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Isolationism was the term used in describing the brooding, post-industrial music of bands like Scorn that was emanating out of England in the early '90s. Not a bad descriptor given the throbbing drum'n'bass lines overlaid by atonal electronic washes and the remote, disaffected vocals and unsettling sampled voices. A duo consisting of Mike Harris and Nicholas James Bullen, Scorn built thick, slab-like layers of sludgy sound, a viscous current kicked along by steady, if plodding, drums. Darkness is decidedly the order of the day. That said, the Harris/Bullen team creates a number of fascinating textures along the way like the ragged, clockwork fabric of "The Sky Is Loaded" or the loopy strains of "White Irises Blind." But in general, there's a kind of sameness enveloping the disc. A tinge of dub here, a smattering of psychedelia there, perhaps, but after five or six tracks, the unremitting heaviness of the drums begins to wear on the listener. And the more varied atmospheric sounds, while enjoyable, cover little ground uninvestigated by, say, Fripp & Eno in "An Index of Metals." Of course, this may be entirely what both Scorn and their fans love and expect, but as a movement isolationism lasted only a few years and, despite its several attractive moments, Colossus might offer a good reason why.

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