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Dark Sky Burial: WHAT ON EARTH IS AMBIENT METAL?!

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There’s death metal, there’s ambient music… but Napalm Death’s Shane Embury is creating ambient metal?! Mark Jenkins investigates this tale of chalk and cheese.

Shane Embury joined Napalm Death as bassist in 1987, and the band’s forged a permanent place in the fields of grindcore and death metal. But Embury has several side projects, and Dark Sky Burial – with a third album release now appearing – moves away from those fields into a strange metal/ambient hybrid.

The doomy track titles are still there – “Beware Your Subconscious Destroyer is the debut track from the new album – but the guitars and drums are largely gone in favor of loops, washes of distortion, droning chords, and highly processed voices.

Dark Sky Burial’s Shane Embury experimenting backstage

Shane explains:I had been recordingsounds and loopsof music while on tour for a few years. Being away from my family and becoming older, life was changing, and my quest for making different types of music was constantly expanding through the other projects I was working on.”

In fact “Vincit Qui Se Vincit“ (it means “To Conquer Is To Conquer Oneself”) is the third Dark Sky Burial album, but it’s the first that will benefit from a live performance. Embury’s still planning details of how the stage shows will work, with other members from Napalm Death and related projects appearing – not necessarily on their usual instruments.

The global situation has focused Shane’s ideas recently:With COVID sweeping the globe last year, suddenly there was an opening for me to finally take my ideas for DSB and make them a reality.How we deal with these challenges of life and pressure is a theme that runs deep in thesealbums. To face our shadow and establish balance is a quest for all of us – a perilous journey we can choose or not choose to face. The outcome, who knows?”

Whatever the motivation behind the music, and while the style appears new, anyone who’s watched the TV show “Vikings will find something familiar in the doomy, unsettling soundscapes created by Trevor Morris. The electronic textures for the show, which counterpoint ethnic and orchestral sounds, have some of the same quality of dark foreboding as the Dark Sky Burial albums.  

Next month on 12th September, Dark Sky Burial takes to the stage at a familiar venue: the Underworld in London’s central Camden area, well known for its canals and clothing markets (incongruously, it’s the area famed for its connection to singer Amy Winehouse too).

A limited run vinyl edition of Dark Sky Burial material will be on sale, and the show will be streamed live by Hotel Radio.

Live streaming here

Promotional video here

More information and download sales here

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