If you’re a fan of Cascadian Ambient/Black Metal band Fauna, you probably have a good idea what this LP sounds like already. Fauna guitarist Echtra (the sole member of Echtra) originally recorded the music for Sky Burial in 2008, but this is finally getting released in 2013 with the addition of a DVD containing the first and only performance of Sky Burial in its entirety from December 2008. This is a review of the music only. Echtra doesn’t sound that far removed from Fauna, though the Black Metal elements are pushed further back. Where Fauna had atmospheric and acoustic parts mixed in with their droning Black Metal, Echtra is primarily focused on the atmospheric elements. The acoustic guitar and the keyboards are the most prominent instruments here. You can hear the electric guitars and the drumming, but they are pretty muted compared to the acoustic guitar. In many ways, this is a Dark Ambient album more than it is a Black Metal (or even Post-Black Metal). It does have elements of Folk Noir, mostly owing to the extensive use of acoustic guitar. One of the main commonalties that Echtra has with Fauna is the song structure. Both bands have songs that are minimalistic but also incredibly long. Sky Burial is forty-six minutes, divided into two twenty-three minute tracks that may as well be one long song. I think the division was there primarily so that this could be released on vinyl, because, digitally, telling where one song ends and the next begins is a bit hard unless you’re actively looking at your media player to see when things switch over. As you can imagine, the whole LP is pretty mellow sounding. It’s kind of in the same semi-dark soundscape style that Shadowlands by Klaus Schulze falls into. It’s great chill-out music that can be used as background ambience when listening to Metal isn’t appropriate. I doubt that the majority of Metal Curse readers will be into this kind of thing, but for those who are into Dark Ambient with a touch of Folk Noir and Black Metal influence, Sky Burial is an interesting album.
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