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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 - Deadbeat [Cyclic Law - 2018]

In November 2018 I reviewed Vita Arkivet- the most recent album from Dark Ambient project Desiderii Marginis. At the same time Cyclic Law release a re-mastered version of the projects album 2001 Deadbeat- and that’s what I’m reviewing today

Desiderii Marginis is the solo project of Swedish musician Johan Levin. The sound of the project is characterized as Dark Ambient, with elements of Industrial, Noise, Dark Folk and a little Gothic. Since 1997 the project has released ten full-length albums, one single and two compilations.

Deadbeat was originally released in 2001 by the cult Swedish label Cold Meat Industry. This  Re-mastered and Extended Edition of the album was released on label Cyclic Law in the form of CD and two types of LP - standard black Vinyl and Special Red & Black Splatter Vinyl, which at the time of writing this review is already sold out. It is worth noting that Deadbeat is supplemented by two bonus tracks that are available only on CD and in the digital version of the album. The album is available for ordering on the label's website and on its bandcamp page.


The albums cover is made in red tones. In the middle, on a dark red background, there is a monochrome photo of a fragment of a stream that flows rapidly among the stones. At the bottom, centre is the name of the project, made in simple italic black font with a black shadow. Just below is the album title , made in white font, resembling Slavic Izhitsa. It is worth saying that the original cover of the 2001 edition is different from the new one. The new cover is made in the same style, but another photo is used. Also on the new cover more thoughtful placement of the name of the project and album. In general, the cover is quite atmospheric, although, as it seemed to me, it does not carry any semantic load.


The album consists of twelve tracks and lasts just under one hour. Tracks one through ten are the original album, tracks 11 and 12 are the bonus tracks.

As for the musical part, we hear the classic Desiderii Marginis here. This is an Atmospheric Dark Ambient, based on keyboards and samples, with a large amount of industrial influence and a touch of noise. We hear dark atmospheric keyboards, rare whispers and distant Gregorian chants. However, a huge role here is played by the gnashing and harsh rhythm, made in a typical industrial manner, sometimes moving towards noise territory.

Deadbeat was the second album from  Desiderii Marginis. It showed the development of musical ideas and professionalism of Johan Levin, compared with the first album Songs Over Ruins, which was released in 1997. Apparently, the four-year break between the albums had a beneficial effect on Johan’s compositional and performing talent. He enriched his music with atmosphere, brought many unexpected elements and made the compositions more solid and complete. In simple terms, we can hear the fusion of the early Raison D’tre and Deutsch Nepal, enriched with original authoring ideas. Not surprisingly, this album has become a classic, both in the Desiderii Marginis discography and in the Dark Ambient genre as a whole.

I heard this album in its original version, and I was interested to hear the re-mastered version. I was pleasantly surprised by the updated sound. There are no major changes and innovations. All compositions are presented in the version in which they were recorded. The duration of the tracks have not changed. However, the sound has become more atmospheric, deep, clear and rich. In the original version, the sound was slightly flat and had many pronounced low frequencies, which was perfectly corrected in the new version of the album.

As for the two additional tracks, they fit perfectly into the overall atmosphere of the album. But the last track"Unclean" seemed to me too noisy and industrial compared to previous tracks. However, this did not spoil the impression of the album, but rather added a bit of thrill.

I'm not a big fan of the various editions and re-mastered albums, but in this case, it went only benefit album. Probably, this edition was really necessary to once again enjoy this classic of the genre in the best quality.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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