Select Page

Sinister Seven: Shane Embury of Napalm Death and Dark Sky Burial

Monday, June 8, 2020 | Interviews, Music


Who is Shane Embury? Simply one of the hardest-working men in metal today. The oldest metalheads would certainly identify the bassist as the longest-standing member of extreme metal juggernaut Napalm Death, ever since its arrival in 1987. The four-stringer is also one of the founding members of Brujeria, a brutal three-decade-old supergroup including members from Faith No More, Fear Factory, Dead Kennedys, Cradle of Filth, Carcass and many more. Also, the Brit musician recently launched his Tronos collaborative project and participated in many other heavy or experimental bands (like Meathook Seed), plus a couple of punkish ones (Venomous Concept, Lock Up).

With Dark Sky Burial, his new musical venture (see our review of the new album here), Embury wears his influences on his heavily tattooed sleeves, as he tagged—on the project’s Bandcamp page—some of his favorite artists, from filmmakers/composers (Dario Argento, David Lynch, Goblin), to post-rock (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai), industrial (Skinny Puppy, Coil, Nine Inch Nails) and trip hop acts (Massive Attack, Portishead). Also, did you know Embury is a massive horror hound too? The lifelong fan took some time to exchange a few e-mails with RUE MORGUE, detailing Dark Sky Burial’s origins, naming his favorite soundtracks and more. “Had time [to answer] while my [18-month-old] son slept,” Embury wrote, replying to our Sinister Seven questions. Here you go, horror fiends and headbangers…

What was the initial spark that initiated Dark Sky Burial? 

I have loved experimental and industrial music for years, and it has always been on my agenda to create tracks in a more soundtrack-oriented vein. I wanted to do this many years ago, around 1994, but got sidetracked with the intensity of Napalm Death’s touring schedule, so it went on the back burner, as they say. Then I was on a Brujeria tour three years ago, and on many tours you have time to kill, so I started investigating GarageBand [software] on my Mac, creating loops and short pieces of music and looking at new sounds out there, and I realized that a lot had changed since my Roland JV-1080 days. And, well, the fire of enthusiasm was reignited.​

How would you describe Dark Sky Burial? 

Atmospheric loops that seem dark and foreboding but oddly comforting, mixed in with bears to uplift the uneasiness!

What does the name mean to you?

I am quite a restless individual, and one night, I became fascinated with the Tibetan Sky Burial ritual. It made sense to me in some ways, and I added the “Dark” as some other bands had used it too [laughs]! I think it has an interesting ring to it with that added—and as well, the music is dark!

How is Dark Sky Burial the perfect soundtrack to 2020?

I had been pondering when to release this first album, as I have enough tracks for possibly a few albums. But I finally took the plunge and put this out around the beginning of the pandemic awareness in this country [Britain]. As I chose the tracks for this release, they seemed to fit the feelings I was having about what was happening around me. There’s that feeling of enclosure and isolation sprinkled throughout the album—“Commands from Beyond” is a great one for that, and also, this track is very much influenced by the movie THE BEYOND.

What are your top three horror/sci-fi soundtracks?

Howard Shore’s CRASH [David Cronenberg, 1996], Krzysztof Komeda’s THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS [Roman Polanski, 1967] and John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN [1978].

What is the perfect David Lynch movie to you?

The perfect Lynch movie would be THE ELEPHANT MAN [1980].

Do you have a favorite Italian movie?

THE BEYOND [1981], by Lucio Fulci.