Greening Black Metal: The EcoGothic Aesthethics of Botanist’s Lyrics




Botanist, Ecogothic, Aesthethics, Black Metal, Material Spirituality


Environmentalist Black Metal has been a liminal subject of academic ecocriticism during the last decade, but it has rarely been addressed from the perspective of ecoGothic studies. Environmental discourses in Black Metal have taken diverse ideological forms based on the time and place in which they were generated. In the United States, many bands have focused on exploring what Hunter Hunt-Hendrix calls “aesthethics,” an affirmative and nihilist sense of transcendentalism carried out through a certain sense of aesthetics, ascetics (spirituality), and ethics. US bands like Botanist have usually been analyzed through the lens of Deep Ecology, that is, as projects depicting a sacralized Nature and a sense of nihilist self-hating humanism. This view, thus, implies an essentialist understandings of Nature/humanity dynamics on their behalf. Botanist’s lyrics are characterized by the creation of a demonological/angelical Nature in sempiternal conflict with humanity and its environment-destroying activities. Observing this narrative through an ecoGothic perspective, however, uncovers a different understanding of the romanticized portrayals of Nature depicted by the band, ultimately highlighting humanity and “humanness” as a vital part of its aesthethical construction. This article, therefore, explores the ways in which ecoGothic aesthetics, Val Plumwood’s notion of material spirituality and, Donna Haraway’s sense of “chthulucenic” ethics connect with each other in Botanist’s grim lyricism. The article highlights the importance of Botanist’s representation of plant architectures, “Mother Nature’s” spirituality, and the environmental ethics involved in the performance of “The Botanist,” the protagonist of the band’s narrative. This brings to light how the band’s depiction of Nature not only drives audiences to reflect on contemporary environmental anxieties, but also to look for onto-ethical alternatives to addressing human/non-human relationships.


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Author Biography

Alejandro Rivero-Vadillo, GIECO-Franklin Institute-University of Alcalá

Alejandro Rivero-Vadillo is PhD candidate in American Studies and researcher at the University of Alcalá, Spain. He has been granted a Spanish national predoctoral contract program for university teaching training (Ayuda para la Formación de Profesorado Universitario) at the department of Modern Philology at the same university. His dissertation focuses on representations of posthuman ecologies in Cyberpunk and Solarpunk narratives. He is member of the research group GIECO (Research Group in Ecocriticism) at the University of Alcalá.







Articles: General Section