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Desiderii Marginis - Vita Arkivet (2018) - Review

Band: Desiderii Marginis
Album title: Vita Arkivet
Release date: 22 October 2018
Label: Cyclic Law

01. Capsule
02. The Scattering
03. Passing Bell
04. Vertigo
05. Eulogy

Beside the new albums of Atrium Carceri and Raison d'être, this one is another dark ambient release that I was waiting eagerly for it to come out. Desiderii Marginis, a name that for those who follow dark ambient and connected genres doesn't need any intruduction. We are talking about one of the most important names of this specific genre here, active since 1993, Johan Levin, the man behind Desiderii Marginis, was one of those who were paving the road for what we understand as dark ambient today and his debut album from 1997, Songs Over Ruins, is considered as a proper cult in this scene. Now four years after the magnificient Hypnosis, Johan offers maybe his darkest creation until now, an album that might be on the outside creamy white, but the content is pitch-black.

Vita Arkivet (engl. 'The White Archive') is a concept album that is an official document detailing ones funeral arrangements through sonic propositions. The creamy white colour of the outside is the colour of the casket lining, the plaster death masks and the walls of the chapel, it is the colour of the first and last pages. The rest is darkness in its most encompassing way, it's a sound of a death ritual, an immersive and deeply haunting musical creation that is way less dynamic than we were used to hear from Desiderii Marginis in the past, this time Johan embraces us with the concept of less is more, even though that this might be only a superficial thing, because this music is enriched with many subtleties.

In its essence this creation is manifestation of deepness that with long drones, ritualistic chants that bring shivers down the spine, distant industrial segments and dark keys, slowly but effectively takes the listener in some sort of trance. It might be a bit psychedelic here and there, for example the suspenseful track "The Scattering" is in certain parts, but moreover all of the tracks are racked with huge sense of alluring deep sorrow and melancholia, just listen to the opener "Capsule", to the short "Passing Bell" and especially to the mesmerizingly haunting closing chapter named "Eulogy", the one which in a way reminds to his older creations. The track that I found also very interesting is "Vertigo", which with such a smooth use of subtle industrial elements, distant bells, metallic chinks, lurking dark drones and other more or less evident swelling sounds, creates such a dense sonic experience that almost smells like death.

Vita Arkivet is another otherworldly sonic manifestation done by Desiderii Marginis, it makes the sounds of death so very beautiful. This is the music of loss and the great detachment from life, from others, and from ourselves. It's enthralling, cold and mysterious at the same time, a well executed piece of dark/industrial ambient. The only thing that doesn't do a favor to this album is that in the past Desiderii Marginis made so many great albums, and I can't say that Vita Arkivet is among the best ones, musically speaking it's different and maybe the darkest one, but because of lack of dynamics and certain cinematic feel it doesn't reach the creative heights of monuments like Procession or Seven Sorrows to name just two. Nevertheless, Vita Arkivet is still one of the dark ambient highlights this year.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8/10