A Challenge of Honour vs. Praetorio – Hadrian’s Wall

This split 10” contains two new tracks by well-known Dutch act ACOH, as well as two tracks by newcomer Praetorio. When first listening to this piece of vinyl (which comes in a very nice cover) it struck me that the two projects sound quite a like. Both create bombastic neo-classical synth-based music, with heavy percussion, which wouldn’t do bad as a fantasy movie soundtrack.

This immediately leads me to my main point of criticism regarding the two tracks by ACOH: The music is nice and sounds far from amateurish, but I cannot find myself to listen to it and get excited. In fact, I find myself reading a book or doing some studying until the cracking of the needle warns me that the record ended.. Both ACOH tracks are more or less build out of one basic melody and lack climax or variety. It’s epic background music but just doesn’t challenge the listener (at least not me).

Although the two Praetorio tracks sound similar, I’m positively surprised nonetheless. The basis ingredients are the same, but there’s more.. I like the loud synths coming in at certain points (they sound a bit 80’s, even), and the fact that there’s variety in volume. Praetorio really creates some tension with changes in dynamics and loudness. Valens Hadriani part 1 definitely is a fine piece of neo-classical which keeps the listener focused, I really enjoyed this track. The second Praetorio track is more tranquil, and serves well as an outro to this release.
In conclusion; although a solid release, I have to say I wasn’t moved by the ACOH tracks, but was positively surprised by Praetorio.

artist: Challenge of Honour, A
label: Vrihaspati Recordings
details: vinyl 10" EP 2005