Album Review: Dark Sky Burial – Omnis Cum In Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret

Album Review: Dark Sky Burial - Omnis Cum In Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

When most musicians were forced into an unplanned hiatus, Shane Embury seems to have used the downtime to spread his not-inconsiderable creative wings and, like a man on a mission, threw himself into the likes of Venomous Concept, Blood from the Soul and, of course, the day job with Napalm Death.

Not content with infecting the world with filthy grind, Shane has also been hard at work with his ambient-experimental project, Dark Sky Burial. And when I say hard at work I mean hard at work: Omnis Cum In Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret is the forth and concluding movement of the idea conceived by Shane to slake his passion for the avant-garde.

Having began this journey back in April of 2020, yet exploring ideas that had been with him for several years, the cumulation of the trek feels somewhat more abrasive than its three predecessors.

Hard-hitting EDM rooted compositions litter the run-time. Flash Altar and lead-track, Mind Rat, are infused with the spirit of the Rave scene, being built around hard beats and gut-twisting rhythms.

Shane has made no secret of his love of soundtrack-adjacent music and the central section to the record plays on those ideas. Necromanteion, The Spirit Reflective and Nekyia all feel like compositions from a movie as yet unscored.

The opening title track acts as an overture to the record, moving between harsh, dissonant movements to subtly refined sections. Waves of sound crash into each other and the haunted industrial ambience gives way to choral vocals.

Album Review: Dark Sky Burial – Omnis Cum In Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret

In opening the record with such a series of variations, Dark Sky Burial is able to further unsettle the listener before the journey even commences. So, by the time you reach the penultimate Spirit Cleaner, loaded with some truly impressive collisions of light and shade, the sensation that the trip has been a harsh and challenging one is all the more prevalent.

Shane isn’t going to allow this journey to end in comfort as there is still one more passage to play through. The Heart Warrior begins like nothing heard else where on the record; opening with a discordant piano, unveiling what sound like musical outtakes from an Omen movie, before moving into something akin to a carnival. It comes to a point that you don’t know of whom to be more afraid: the Antichrist or Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

Just as Omnis Cum In Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret opened with a wide-ranging passage, so does it close with one. The dissonance and disconnect of the jarring beginning come to resolve themselves into a climax that could be a triumphant victory of the spirit or, maybe, something else.

I’m looking forward to having the time over the Christmas period to be able to sit down with my headphones on and listen to all four records in order, back to back. To be to hear Shane’s entire concept start to end would be to engage with the trials and tribulations that fuelled the eventual creation of this suite of music which, by all accounts, has been a cathartic experience for its creator.

I managed to catch the Dark Sky Burial show at the Underworld back in September and now the journey is completed I hope Shane is able to take the whole concept into the live environment, even if it just a one off.

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