gentlemen Music's Obligatory, Contrived Best Albums of the Year 2013 (#21/50)
"Transcendental, hypnotic combination of distorted dulcimer and disarming, croaked vocals. Strange and unfamiliar, but deeply rewarding. Drink Saison Dupont Biologique while listening to it." -- Beer and Life Matching's Top 6 Albums of 2013 (no order)