San Francisco's Botanist is likely the weirdest, most unorthodox black metal band working today. The project is the brainchild of one man, Roberto Martinelli, who records under the pseudonym Otrebor, and his primary instrument of choice is a hammered dulcimer. Otrebor is highly prolific; he's recorded four full length albums and one split release since 2011, and every song he's written advances the narrative of The Botanist – a scientist disgusted by mankind's destruction of the environment who isolates himself from society in anticipation of a vegetative revolt. If that summary sounds sufficiently intriguing to you, you're in luck because Otrebor is releasing his sixth album under the Botanist moniker on August 11th via The Flenser.
The official title of the new record is VI: Flora, and the album will focus on, " the wondrous beauty of the plants themselves through a gauzy haze of dream-like sound with the voice of The Botanist acting as spectral underpinning to the reverie." That's a pretty vague description, but Botanist is a hard entity to pigeonhole. Otrebor is definitely continuing his ongoing story of sentient plants retaking the planet from humanity, but the brief description makes it seem as if he may be moving in a less abrasive direction with his music. There's certainly nothing gauzy or dream-like about his previous work which is frequently disorienting and somewhat uncomfortable to listen to. Hopefully, Botanist will have a taste of new music as the August 11th release date draws closer. But, until then, listen to this track from Botanist's 2013 split EP with Palace of Worms to familiarize yourself with hammered dulcimer-driven horticultural black metal.