Get ‘Hammered’ With Botanist
Imagine: You are born with three eyes and spend your young life stressing about an eternity of awkward social interaction. It’s awful for you — friends and foes alike define you as the dude with 50% more eyeball than usual and stare a lot. What a drag. But one morning you wake up to find that a new trend is sweeping the nation of hipsters and glamor phonies: extra eye implants. Yep, the most image-crazed and deplorably superficial waiters, tattoo artists, housewives, and cafe dads in your town are now sporting an extra eye kinda like yours. Suddenly, your suffering is different but exponential: Now normal people no longer consider you a freak, but now they conclude that you’re a money-flushing, needy, corny swag turd who undertook an expensive and irreversible mutilation of your face. But really, you’re just being yourself. Shit.
Well, that dazzling analogy may illustrate the challenge for fans (and members) of Botanist, an unusual metal act whose central instrument is the hammered dulcimer. That thing looks like an autoharp whose strings are struck like a xylophone with two backscratchers, and it sounds pretty amazing when put to use in ambient black metal. (You’ll hear 12-string bass and fancy organ, too, in Botanist jams.) But like that plastic-surgery eye, is this set-up just a flashy hook for attention? Or is it an expression of Botanist’s very being, like that naturally-occurring but weird third peeper? Gimmick or identity? Probably both, but man, I bet the Botanist dude has nightmares about constantly explaining his novel, awesome style. Shit!
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Botanist’s VI: Flora is out Tuesday via The Flenser. Order here.