Ghost Cult continues our “End of Year Guest Post Extravaganza” with a slew of posts from bands, industry, PR pros, and more! We’ll be sharing lists, memories, and other shenanigans from our favorite bands, partners, music industry peers, and other folks we respect across the globe. In this edition, Otrebor of Botanist shares his Top Albums List for 2020 ((in alphabetical order). Their album Photosynthesis is out now.
Avant-garde Metal troupe Botanist has shared a new single, “Oxygen” from their upcoming album Photosynthesis, due out later this week, October 30th, via the esteemable label, The Flenser. The new album is a concept album about how plants convert sunlight into energy and how plants have a worldwide, symbiotic relationship.
Experimental multi-national Black Metal collective Ophidian Forest are releasing their new opus tomorrow – VotIve (Code666). With a tremendous lineage, (ex-con , ex-Rubicon, Botanist, Lotus Thief, ex-Ordo Obsidium, ex-Utter Bastard, Book of Sand), the group has piqued the interest of many around the world with their lineup split between the USA and The Netherlands. The sound is definitely a result of divergent, creative thinking. The band draws from many influences, be it eerie synths, frosty grim old-school explorations, naturalist folk-inspired USBM bleakness, or even free Jazz to create an intoxicating style. Ghost Cult is proud to team up with the band to present their full album stream. Check it out! Continue reading →
Howls of Ebb’s latest album Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows (I, Voidhanger/Nuclear War Now) is monster of an album. Starting off with track ‘The 6th Octopul’th Grin’ which shows a menacing display of low-end power and ferocity: gurgling death growls and blackened guitar. There’s a real textural vibe to it, reminiscent of Portal, with a mix of blackened death metal and discordant jazz.
The confident predatory swagger of the drumming provides a framework for sheer sonic madness. The atmosphere is permeated with unique riffs appearing relentlessly as snarling vocals swirl around. This gives the song a chaotic soundscape which bristles with dark energy and an undulating yet majestic thumping beat.
The bridge on ‘Cabals of Molder’ is out of this world, a shuffling beat, but with a real organic feel to the production. A soundscape rich with decay punctuated by the wail of screaming guitars; demonic vocals whispering hypnotically throughout like an ill wind and the bass line slithers around the piece rattling with menace. The soundscapes seem to alternate between telling a story and summoning some Lovecraftian nightmare. It really feels like a living entity, pulsating, slithering, crawling and Howls of Ebb have to be congratulated on bringing it to life.
The album takes a slower, more doom laden turn at ‘Maat Mons’ Fume’, jangley soundscapes with a raw underlying power reminiscent of Ahab give the sense of being toyed with by an unknown predator. Howls of Ebb’s world is a dark and scary place and this album is the musical equivalent of psychological horror, and instills the listener with a sense of panic.
The next few tracks take a more traditional approach unlike their other releases, after a few listens this can be a little disappointing given the brilliance so far. It’s still good however and throughout there’s a nice rhythm and pace; varied drumming and some really nice percussion and particularly on track 4 more than a passing nod to Pestilence’s spheres album.
‘Subliminal Lock_ A Precursor to V’ is the most obvious Black Metal infused track with hissy malevolent guitar work and vocals almost providing the rhythm at times whilst the drums go on a free-form whirlwind around the song. But the middle of it is somewhat tame compared to the wild inventiveness of the rest of the album.
Last track ‘The Apocryphalic Wick’ starts of slowly with a feeling of rebirth, reminding me a lot of the atmospheric doom of Botanist before kicking in halfway through with some frenetic drum work, and a flat-out Slayer inspired guitar solo taking the album out on a bit of a high before terminating the journey with an abrupt stop.
The act of tagging a ‘post’ prefix onto an act which operates uninhibited by the confines of a single genre has become a label for both the fiercely exciting and the odiously pretentious.
Inspired by a 1st Century poem by a mysterious writer Lucretius, which “grazed the ideas of the universality of energy, atomism and rational thought over superstition and free love” apparently.
Rervm (Svart Records) could we have fallen into the pretentious category if it wasn’t for the beguiling nature of the material on offer. Drummer Otrebor also applies his trade in Black Metal act Botanist, but the scope here is much wider, encompassing Space Rock, ambient textures and the majestic and eerie vocals of co-conspirator Bezaelith.
The resulting six tracks weave a rich tapestry of ethereal beauty using Black Metal as the template to explore far more vast and expansive territories. The ambitious nature of such a bold enterprise could have seen the duo fall flat on their faces, yet listening to ‘Dicere Credas’ and ‘Mortalis’ there is rarely a lull in proceedings.
Fully comprehending the multifaceted concept of this grandiose collection is not essential to taking pleasure from the songs herein as these deeply emotive compositions are supported by an outstanding vocal performance which lures you into its vespertine grasp.
‘Miseras’ bedrock of visceral blastbeats seems an odd foundation on which to build cinematic ethereal textures, yet somehow the duo manage to make this make complete sense. Fashioning a rich tapestry of subtle melodies and haunting ambience, this album dares tread a ground where few heavy bands dare inhabit. “Oh wretched minds, oh blinded hearts” croons Bezaelith. This seductive chanteuse possesses an eerie ability to conjure transcendent beauty in a manner few, save Jex Thoth, are able to muster.
Lush arrangements are gracefully realised eloquently and make for stimulating listening with or without the highbrow concept behind it. The hypnotic voice of Bezaelith works wonders, conjuring many emotions on this esoteric journey into the beyond.
What could have been a grandiloquent and somewhat pompous affair, Rervm surpasses expectations with a truly mesmerising set of charismatic material full of soul and charm.
Botanist is a one man black metal project by the mysterious individual who calls himself Otrebor. With only a drum kit and a hammered dulcimer at his disposal his views on music and Mother Nature are far from ordinary. Ghost Cult delves inside his inarguably creative mind to see what’s lurking. Continue reading →
San Francisco has always been the home of free-spirired musicians. The Summer Of Love started here amd the city played a crucial role in the development of thrash metal. The local scene is still thriving there with bands like Neurosis, Giant Squid,Black Cobra and Deafheaven being the pulse of everything experimental and cutting edge. Another great outfit is Grayceon who just released a brand new EP, entitled Pearl And The End Of Days. Raymond Westland had a very friendly chat with vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz. She talked candidly about the new EP, how becoming a mother has changed her outlook on life, and her music career and many other things. Continue reading →