Dark Music Review – Diagnosis
Review Written By Casey Douglass
Council of Nine returns to Cryo Chamber with his second full length album. Deep, psychological, personal and complex. This is a dark ambient release in the style Council of Nine is known for with a healthy dose of both beauty and sadness.Dark drones asking questions from the opposite side of the chaise lounge.
Rite of Passage - A light, ‘chimey’ sound opens up into swells of drone and electronic distorted, robotic-like notes. Echoes and vibrating notes grow, are held, and fade as harsher tones tease the listener.
Memories Are Fading Away – A low wind noise is met by a flurry of beep-like notes and airy sighing and chanting. A drone emerges that begins to hold sway, howling and vibrations twisting what started as a light and quirky track into something that feels far darker. Less memories fading and more they are being eaten by something in the dark. There are soft piano notes and other lighter tones, hints of bird song and the like, that make it seem a little like light and dark are tussling, but that the underlying darkness stays the course.
Sedation – A deep-rising start, cavernous and bubbling but with strange distortions that make things seem heavier. A steady drone begins, seeming to hide a huffing noise that roams from ear to ear. It takes on the aspect of a voice as the track continues, giving me the impression of a mind trying to talk to itself, to talk itself out of its confusion. The tone changes toward the midpoint, another note and a rattling percussion blending into things. Higher sounds emerge in the last third, elevating and providing great contrast with the deeper chant-like effects.
I Can See The Fear In Your Eyes – Guttural muttering and a sparkly drone begin this track, bassier elements swimming in as it progresses. A low chant sounds beneath things, electronic beeps and tones punctuating the soundscape before things go more quietly reflective, dipping back into drone and chant once more. An echoing space later opens up, high notes and more delicate melodies creating an almost star-filled space, like being deep underground and finding some kind of phosphorescent glowing creatures pebble-dashed across a cavern ceiling.
Void of Regret – A bleak start with pulsing sounds and slowly rising resonances being joined by a muted beat and eerie female vocals. Snatches of whispering and an evolving drone complete the effect, creating a very dark place. A repeating melody rumbulates through the soundscape, adding a great, high-note tinged lining to things.
Riddled With Guilt – A rumbling-ringing tone is soon joined by a UFO-like energy fluctuation and resonance that creates an energetic and engaging soundscape. What sounds like chanting joins, at times also accompanied by whistling that almost hurts the ears, like an old-style kettle waiting to be taken off the flames as it whistles to signal its boiling state. Water rippling effects and a quieter, dripping space begin around the midpoint of the track. Maybe the guilt hinted at in the title has burned itself out leaving a hollow space behind.
Fragments of Myself – A very quiet start builds to a chant-infused space, the rumbling drone behind everything soon over-layed with the odd swell of flute and piano, along with other electronic sounds and echoes. This track has a great temple or prayer-like atmosphere, but things distort and rumble with a darker energy that hints at the power below things as much as that above. A quieter midpoint and contemplative tone is soon overwritten by a harsher drone before things quieten again, the chants of a monk joined by swells of echoing string. This track certainly revels in the loud and the quiet.
Diagnosis is a fine dark ambient album, one that treats the listener to, on the whole, mainly gentle soundscapes that are richly detailed with ebbing and flowing notes and echoes. Saying that, it was an album that didn’t leave much of an impression on me, and I can’t really work out why. I’m inclined to put it down to whatever else was going on with me at the time. The standout track for me was the chant-laden I Can See The Fear In Your Eyes; the dark undertones of possible abyssal meditation appealing to me.
Diagnosis is a competent album that I feel stingy giving 3.5/5. I just seemed to move through it. It is well worth checking out though so feel free to visit the Diagnosis page on Bandcamp at this link for more information.
You can listen to I Can See The Fear In Your Eyes below too:
I was given a free copy of the album to review.
Album Title: Diagnosis
Album Artist: Council of Nine
Label: Cryo Chamber
Artwork and Mastering: Simon Heath
Release Date : December 1, 2015