Desiderii Marginis – Procession CD Cyclic Law 2012
Constituting the seventh album for Desiderii Marginis, I have to admit that for no particular reason I have not kept up with the group since their third release. Upon reflection this is somewhat odd, given I was huge devotee of the group from the debut album ‘Songs Over Ruins’, and additionally featured an interview with sole member Johan Levin in Spectrum Magazine Issue 4 way back in 2000. Nevertheless, seventh album this is and the first to be released on the respected Cyclic Law label (with the majority of earlier albums being released on Cold Meat Industry).
So, whilst not being able to compare ‘Procession’ to more recent albums, to this ear Desiderii Marginis continue to deliver their particular version of sacral infused dark ambient hymns. Yet what is also clearly evident is the overall tone is slightly more composed, flowing, mature and confident in presentation. Whilst I would also say that in the past there was inevitable comparison to fellow Swede Raison D’etre, given the more sparse and abstract directions that Raison D’etre have headed on recent albums, such a comparison today is greatly diminished and further assisted by the honed compositional slant which gives this a recognisable Desiderii Marginis sound.
Although articulating a broad cavernous and echoed dark ambient aesthetic, the album is impeccably produced to allow the varying tonal layers, and individual instruments (piano, violin, moody orchestral synth melodies, sparse choral vocals), to breath and float within the mix. Notably there is also the occasional interjection of slightly jagged tonal elements (metallic scrapings, clanging sounds etc.) to keep the listener on their toes.
When closely listening to early album track ‘Her Name is Poverty’ I was struck by the parallel which could be drawn to the feel and atmosphere of their debut album (which I mean as a clear compliment), with a similar atmosphere flowing through the following track ‘Silent Messenger’. Yet this is not to suggest a mere re-tread of the aura of earlier material. Here the track excels with its morose tone (lone wind instrument floating over a slow shifting moody orchestral base), ultimately representing an artist who has nailed down their sound with self-assured clarity. Interestingly ‘In Brightness’ manages to achieve an atmosphere that is the polar opposite of what the title might suggest – a distant and bleak sounding composition of shifting droning semi-orchestral layers that are partially grounded with scrapping metallic industrial elements. Excellent to say the least. Alternately ‘Adrift’ seeks a slow build structure, here relying on cavernous reverb and swelling, bleak piano/ orchestral melodies which rise and build in intensity throughout. The final of the eight album tracks presents the title piece, representing a great finale due to its distinctive dual intertwining bittersweet violin lines, and slow, echoed dark ambient undercurrent.
To conclude I am glad to say that ‘Procession’ confidentially represents the aural space I expected (…or hoped) Desiderii Marginis to still inhabit, and for me at least amounts to the welcomed return of a familiar yet matured sound. Definitively worthy of investigation if you have had any sort of appreciation for Desiderii Marginis in the past.