‘Shrieking soldiers … wiping clean the earth’: hearing apocalyptic environmentalism in the music of Botanist


Olivia R. Lucas

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AbstractThis article presents a case study of ecocritical black metal, delving into the apocalypticism of the California-based black metal band Botanist, who conjures a world in which plants have violently destroyed human civilisation. It first contextualises Botanist amidst the broader current of environmentalism in extreme metal as well as within wider cultural explorations of plants as subjective beings capable of violence. The article then examines how Botanist taps into the logic of apocalyptic environmentalism, as the music presents the essential narrative of apocalyptic bioterrorism: humanity, with wanton hubris, has sown the seeds of its own destruction, and earned whatever horrors befall it on the way to elimination. With its bleak outlook and strident sound world, Botanist's music threatens to destabilise listeners’ assumptions about their place in the world and offers an example of what apocalyptic ecological urgency in music could sound like.

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Popular Music

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