SOPHIA: DECONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD
LP: Cyclic Law 4th Cycle [2003]
Ltd x 500 clear vinyl with poster


The End Of An Age
Machine
Downfall
Condescension
Humanicide

Soiled
Severed
Contrition
Unperturbed
Aftermath

This is Sophia's first release since Peter Bjärgo's 'departure' from Cold Meat Industry, bringing Arcana with him to his own musical realm Erebus Odora - making a departure with this release under the helm of Cyclic Law of Canada. Sophia, in my humble opinion, is far superior to Peter' main project Arcana. With "Deconstruction of the World" he is joined by fellow Swede Stefan Eriksson.

Beginning the album is an enchanting instrumental piece 'The End Of An Age' featuring strings and industrial clanking and grinding beneath. An American male voice is sampled, blending into the mix. There is definitely a latent, explosive element, waiting to make its presence felt. 'Machine' moves straight into the Sophia you've been waiting for. Bombastic, neoclassical with thundering drums overlayered and Peter's husky voice over. 'Downfall' features rich military percussion, horns and bombastic drumming, harkening to strings. This is a stunning track - very similar in style to their debut album "Sigillum Millitum" or the glorious "Herbstwerk". Simply breath-taking. 'Condescension' begins with deep throbbing electronics and a disturbing female voice. There are creaks and laughing. This is a less bombastic and more experimental piece than I've heard from Peter before....and it ends just as quickly as it begins. An odd inclusion. 'Humanicide' is very In Slaughter Natives sounding. More metallic drums take precedent and there is Gregorian chanting under along with strings. Peter's threatening, whispering vocals make another appearance becoming more excited and there's even harmony at one point. This piece is very rhythmic and short.

Side 2 opens with 'Soiled'', bringing to mind the tracklisting on "Spite". Whispering voices are layered over sleepy strings, abruptly woken by rhythmic drumming and hissing samples. This song has a very industrial feel to it, but in a lighter manner. 'Severed' begins with a subtle clicking sample, underpinned with lush dark ambient drones, feeling their way along the dark edges. There are short, distorted samples, joined at one stage with some pecussion. A slight pause and we're into 'Contrition'. This is Sophia on fine form! Dark, brooding, chunky rhythms then into some very "Herbstwerk" neoclassical bliss. Very pronounced percussion and more horns - a fantastically powerful piece. 'Unperturbed' opens with various strings and a fine drone. It gets more rhythmic with some drumming involved, along with a laughing child. Peter makes another appearance on vocals. I absolutely love this piece! 'Aftermath', begins with some nautical horns then into some full orchestral majesty with clanking to disrupt the regality of the occasion. A poignant finale.

Well, it's definitely a departure from the solid, thundering Sophia sound; and I have to say that I prefer Sophia as an instrumental outfit rather than with the vocals - this brings it a lot closer to the style of Arcana or In Slaughter Natives. It doesn't quite hang together as well as "Spite" or "Herbstwerk" and I am a massive fan of the Sophia which produced these excellent releases. Still, it's powerful stuff and, while more varied than the other Sophia releases, still storms its way into one of my top releases of the moment. This is all superbly presented in a gorgeous gatefold clear vinyl edition of only 500 with a textured A2 poster of the album artwork. Get this little gem while you can!

JLM

[Sophia] / [Cyclic Law]

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