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Friday, June 12, 2015

Council of Nine - "Dakhma"

Artist: Council of Nine
Album: Dakhma
Year: 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber
Genre: Drone, Dark Ambient
Website:  cryochamber.bandcamp.com

First full length from newcomer Council of Nine. His first appearance was couple of tracks on the Tomb of Empires split (alongside Foundation Hope, Alphaxone, and Coph'Antae Tryr), which I unfortunately have not listened to yet, however I've heard several people hyping up this release so I figured I'd check it out.

The opener, "The Magi" delivers pretty much exactly what we've come to expect from Cryo Chamber - deep, placid, fathomless droning soundscapes and crystal clear production. While minimal and undoubtedly subtle, This track expertly conjures visions of ancient times and the wreckage of sunken temples. It's a bit minimal for me personally, but it is certainly captivating nonetheless. I feel that it exemplifies the cover art. The next track, "Tower of Silence", is similar, though it introduces a sombre melody and distant banging which help to bolster the atmosphere significantly. The melody adds a certain dreary and ghostly vibe to the piece; a sad reflection on an ancient relic. "Sacrifice" is the longest track here at nearly 16 minutes and it is simultaneously the most boring. I found this one to be overly long without much of anything happening. If you skip ahead to any point it sounds exactly the same. Couple that with the fact that the last 3 minutes are so quiet that it sounds like complete silence unless I crank my speakers up to max volume and this track falls flat. Thankfully, the follow up track "Nasu" corrects the wrongs of its predecessor and is one of the best tracks on the album. The visionary atmospheres of the opening track return, coupled with subtle sound effects and even more veiled melodic bits. The drones ebb and flow, providing dynamics sorely lacking in the prior tack. As with previous tracks, I feel like this song is more or less the same thing over and over for it's entire 7 minute duration, though the sounds used are solid. "The Ossuary" follows suit: some great sounds that strongly create darkened atmospheres, yet too stagnant as a whole. The album closer "Circle of the Sun" is another piece similar to "Sacrifice"; an overly long, monotonous droning affair where nothing really happens.

Overall, this ends up being a pretty average album for me. There are some really good tracks, but also a few overly bland ones. Council of Nine definitely has skills to craft interesting and captivating soundscapes, but I feel that his stuff lacks variety. These songs need more progression in them - it feels like they tread water and remain in the same position for their entire duration. If he could expand his sound palette and get more going on within some of these tracks than I feel he could make exceptional work. As it is this is still a quality release and will please fans of the label and style. I'm looking forward to what he creates in the future.

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