[Reviewed by stark]
The album “Diagnosis” appears very soon after “Dakhma”, only seven months from one another if I’m counting correctly. I wonder if all this music was created during that short period of time, because if so, then perhaps we can begin to consider this guy as an extremely talented ambient musician, given that this album with the unusually bright cover for Cryo Chamber standards, is better than “Dakhma” in every way.
First of all, the tracks are shorter and more condensed, yet more diverse compositionally and in terms of the atmosphere – “Dakhma” was very uniform and all the pieces proved to be pillars of one monolithic structure. Or the chapters of some thrilling novel, an apocalyptic science fiction set somewhere in the Middle East. On “Diagnosis” you can treat each piece as a shorter, but stand-alone story. Take the album opener “Rite Of Passage,” a terrifying track, but broken in the middle by something that may remind one Steve Roach or, going further, even Vangelis from the time of “Blade Runner”. Not directly of course, but more subtly.
“Memories Are Fading Away” indicates the shift of the atmospheric center of gravity into more reflective and introspective terrains, at least in comparison to “Dakhma”. The drone meditation never suggests any sinister emotions. As if the period of terror was already outside the protagonist, if we treat the track as a story. As if he’s looking back at the ruin, which is his past, yet with every second passing it becomes more and more blurred in his memory. “Sedation” doesn’t notably differ from the previous track in terms of mood, but Maximillian thickens the sound slightly by adding an organic-sounding layer, an incidentally passing male voice, quasi-choir parts appearing in the background and not very intrusive ritual rhythms.
However it’s still dark ambient, and Council Of Nine states it clearly in “I Can See Fear In Your Eyes” where the textures have shades closer to black – melting them with the melodic, atmospheric elements falls more than convincing. But “Void Of Regret” is probably the most beautiful part of the disc; endearing, heart-gripping melodies and female vocals woven in the instrumental layer in exactly the way I like the most.
There was regret, time for guilt. The next composition seems the most quiet one, but paradoxically perhaps the most disturbing on the album as well. In its isolationist character it resembles a little some fragments of Northaunt’s “Horizons”.
In the last track, “Fragments Of Myself” I think appears the first occurrence of Middle Eastern echoing influences. The thing is again quite eerie and works well as the bleak finale of a really good album – I have to admit that not all recent Cryo Chamber releases were equally to my taste, but this one surely stands out. I have only one request of the musician – let us wait a bit longer for new material. I don’t want Council Of Nine to become common.