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Scorn "Vae Solis" CD

Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2009 @ 7:03am » permalink

Scorn - Vae SolisLegendary 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!

Scorn "Spasm"
Scorn "Deep In – Eaten Over and Over" (excerpt)


@ Earache Records (CD)
@ Half.com (CD)
@ eMusic (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)


  1. Someone needs to write a book about the members of Napalm Death, past and present, and all their little projects and offshoots.

    It would be a big fucker though. Possibly a whole series.

  2. snorg says:

    the last album "stealth" is also checkout-worthy, though its a differnt musicbeast altogether. one of the heaviest dubstep releases in recent years…

  3. incarnate says:

    i prefer their later releases, but this is good stuff indeed. check out evanescence (not the band, haha)

  4. Bernardo says:

    Also worth checking out, from the same era, is the record "Possession", by the band God. It also features Broadrick, as well as John Zorn and many others. Do give that one a shot.

  5. mcgillroy says:

    man – I used to spin that first scorn record over and over alongside with incubators 'mcgilroy the housefly' and the fear factory debut back in 93. vae solis is awesome, so deep, so rich and so unique in the realm of metal.

    I also loved evanescence although its nothing like the debut it also is an unsurpassed album and a statement in itself. broadrick was gone by then and soon bullen left. harris never found his form after this. check it out.

    those years between 91and 94 saw some awesome records, labels had cash and put out bands and projects that otherwise never would have seen the light of the day.

  6. Tim says:

    I bought this when I was a kid because it was on Earache and it turned out to be one of my favorite non death metal albums on the label. As a teenage headbanger I always thought the last couple of songs "Heavy Blood," and "On Ice," were fucking amazing because they were so unlike anything I had heard at the time. I own everything through his early 2000 works, when they became difficult to get Stateside. Their second album Colossus was almost completely metal free and it blew my mind how heavy it was anyway. Scorn/Harris deserves more recognition then they/he got.

    You've inspired me to put the CD, I haven't listened to it in too long.

  7. Engrudo says:

    I bought this cd after listening to newer releases and probably enjoyed it a lot more, the dark and oppressive sound, the atmosphere surrounding. People usually refer "Gyral" as his best effort, but overall I find more enjoyable the raw and primitive sound of "Vae Solis".

    pd: it's also interesting his previous work "Lick Forever Dog" (1992), also released on Earache. Weird.

  8. Kluzehellion says:

    I remember when I listened to this renting/taping it from the local library. I didn't like it because it did sound too much industrial to me. And I think around that time I didn't like Godflesh's "streetcleaner" as well because of too much industrial.

    "Gyral" was much more my cup of tea at a time when i was partly also discovering ambient and experimental music. "Ellipsis" was the last Scorn record I had listened to. I remember good and bad things, but Scorn definitely opened my interest into experimental music somehow through the connection of Earache and metal. Earache always had som interesting sidesteps on the metal roster. Which made them stand out.

    Good job.

  9. I'll second the recommendation of Scorn's latest album – dark and abstract dubstep, perfectly produced.

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