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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Desiderii Marginis - Vita Arkivet [Cyclic Law - 2018]

Swedish project Desiderii Marginis is often referred to as solely a Dark Ambient venture. However, in his work, Johan Levin – the founder of this project, has often combined a large number of styles of experimental music into his sound - such as dark ambient, industrial, drone, dark folk and even elements of noise.

Desiderii Marginis started in the mid-90s. The first album was released in 1997 on the cult Swedish label Cold Meat Industry. In the period from 1997 to now, the project has released eight full-length albums, one split-album, one single and two compilations. The last full-length album was released in 2014, and now, four years later, Desiderii Marginis returns with new material.

The album titled Vita Arkivet (which translates from Swedish as White Archive) was released by German label Cyclic Law as a CD, 12 ”Vinyl LP, Special Edition LP on Clear & Black Splatter vinyl, as well as in digital format. All of this you can order on the website or on the bandcamp of the label. Digital version also can be ordered on Desiderii Marginis Bandcamp.

The album cover is a texture of a slightly crumpled ivory-coloured paper. In the middle, Desiderii Marginis is written in a white thin simple font, and the name of the album Vita Arkivet is slightly lower and a little smaller. It is difficult to say how the cover relates to the music content. The author of the cover probably relied more on the album title. Nevertheless, the cover seemed to be quite successful, despite minimalism and the lack of originality.

The album, with a total duration of just under forty-one minutes, consists of five tracks. On this album, Johan Levin, presented us with a slightly different approach to writing compositions. If in previous albums, Desiderii Marginis combined several styles, then in this work the main emphasis is placed on the atmospheric dark ambient with a lot of drones. All compositions are made in the same style, which is based on looped atmospheric synth passages. Around these, we get elements  such as Gregorian chants, the rattle of metal and metal beats, samples of distant ghostly voices, bell ringing and much more. At times they where almost Dungeon Synth hints here too.

Although the album turned out to be solid enough, I, unfortunately, cannot say that I heard anything new or distinctive. At times, it felt like I was listening to a Raison D'etre album.

General sound wise this album seemed dismal to other Desiderii Marginis releases I’ve heard. It would have been nice to hear more spacious and airy sound. Despite the abundance of delay and reverberation, a feeling of claustrophobia is created. It’s as if the sound has closed in itself and cannot be opened, as if something is limiting it. Because of this, sometimes the sound seems a bit raw. Perhaps this is due to the abundance of drone elements.


As a result, we have a smooth and solid album. But, unfortunately, not the best work of this project. I did not hear the creative explosion, impulse, soul and energy that were inherent in previous works. It almost seemed like this album might be composed of previously unreleased, unsuccessful or demo-tracks, given the name of the album. The album is not bad, but I looking forward to hearing Desiderii Marginis, I  loved back in the 90s….which clearly this isn’t.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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