Praetorian Guard – Ever Bloom Those Flowers of Rome


Praetorian Guard – Ever Bloom Those Flowers of Rome MC Trapdoor Tapes 2015

Praetorian Guard are a group focusing on militant tinged industrial soundscapes, being the collaborative result of Matt Casey and Ben Taylor of Ebola Disco and Andrew McIntosh of Screwtape (but also not sounding nothing like these projects). I have no idea if this is a one off recording collaboration or something more permanent, but ‘Ever Bloom Those Flowers of Rome’ appears to be their only available recording.

With the stormy industrial soundscapes on display, there is a miasmic swirl to the layering of sonic elements and general analog roughness to the sound, thus providing a muted windswept quality. Sustained synth textures and rumbling bass addled distortion provide the backbone, where a semi-buried militant orchestral feel is also apparat, but it is not really a case of there being prominent orchestral elements rather just a feel of this to drones and on sporadic occasion partially buried violins and trumpets (samples or synths? Not sure). In other segments a militant percussive thump gives a greater degree of movement, coupled with sampled choir vocals. Vocals are also featured throughout, taking a variety of guises, including: spoken style but blended low within the mix; pitch shift morphed beyond easy recognition; or agonisingly yelled to match the passages pushes towards slightly more chaotic and overblown territory.

Although the militant industrial atmospheres created do in part hit their intended mark, with the material spanning 2 hours and containing no individual tracks (elongated soundscapes span the entirety of each side of the tape), the overall release is in part ambling and aimless, thus ending up being a bit of a slog to maintain interest and focus for the entire duration. So although this tape suits its purpose in short doses, it is also something I have not listened to in its entirety of a single listening session. Regardless of whether Praetorian Guard are intending to continue as a project, some greater focus and shorter length would no doubt strengthen the end result.


1 thought on “Praetorian Guard – Ever Bloom Those Flowers of Rome

  1. Good review. I agree with it.

    For more information – Ben, Casey and I did a lot of drunken jamming during 2009, most of which was recorded. Edited excerpts from those recordings were released on two cassettes, one I put out and another put together and released by Casey. We played one live gig as Ethic Cleansing and I put out a tape of that set, with the rehearsal material for it. All this material is now online at SoundCloud as Ethic Cleansing.

    This release was Ben’s and he’s added a lot of extra material and filters to it. In fact I’ve only just recently had a proper listen to it as the cassettes I have, have low level dubs. Personally I think it’s great. What Ben’s done is take the recordings from our last jam (where Ben had a little book on Caligula which he was using for lyrics, hence the ancient Roman theme) and used them more as a basis for his own realisation, rather than just excerpt and edit. It’s very much his personal vision, and that’s how I listen to it.

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