Botanist / Palace of Worms Split

Botanist / Palace of WormsSplit
Experimental black metal label the Flenser (based in San Francisco, CA) has several excellent choices in their recent release releases, including the limpid Work Ourobouros record, Come The Thaw, and Eight Bells' stunning The Captain's Daughter. Now, it adds this weird, warbling offering to the list; The Hanging Gardens of Hell / Ode to Joy, a split EP, is the product of a joint venture between two one-man black metal projects. Where Palace of Worms is a more traditional solo black metal effort, all searing vocals and squalid production, Botanist is far more esoteric, tapping into an eco-centric mythos and incorporating unusual instrumentation, like an abused dulcimer. The result is a tense, throbbing effort, with each half playing off the other in contrasting shades of anguish. The first three tracks, by Botanist, twist and ache, all swollen bass and verdant, trembling tones, longing for the destruction of civilization so nature can reclaim the world. Then, the trio of numbers contributed by Palace of Worms hunch and writhe, itchy and ugly, with a type of calcified hostility. The latter half is as oily and wretched as the first is poisonous and ripe. For those who prefer their black metal on the conceptual side, this is an excellent split to pick up. (The Flenser)