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Council Of Nine - Diagnosis (2015) - Review

Band: Council Of Nine
Album title: Diagnosis
Release date: 1 December 2015
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. Rite Of Passage
02. Memories Are Fading Away
03. Sedation
04. I Can See The Fear In Your Eyes
05. Void Of Regret
06. Riddled With Guilt
07. Fragments Of Myself

Council Of Nine keeps the momentum up with the sophmore release Diagnosis. After recieving justified praise for his contribution to the dark ambient compilation Tomb Of Empires, Council Of Nine brought us Dakhma a slow-rolling and deep look into his dark and often esoteric interests. Diagnosis is another step up the ladder to perfection as Council Of Nine's signature sound and style is fully realized. Diagnosis appeals to the tortured mind, brooding and full of a disconcerting warmth. One may immediately find solace in these tracks, yet they may also be as likely to find an inner demon rearing its ugly head. 

The dark and twisted mind takes front and center on Diagnosis. "Rite Of Passage" dives straight down the rabbit hole. Heavy industrial elements combined with a constantly warping synth line sets the listeners' minds into motion, molding us as it chooses, preparing for the journey ahead, even if we will never leave the space of our subconscious. "Memories Are Fading Away" gives an immediate respite to the feelings of paranoia and claustrophobia from the previous track. This is the feeling of letting go, forgetting, if only for a moment, all the worries of a tortured psyche. "Sedation" embodies a more literal approach to this feeling of disconnected euphoria. Clearly, the pills are kicking in. Life is dulled down. Why need one worry? The sense of warmth and comfort holds steady through these tracks even as a shadow remains cast over the mind's eye. "I Can See The Fear In Your Eyes" takes a turn back into the hateful abyss. That previous sense of comfort is fading quickly, leaving behind confusion and inevitably fear. Problems can only be cast aside for so long before staring you down, sizing you up, testing your will. "Void Of Regret" is an equisitely composed dark ambient piece. As the darkness fills the mind, the listener is overcome with an all encompassing emptiness. Bringing together all the elements that make this album great for a steady whirlwind of climax, Council Of Nine proves once and for all that he has a place among the veterans of dark ambient, showcasing aural treats that nod reverently to masters of the genre like Kammarheit and Atrium Carceri. "Riddled With Guilt" continues to wallow in the abyss, seeming to go into a dank cavernous realm within, unraveling as guilt takes hold. "Fragments Of Myself" pushes the boundaries of dark ambient, giving a more musically pronounced ending to Diagnosis. As if pulling oneself out of the pits of despair, Council Of Nine presents a complex and emotional composition. Emotions are grasped at and released, ideas slowly form and then melt away just as quickly. We hear a plethora of elements, chants of some dark monks fade into a wall of white noise, fading out into isolation. A gentle female voice can almost be heard singing, footsteps and squeaky hinges, wind chimes, and a cold wind all swirl together as the mind gently unravels.

Council Of Nine's Diagnosis feels personal, deep, dark, and yet still warm and inviting. It doesn't warn us of the twisted mind as much as it invites us to join it. Council Of Nine offers the perfect meditative experience here. Each track builds on the momentum of the previous and takes us on a slow and only slightly unsettling trip into the imperfect mind. Diagnosis is potent yet never overbearing, equally enjoyable as an active or passive listening experience. As always with Cryo Chamber releases, Diagnosis sounds fantastic in a nice set of headphones but this album really shines when allowed to fill a room with its darkness. The deep bass-laden warmth of Council Of Nine's signature sound is easily returned to for multiple listening sessions, with new elements often presenting themselves to the listener with each play. Perfect for the cold dark months of winter, a time when the mind tends to reflect on itself most. Diagnosis is a brilliant addition to Cryo Chamber's ever-growing catalogue of instant classics and should prove a welcome addition to any dark ambient fan's library.

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 9/10