Vatican Shadow
Iraqi Praetorian Guard


4.0
excellent

Review

by Martin L. USER (44 Reviews)
July 11th, 2012 | 26 replies | 2,557 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: a nightmarish desert of a release that somehow overtakes the invasion of Iraq in terms of its chilling atmosphere and malevolence in the midst of its minimalism

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

At first glance, it wouldn’t be difficult to mistake Blackest Ever Black for a label that is charmingly tongue-in-cheek or poking fun at themselves with an overly-serious demeanor. But “fun” and “charming” aren’t words in BEB’s dictionary. How could they be, when label-starter Todd Burns offers this explanation behind the label’s inception? “[Why?], for the same reasons that anyone ever started something of personal significance: guilt, envy, revenge,” he says (assumably with a stolid, icy stare). Though the recent UK startup has grown to represent more than a few artists and records, Vatican Shadow’s release Iraqi Praetorian Guard is the most paradigmatic of the bunch that I’ve heard. The industrial synth project is enigmatic and sure to induce anxiety, leaving listeners equal parts impressed and disturbed. Influenced heavily by older industrial and created through a modern techno lens, Praetorian Guard is a feat made all the more impressive with its minimal tonal and sonic palette.

Dominick Fernow may have been wholly inspired by America’s invasion of the Middle East; but that seems far too specific for the fluid borders of the minimalist sonic landscapes crafted herein. Either way, the sound of Iraqi Praetorian Guard is decidedly evil-- a more perfect term does not apply. From track to track Fernow crafts textural deserts, like the middle bulk of “Gunmen With Silencer,” that haunt listeners with moody, fading synth and a drudging, percussive background. The artist has mentioned that, alongside the obvious influence of 80’s industrial, he’s been very influenced by doom. It shows. Still, the true deftness of Iraqi Praetorian Guard is in its potency.


For instance, “Church Of All Images,” the B-Side and remix by Regis is the absolute epitome of the record; beginning with overlapping tribal percussion and bizarre gurgling. The concoction slowly builds to an anxious crescendo and sizzles away in every direction when the synths boil over the top. Sinister and riveting, Praetorian Guard achieves an impressive amount of weight and persona through minimal textures and shades; though it’s only an EP’s worth of material, it makes its mark in my mind as one of 2012’s most complete and finished listens, leaving no room for question or doubt.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ThroneOfAgony
July 11th 2012



3485 Comments


gota check this

carouse
July 11th 2012



300 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You should, it's very good. Oddly it's much more accessible than you would think, as well.

Grimlin
July 11th 2012



833 Comments


fyi, the first two tracks were originally released on the Byzantine Private CIA tape from 2010, and the last is a remixed (obviously) track from the Kneel Before Religious Icons release from last year, for what it's worth.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 11th 2012



18024 Comments


gotta check

Digging: Autechre - Draft 7.30

tarkus
July 11th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gotta check this artist

DeafMetal
July 11th 2012



8584 Comments


one of the most consistently good industrial projects despite blatant muslimgauze influence

ZedO
July 11th 2012



1096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

seems interesting...

carouse
July 12th 2012



300 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it was one of your lists that had me interested in it, RiffOClock, thanks!

rasputin
July 12th 2012



14516 Comments


'one of the most consistently good industrial projects despite blatant muslimgauze influence'

why despite? you make it sound like a bad thing. VS is muslimgaze

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2012



2714 Comments


As I said on a deaf list, I could never really get into this. Then again it isn't really my kind of thing. Really happy to see a review of it though - the album is at least interesting whichever way you view it.

DeafMetal
July 12th 2012



8584 Comments


"why despite? you make it sound like a bad thing. VS is muslimgaze"


not a bad thing rasp, my comment was poorly worded -- all i meant is that i've heard people bag on this project BECAUSE it sounds so much like bryn jones, deals with similar themes, etc. i love muslimgauze also and it's not a bad thing at all

rasputin
July 12th 2012



14516 Comments


ah right

yeah I'm sure VS isn't all that original but it's pretty enjoyable all the same

DeafMetal
July 12th 2012



8584 Comments


ok i won't

tarkus
July 12th 2012



5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cant even see ur boobs

DeafMetal
July 12th 2012



8584 Comments


hahahah u funny

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 12th 2012



10585 Comments


jesus

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 12th 2012



10585 Comments


yeah will be up in 5 min just 4 u riff

Xenophanes
Emeritus
July 12th 2012



10585 Comments


No that's not how. I'd rather not go into the sordid details

BallsToTheWall
July 12th 2012



44164 Comments


Great review.

ThroneOfAgony
July 12th 2012



3485 Comments


In my opinion this album is unpredictable . At first glance, I pictured it being spastic harsh power electronics material, but when i listened to it, it was surprisingly smooth and nowhere near as aggressive as I thought.



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