Scorn “Vae Solis” (1992)

Napalm Death, aside from creating the grind genre, are also noteworthy for having spawned several important solo projects. The original members fanned out on their own, creating unique aural spaces to ply their extreme trade. Mick Harris’ contribution to this abundant output was Scorn, a project that retained a harsh grind ambiance before jettisoning the violence in favor of haunting dub soundscapes.

“Vae Solis” kicked things off, a brutal hammering attack out of the Killing Joke playbook with Harris’s pounding industrial grade beats, buzzsaw guitars sharp enough to cut steel (courtesy Justin Broadrick), and Nick Bullen’s pulsating bass and nauseatingly lethargic vocals. The only thing that could make this album any sicker would be blastbeats and squawking free range saxophone- for that, see Painkiller, Mick Harris’s delightfully painful collaboration with John Zorn and Bill Laswell.

“Vae Solis” is noisy and repetitious in a classic industrial mode, but retains a pop catchiness, a certain punk groove that makes it almost seem musical. There are moments of near silence scattered like detritus across the album’s total war wasteland, dark ambient moments of near horror garnished with creepy samples. As the album progresses, the beats become more danceable. “On Ice” is as catchy as anything composed by Ministry, warmed over with a programmed synth line straight out of New Wave.

The album hints at a Napalm Death that might have been if the band had abandoned political anger for aggressive introspection and sordid atmospherics. It’s ugly, like a bloated corpse in a filthy public restroom, but it’s absolutely hypnotic, deliriously sick and twisted, and in its own grimy way, a gem.

-James Slone


Release:  1992
Label:  Earache
Avantgenre:  Grind House
Duration:  1:15
Origin:  United Kingdom
Official site:
Review online since:  10.11.2007 / 05:05:08


01 – Spasm
02 – Suck And Eat You
03 – Hit
04 – Walls Of My Heart
05 – Lick Forever Dog
06 – Thoughts Of Escape
07 – Deep In – Eaten Over And Over
08 – On Ice
09 – Heavy Blood
10 – Scum After Death (dub)
11 – Fleshpile
12 – Orgy Of Holiness
13 – Still Life

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