That double disc re-issue of Evanescence/Ellipsis that Earache out out at the end of '09 compelled me to dig up the rest of Scorn's Earache output so I could get them in the bins here at C-Blast; the earlier, heavier Scorn stuff is some of my favorite music from Mick Harris's long-running industrial dub project, and we've had a lot of our customers asking about the hard-to-find Scorn stuff ever since the reissue set was listed. Much of Scorn's early 90's catalog is out-of-print now, but I was able to get several of their albums, including the amazing Colossus, the Deliverance reissue, a few copies of the rare Gyral album, and the debut album Vae Solis, which has seemed to have slipped into obscurity in recent years. I hardly ever hear anyone talk about this particular album, which is surprising seeing as how it not only features the entire lineup of Napalm Death's a-side of Scum (Nic Bullen, Mick Harris, Justin Broadrick), but is also a crushing slab of post-Godflesh industrial dub metal that newer fans of Godflesh, Swans and Pitch Shifter should be going apeshit over. The rest of these albums are equally rad, if you're into this kind of dark, doom-laden industrial dub/trip-hop; along with Painkiller/Bill Laswell, Techno Animal and Ice, Scorn was one of the most fearsome practitioners of post-industrial dub in the 90's, fusing grim electronic ambience with dub-heavy break beats and spacey effects. All of these discs are big favorites of mine.
Scorn is mostly know for the dark, apocalyptic industrial-dub that Mick Harris and Nik Bullen pioneered with albums like Evanescence and Colossus, but when they first started out, they were an entirely different sounding band, a crushing mix of industrial thrash and sprawling, rumbling death-dub ambience that also featured none other than Justin Broadrick on guitar. Yep, on 1992's Vae Solis, Scorn was made up of Nik Bullen, Mick Harriss, and Justin Broadrick, the complete lineup on Napalm Death on the a-side of Scum! No grindcore here, though; the band used samplers and programmed beats along with massive bass and Broadrick's howling riffs to forge driving industrial dirges that combined the propulsive mechanistic crush of early Godflesh with more rocking tempos, pounding hip-hop/dub breaks, and long stretches of bleak industrial ambience. Harris's vocals alternate between the narcotized moan of later Scorn albums and a deep roar that evokes the Godflesh sound even further. The massive grinding riffs fall away in spots, revealing huge fields of reverb-soaked drone and rumble, and at other points the band slips into a slow, grueling dirge that sounds more like early Swans than anything. One of the album's most intense tracks is the crawling abject horror of "Deep In - Eaten Over and Over" , an 8+ minute sprawl of slow-motion industrial doom and looped vocals and thick layers of samples and effects that creates a suffocating feeling of dread. That's followed by the hypnosis of "On Ice", another epic track that shifts into a brooding synth-heavy industrial dub dirge of ominous bass lines, druggy vocals, sampled percussion, looped samples from The Wicker Man, and keening feedback guitar, a foreshadowing of the direction Scorn would take after this album. Compared to other earlier Earache albums, Vae Solis has become one of the more obscure titles, but this is ripe for rediscovery by fans of that UK industrial/dub/metal sound, Godflesh, Pitch Shifter, God, Ice, etc. The CD version of the album features four tracks that weren't on the original vinyl version: the slithering endtime mecha-dub of "Scum After Death (dub)", a Godflesh-esque dirge called "Fleshpile (edit)", the sinister soundtracky dronescape of "Orgy of Holiness" littered with gongs, choral effects and piano, and the robotic ethno-drone of "Still Life" that feels more like one of Harris's isolationist works under the Lull moniker. Recommended!