Published on Thursday, 23 February 2017 22:55
Band: Peter Bjärgö
Album title: Animus Retinentia
Release date: 1 March 2017
Label: Cyclic Law
01. You Let The Light Shine Through
03. To Replace My Sadness
05. Where Night Is Eternal
06. As Rain Falls
08. Transcend Time
09. Memories II
10. From Agony
11. Sleep Dep.Loop2
Peter Bjärgö, the founder of Swedish neo-classical darkwave group Arcana (1994-present) and industrial project Sophia (1998-present) is an artist I had listened to before but only his music under the name Sophia. Not until recently did I become familiar with his solo work.
He started his solo endeavour doing a split with Gustaf Hildebrand called Out Of The Darkening Light, Into The Bright Shadow in 2005. Starting off, I listened to his first solo album from 2009, A Wave Of Bitterness, suitably in the dark and was already awestruck by the talent of this man, from the piano to the heartfelt, mournful lyrics and vocals.
Then his next album released on Cyclic Law, which is his most noticed, and his masterpiece in my opinion, which totally grew on me, The Architecture of Melancholy from 2011, on which he outdid himself. I thought to myself: How can this man get any better at his craft? How can he make another masterpiece like this?
My many questions were answered with twice the power I expected. This is better, in my opinion, than any of his other solo works. He seems to use music as an outlet for his inner struggle and sorrows and it is clear even just looking at the name of songs like "To Replace My Sadness", and "From Agony".
This new album, of which I speak, entitled Animus Retinentia, Latin for ‘Keeping in mind’, starts off with his signature sorrowful piano melodies. They leave you to slink back into wherever you are sitting and viewing the world around you through a grey filter.
Ritualistic drum beats and an acoustic guitar with melodies that are enough to leave you in tears enter your surrounding, whilst Peter's deep vocals could lull you into a place from your past that you miss or things you wish that would heal. Peter Bjärgö’s voice reminds me a bit of Peter Steele from Type O Negative, and complements the music very well.
Peter Bjärgö has created his finest solo effort to date, and my favorite album so far this year. I will surely be following this artist closely. I highly recommend listening to his solo works, as they are his most personal and beautiful. This album will take you on a ride through grey heavens and some victory over the sadness towards the end.
Written by: Tom Necklen