Despite the fact that this was a project of one time Napalm Death members
Mick Harris and Nick Bullen (the latter was eventually booted out, so at the
end it became Harris' solo endeavor), Scorn was best known for the
experimentations with dub, techno, ambient and other electronic styles. "Vae
Solis" is one of Scorn's earliest discs, which saw the light of day in 1992.
Back then the duo still clung to some of their metal roots. Not Napalm
Death, mind you, but more along the industrial line of, say, Godflesh.
Actually the first half of this album sounds A LOT like Godflesh, but what
the hell else would you expect when you recruit Justin Broadrick as a session
guitar player? Basically, the first six songs on "Vae Solis" are monolithic
chunks of death-industrial metal in the vein of "Streetcleaner" and "Pure,"
elevated by Broadrick's trademark, dense guitar noise and Bullen's haunting
vocals. But then starting with the track number seven Scorn begin a foray
into the more psychedelic and textural realms. "On Ice" sounds like a
fusion of Godflesh with early Autechre. "Still Life" and "Orgy of Holiness"
are eerie, essentially ambient pieces with an industrial edge. And on the
remaining tracks such as "Deep In-Eaten Over and Over," "Heavy Blood," "Scum
After Death" and "Fleshpile" the guitars are largely stripped out and
eventually reduced to shreds of atmospheric distortion (something Godflesh
did later on with their "Love And Hate In Dub" album), while Harris'
percussion and sampling, and Bullen's dubby bass do most of the talking,
creating dark industrial soundscapes for our post-modern existence.
A few years down the road Scorn purged most of its industrial shtick in favor
of the more genuine dub and ambient experimentations, but in case you are
interested in what it used to be in the beginning, you know where to look.
© 2001 boris