[Reviewed by stark]
I’ll be damned; I was complaining a short while ago about the sterility of the Cryo Chamber sound on the occasion of “The Architects” by Randal Collier-Ford, and the next album we have the opportunity to review carefully avoids this sin, and it sounds exactly like a thoroughbred dark ambient sound should. “Dakhma” is the debut full-length by Maximillian Olivier, hiding under the Council Of Nine moniker. Surely you remember the four-artist split , “Tomb Of Empires”. The project has revealed its talent to the world there, going head to head with Foundation Hope, Alphaxone and Coph’antae Tryr, and I don’t know if in the end today’s guest is not the biggest winner of that release.
“The Maag” brings to mind Raison d’être without any sacral elements – industrial frills, choirs, metallic rasps etc. The drone-dream essence only, though I wonder if Peter Andersson ever sounded so intensely. For Raison d’être space was always important, while “The Maag” is so dense that sometimes it lacks air, and I grope looking for a way out of this musty dungeon. Maximillian, however, gives a hand sometimes – those single keyboard sounds occurring here and there recall the distant associations with “Until Dawn Do Us Part” by Northaunt.
If anyone ever had to do a film version of the first Assassin’s Creed (the R rated version – yeah, right), they should turn to Maximillian and ask him to lend them ‘Tower Of Silence’ for the soundtrack. Somehow it reminds me of said game. The composition is perhaps a bit calmer, though not benign. Which is as the title tower, where the slightest sound, sand gliding on the stone floor or the rustle of a spider’s legs running somewhere, reflects a powerful echo. Therefore, when silence occurs, it is infinite.
In “Sacrifice” the quasi-arabian association is reinforced, and the track’s long duration allows Council Of Nine to fully spread its wings, although later the musician focuses on spreading the darkness through massive drones. It should be remembered that any non-European references are not listed in such a direct way as in the works of – admired by me – Herbst 9 or Penjaga Insaf. Here everything is tightly wrapped in low-tune drones and the whole thing, although it sounds great played out loud via the speakers, can be fully appreciated only when we listen to it through headphones.
“Nasu” begins with a grim piano, which later joins with whispers treated by deep reverb. It’s probably the darkest part of the release, although I must also admit that “Nasu” is the track least close to my taste.
“The Ossuary” once again takes the listener into the Afghan wilderness, with strange lights flickering on the night sky. It reminds me of the pretty good, though underrated movie, “The Objective” by Daniel Myrick. It seems to be the quietest, most melodic and emotional track on the album. And the most complete. Extraordinary. On the other hand if you thought that with “Circle Of The Sun” the atmosphere would somewhat brighten (because of the sun in the title, etc.), then… think twice. An extremely bleak and apocalyptic culmination of an already gloomy album. Confirming my belief that we are dealing with another more than solid player on the dark ambient scene. If you liked “Tomb Of Empires” think of it as an appetizer before the main course that comes in the form of “Dakhma”. One of the most promising members of the Cryo Chamber family.