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Music Review

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Omnis Cum in Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret


Artist: Dark Sky Burial
Label: Extrinsic Recordings
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 December 2021

Extrinsic Recordings releases Omnis Cum In Tenebris Praesertim Vita Laboret (Life is One Long Struggle in the Dark), the fourth album from Dark Sky Burial – created by Napalm Death’s Shane Embury, with help from collaborator and producer Russ Russell, and recorded at Parlour Studios. It is described as the last in a quadrilogy, and explores the emotions of stress, anxiety and confusion – this time with a greater difference in mood and tempo. The intention is to inject a greater drama and suspense than before, with a bitter-sweet conclusion, and setting-up the next album for a struggle towards the light...

Track List: 'Omnis In Tenebris'; 'Mind Rat'; 'Necromanteion'; 'Splintered Reflective'; 'Nekyia'; 'Flesh Altar'; 'Spirit Cleaver'; and 'The Heart Warrior'.

There is a rolling, slipping stomp with electronic screeching that introduces this one. The drumming and ringing Electronica becomes more prominent, creating a dreamlike hypnotism. Additionally, there is a sense of an ancient Chinese mysticism before a slightly distorted voice-over tells its tale. This then becomes a monkish chant to see-out the opener. 'Mind Rat' has more substance from the start, incorporating electronic soundscapes and trickery with pace and increasing energy. This was said to have been constructed purposefully disjointed to make it fear-invoking and nerve-cutting to reflect Shane’s feeling of being on the edge of insanity over the last couple of years. The third track has a nice throbbing and discordant bass with bell samples and humming synthesisers, kept alive by the fuzzy drum beat. The listener should bear in mind that these atmospheric pieces of music come across much more like film score soundtracks than conventional songs. This one is perhaps the most representational of this mood which could accompany a dark science fiction or steampunk movie. The monk vocals are particularly suited to this format.

'Splintered Reflective' could almost be described as a religious cult environment format, at least early on. There is more of a structure which can be followed with this one, with a regular melody and beat that the Electronica dances around. This is one of those pieces which would not be out of place in a Camden all-night dance club – sci-fi style. At nearly nine minutes long, 'Nekyia' returns very much to a mood piece soundtrack which doesn’t really get going until more that halfway through, and even then proves unpredictable. 'Flesh Altar' spices things up again by creating a more up-tempo beat but with eerie and ominous noises amidst the synthesisers. There is a definite darkness and uncertainty to these tracks. A slamming/clattering is central amidst bizarre off-kilter music sounds in 'Spirit Cleaver'. This is mood ambience with a beat. We wrap things up with 'The Heart Warrior' which flips the situation upside down with two piano tunes and an overlying electronic brass. For some reason this one conjures-up a feeling of action and determination – like the turning of a psychological corner. It’s a very absorbing song to end on, with definite human purpose and emotional connection. This is undoubtedly the best of the bunch.

A couple of examples here outstay their welcome with little change in structure; nevertheless, this is ultimately a well-structured mostly instrumental album. Well worth a listen for lovers of this genre.


Ty Power