|(Artwork from the 2014 Remaster, Hammerheart Records)|
It's position in the grand scheme of things aside for the moment, an equally interesting topic are Scorn Defeat's musical merits in their own right. The record is compositionally fascinating - more inaccessible than some black-metal records, but likewise at times more rewarding to listen to - both confirming and violating expectations subtly, emphasizing the works uniqueness. It's an album which doesn't rely on intensity, speed or being a wall-of-sound to be powerful, instead striding forward with a quirky mid-tempo gate. Swaggering and slithering riffs bolstered by the extensive but non-sugar-coated synth give the album a reeling, supernatural and funereal feel, a tangibly eastern sense of evil meeting with black-metal sensibilities, executed with better musicianship than a lot of their peers. At its best, the atmosphere is engulfing and impressively executed with the accustomed "minimalist extravagance" of black-metal, giving the record an at times crude but constantly vast and impression-making atmosphere of tangled dread, fear and evil, entwined with beauty. Constantly, the spirit of innovation and avant-garde musicianship shines through in the record, setting it apart immediately, and to this day. It is a record which has to be heard to be understood, for it is, once again, a tough record to explain in words - so often the way with records which are islands; who can it be compared to?
Some of the most fondly remembered classics are records which unapologetically blazed their own trail, and Scorn Defeat is certainly such. Combining the emerging black-metal traditions with innovative and unique sounds, the record is one which stands as an outsider among outsiders - it's all the more a fascinating album for it, and one which I would urge everyone with an interest in classic black-metal to explore.
This is a 9/10.
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