Scorn "Vae Solis" CDPosted on Friday, March 20th, 2009 @ 7:03 am » permalink
Legendary former Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris formed Scorn in the early-90's with original Napalm Death bassist/vocalist Nic Bullen, but to be honest with you I've never really explored much of Scorn's work because what I heard first came from the band's later, more experimental years (which I wasn't quite prepared for at the time), so I'm disappointed that no one has ever recommended their debut full-length, "Vae Solis", to me before. Having pulled out some old Optimum Wound Profile and Pitchshifter in recent weeks, subsequent reading online brought up mention of Scorn on numerous occasions, so I decided to check out what was available on eMusic, and this album really struck me right off the bat. Released in 1992 on Earache Records, "Vae Solis" works from much more of an industrial metal base, unloading 75 minutes that fuse live and programmed drums with pulsing basslines, gritty electronic textures and samples, and Justin Broadrick's massive, churning guitar work (I believe this is the only Scorn album to which he contributed). In some ways, Broadrick's presence lends this album the aesthetic of a more industrialized Godflesh, but at the same time the material isn't overly driven by a lot of what comes to mind when the term "industrial" is involved. On some level it's quite comparable to what other Earache artists such as Godflesh, Pitchshifter, and a little later Meathook Seed and Blood From the Soul were doing in the early-90's, though the pedigree of Scorn's lineup certainly plays a role in developing the powerful atmospherics that give this album its own space within these realms of "extreme music". The second half of the album definitely starts to branch out just a bit more – starting with the subdued drones, throbbing bass, and goth-tinged vocal delivery of the eight-minute "On Ice"; and then introducing more of a focus on drawn out instrumentation, grating guitar textures, and samples in tracks like "Fleshpile (Edit)", or the stripped down ambient hums throughout "Orgy of Holiness". I don't know, maybe there are a lot of other people out there like me who weren't aware that Scorn started out so strong, but I definitely feel like this album should've gotten more attention over the years. I would've loved this shit in the early-90's, so it's a damn shame I didn't finally check this out until recently. Better late than never, though!