Sunday 23 January 2022

Dark Ambient Review: Dagon

Dark Ambient Review: Dagon

Review By Casey Douglass

Dagon Cover Art

Something that always cuts through the bullshit of Xmas and New Years is the yearly Cryo Chamber Lovecraftian collaboration. This year’s offering is themed around Dagon, and as you might imagine, this means that the soundscapes emitted by its two, hour-long tracks, have a decidedly nautical, briny feeling.

From the very first second of track one, the sounds of waves, drones and horns fill the ear. There is a low heartbeat-like beat, a jittering chittering, whispers, and the impression of vast forces being mobilised. Your journey into submersion and the subterranean has begun, each area opening up and deepening into the feeling of vast underground places. Gaping water-filled caverns reflect back strange echoes from their walls. Trundling rasping sounds fill the mind with notions of strange machinery. Sinister vocals roam, from low distorted words to more melodic, siren-song snippets of mournful summoning.

One of my favourite moments of the album is around the six minute mark on track one. The cavernous soundscape sparkles and rasps with whispers, accompanied by muffled impacts rumbling in the distance. A drone fills the ear and laughter-like scuffling sounds pull the attention to the fringes. Strange whirring high tones seem to hint at strange creatures flocking in the dark recesses of the unseen rocky roof. It’s a pregnant atmosphere, pent up and ready to birth something horrible.

Another great section is around the fourteen and a half minute mark. The soundscape quietens and a strange female mewling vocal beckons. Water drips and trickles, and a buffeting sound ruffles the ears, much like wind blowing against noise-cancelling headphones. Twisting, smoothed notes pluck and echo away into blares of drone, the soundscape creating a feeling of being on the edge of something momentous.

Track two also has its fair share of succulent dark ambient to feast on. Eleven minutes in, a sustained drone is joined by a wet ‘thrashing around’, echoes, rumbles and airy tones, which create a fine impression of some strange creature wending its way across a shore in the dark abyss. As time passes, things feel more hollow, like a greater space has opened up, with the distant high calls of some kind of strange creature. The listener then breaks into a breath-infused space of threat and at times, what seems to be laughter.

Another moment in track two that I particularly enjoyed occurs at around minute twenty two. A roving undulating deep tone fills the ear, with high tones squeezing through the oppressive atmosphere. Again, there is an impression of breathing or the breath, and a little later, a ghostly hum. This section of the track feels dark but meditative, the lows and highs dancing around each other and setting off a shimmering, haunted, echoing space.

Dagon is another fine slice of eldritch dark ambient from Cryo Chamber. Going in, I wondered how it might compare to 2014 release Cthulhu, both being “of the sea”. If Cthulhu depicts what it might be like to be in a dark water abyss deep under the earth, Dagon, for me, is more a tale of what sitting on that dark shore might feel like, rather than being crushed by the water itself. If that makes sense. Both are fantastic albums in my opinion; I just wanted to describe how they both differed in how I felt when listening to them. If you love your dark ambient Lovecraftian, as always, you can’t go wrong with a Cryo Chamber collaboration.

Visit the Dagon page on Bandcamp for more information. You can also listen to the album below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Dagon

Album Artist: Cryo Chamber Collaboration

Label: Cryo Chamber

Released: 28 Dec 2021