Mick Harris and Nicholas Bullen formed Scorn in 1991; Harris had just left Napalm Death, while founding member Bullen departed much earlier, in 1986. Both were disinterested in the more death metal-influenced direction their former band was going in, and wanted to pursue something more experimental. Scorn signed to Napalm Death's longtime home Earache and released Vae Solis in 1992. Justin Broadrick, another former Napalm bandmate who had begun exploring similar electronic terrain as part of the duo Techno Animal, played guitar on the record, while Pat McCahan temporary became the group's live guitarist. The much more abstract Deliverance EP soon followed, emphasizing the group's dub influences, and 1993's Colossus included dark ambient tracks. The 1994 full-length Evanescence, featuring guitar and guitar synth by James Plotkin (who also performed live with the band), was a critical success and helped establish Scorn's reputation as more than just a side project of a well-known metal band, but a genre unto itself. 1995 remix album Ellipsis included contributions from Scanner, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Autechre, gaining Scorn additional credibility among fans of experimental techno. Gyral, Scorn's first album without Bullen, also appeared in 1995.
By 1996, Scorn's sound was minimalist and dubby, resembling the then-emerging illbient sound rather than industrial or metal, and the project parted ways with Earache following 1996's Logghi Barogghi. Zander and Whine both appeared on KK Records in 1997, but Harris decided to end the project in order to part ways with the label. Under his own name, he released collaborations with musicians like Eraldo Bernocchi and Nigel Ayers. He also released an album for illbient label WordSound, What Do You Know About It, under the pseudonym the Weakener in 1998, and kept active with ongoing projects such as Quoit and Lull. Additionally, a Scorn rarities compilation titled Anamnesis was issued by Invisible in 1999. Scorn made its proper return in 2000, signing to German label Hymen Records and releasing the Imaginaria Award EP and Greetings from Birmingham full-length. Harris left the label following 2002's Plan B album and Governor EP. List of Takers, a live jam recorded for broadcast by Breaks FM, was released as a limited CD by Polish label Vivo in 2004.
By 2007, dubstep had taken over the most forward-thinking underground clubs in the U.K., and Scorn's sound, already consisting of slow, minimalist beats and heavy bass, easily adapted to the nascent style. Full-length Stealth was released by Ad Noiseam, and singles appeared on additional labels like Combat Recordings and Record Label Records. Scorn signed to Ohm Resistance for 2010's Refuse; Start Fires, which featured drummer Yan Treasey, but after 2011 EP Yozza, Harris decided to discontinue Scorn and take a break from music.
He returned in 2017, when Over Depth, the debut from his long-dormant techno project Fret, was released by Karlrecords. Following a few more Fret releases, including two EPs on L.I.E.S., Scorn returned in 2019, re-signing with Ohm Resistance and releasing the Feather EP in anticipation of Café Mor, the project's first full-length in nine years. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi
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