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Vae Solis

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Album Review

Mick Harris' first album with Nick Bullen as Scorn produced a debut that was perfectly appropriate for its label home on Earache. Perhaps an oversimplification, but Vae Solis is notable for partially being a last working out of Harris' death/thrash jones in a slightly more conventional sense — not entirely a throwback, but certainly one with its moments. Here, Bullen's roaring vocals have an obvious kinship with Justin Broadrick's snarls from Godflesh (all the more fitting since Broadrick contributes guitars to the album); the sense of ambient space that would grow stronger and stronger here turns up mostly as occasional dropouts in the mix or slabs of echo and reverb slathered over the words. One notable exception is "Deep In — Eaten Over and Over," with a truly funereal pace and a suffused sense of dread and murk. Comparisons at the time to the early groan and doom efforts of Swans, for instance, were well considered. Scorn's obsessive focus on structure and pounding drumbeats also suggests another close parallel — Robert Hampson, similarly shifting gears in the early '90s from Loop's rampages to Main's rhythm-is-rhythm portraits. Clattering extra percussion samples herald "Walls of My Heart" and crop up in "On Ice"; at the same time, there are quicker thrash moments like the start of "Hit," which — while hardly Napalm Death hyperspeed — still show a lingering connection to older approaches. Song titles convey the basic thematic obsessions — again, not all that far removed from Godflesh: "Suck and Eat You," "Thoughts of Escape," "Scum After Death." Then there's what was a single from the album, though "Lick Forever Dog" probably wasn't going to trip off the tongues of many DJs. Still, it's one of the better songs, Bullen's vocals more direct and less treated over a pretty good death-march herky-jerky arrangement.

Customer Reviews

Mind Crushing....

It's the morning after Christmas, 3052... You look out your kitchen window while EBE's are dropping massive DMT crystals from Alpha Draconis. The hair stands up on the back of your neck as you realize one of these creatures is behind you. You turn around, and BAM! An infinite, ever-changing elf beckons you to follow him into the galactic abyss. You twist and weave around impossible colors, propelling yourself forward into oblivion, all the while you have a huge smile on your robot face, cuz you know you will never have to go back to the physical plane... 2 minutes later, you wake up and jump out of bed to turn off this album. What a F****!!! ride!


Born: 1991

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Closely allied with post-industrial dub terrorists such as Bill Laswell, Techno Animal, James Plotkin, Robert Musso, and Anton Fier, Birmingham-based artist Mick Harris is something of a study in extremes. A drummer with noted death metal outfit Napalm Death through the group's late-'80s/early-'90s heyday, Harris began experimenting with monochrome ambient and dub styles toward the tail-end of his association with that group. Releasing material through Earache as Scorn (his ambient dub aegis) and...
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