In my daily ramble through the interhole yesterday probably nothing made my eyes bug out quite as much as the sight of The Acacia Strain’s overturned van, which will force them to pull out of their tour with Veil of Maya but fortunately (and amazingly) left the band with only minor injuries. But a couple of other items were close seconds in the eye-popping competition. I’m including those in this post — new album art for the next releases by Vreid (Norway) and The Botanist (U.S.). I’ve also got for you a brand new song from Vreid and a new song by Maveth (Finland) from their forthcoming album.
Vreid’s last album, V, was extremely good. It made a number of the year-end lists we posted at the close of 2011, including our own Andy Synn’s list of “The Great Albums of 2011”. Summing up his thoughts, Andy called V “a stunningly dynamic series of songs that filter the thrashy energy and classical aspirations of Ride The Lightning-era Metallica through a blackened prism of primal fury.”
So my eyes went wide yesterday when I saw the album art for Vreid’s sixth album, Welcome Farewell, and the news that it will be released by Indie Recordings on February 26 in Europe, February 22 in Germany/Austria, and March 5 in North America. Yesterday Terrorizer also premiered a track from the new album named “The Reap”. I gotta be honest — it surprised me.
Less black thrash and more black ‘n’ roll, it’s still one hell of a song. They should patent the riffs in this thing, because they’re gold Jerry, pure gold. Just try a little experiment: play the song and see how long it takes for your head to start moving.
Above you can see the second piece of eye-catching art I came across yesterday. It was created by M.S. Waldron for the new album by San Francisco’s Botanist, a most interesting one-man black metal project that relies heavily on the hammered dulcimer in its instrumentation. The new album, IV: Mandragora, is now set for release on February 19 by the equally interesting metal label The Flenser.
It’s reported to be a concept album on the alchemical creation of a mandrake, “and how The Botanist is instructed on raising an army of mandrakes to wipe out humanity.”
“The songs of Botanist are told from the perspective of The Botanist, a crazed man of science who lives in self-imposed exile, as far away from Humanity and its crimes against Nature as possible. In his sanctuary of fantasy and wonder, which he calls the Verdant Realm, he surrounds himself with plants and flowers, finding solace in the company of the Natural world, and envisioning the destruction of man. There, seated upon his throne of Veltheimia, The Botanist awaits the day when humans will either die or kill each other off, which will allow plants to make the Earth green once again.”
Unlike the new Vreid release, we don’t yet have any samples of the music from Mandragora, though track premieres are coming soon. So I’ll just stream the tracks from the last release, III: Doom in Bloom.
On the subject of eye-catching artwork, check out that beautiful cover up there. It is by none other than that brilliant Chilean artist Daniel Desecrator and it graces the front of Coils of the Black Earth, the third album by Finland’s Maveth, which is due for release by Dark Descent on December 15 (and can be pre-ordered here).
Two days ago Brooklyn Vegan premiered a song from the album named “Sating Erictho”, and I caught up with it yesterday. This is the second track to be unveiled from Coils, with DECIBEL having the first premiere. Both of the songs are worth hearing if you’re a fan of suffocating blackened death metal that has an interesting way of worming inside your mind and hanging around, while feeding your limbs into a meat grinder at the same time.
Both of the tracks, including this newest one, are below.
It’s definitely not for everybody, but I can’t speak highly enough of Botanist. I’ve been trying to switch to only digital purchases as I quickly run out of room for crap in my home, but I bought all three of the first Botanist albums on CD because of the music and the awesome art. Using unusual instrumentation always has the danger of turning a band into a novelty act, but the strength of the songs on these means that the instrument serves the music, as it should, rather than the other way around.
I remember making a mental note to check out the Botanist music in greater depth when I saw all the critical praise heaped on the last album, but I must have put the note where I put the one that said “become a better person”, because I didn’t do it. But I’m listening to it now . . . and it’s really interesting!
I agree completely. I fucking love Botanist, I’ve run four articles on my site about the band and put them on my year-end list last year:
Review of first album
Botanist on Bandcamp
Review of new album
Here’s my favorite part from the interview:
“Full Metal Attorney: I like to imagine that you found a creepy old music shop, and hidden in the corner of their basement there was a cobweb-covered dulcimer. The shop owner warned you that it was cursed–but you bought it anyway. After you left the shop and started playing it, strange things started happening. You tried to return and learn more about the curse, but the shop was empty, and looked as if it had been deserted for years. Is that an accurate description of how you came to play the dulcimer?
Otrebor/Botanist: Let’s make the story you painted above as the official one.
You see, Botanist’s dulcimer IS cursed. Even when a tuner says it’s in tune, it still sounds creepy and morbid. Maybe that’s why the manufacturer was trying to get rid of it at a used price. Other dulcimers will sound sweet, serene . . . even dainty. This one is ominous and foreboding. Fate has it that it’s the one I got.”
That’s a great Q & A!! I’m really remiss in not having explored the Botanist’s music before now.
If I remember right, there used to be audio samples from each of the first four Botanist albums on the band’s home page, even if they were in early stages. It looks like they’re gone now.
Welp. That sounds about right. (O_O)
Maveth is a criminally under-credited band.