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Unmensch > Scorn > Reviews > Edmund Sackbauer
Unmensch - Scorn

Unmensch - Scorn - 86%

Edmund Sackbauer, September 7th, 2023
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Immortal Frost Productions (Limited edition)

The 90s are calling once again, this time with the voice of the Belgian solo project Unmensch. Mastermind ZR takes up the cry and carries the flame on in a very traditional way. With relatively clear production, fast riffs and melodic undertone Unmensch scream their hearts out on eight (partly lengthy) songs. From the atmospheric beginning of the opening track ”'Let The World Drown” to the machine gun salvos as well as the direct and Marduk like guitar attacks on “Storm Breaks Loose” to the playful instrumental outro with ringing church bells, you get pretty much exactly what you expect from Unmensch - traditional (Scandinavian/Swedish) melodic black metal. So if you don't like Dark Funeral, the middle phase of Marduk or Lord Belial, you are basically wrong with "Scorn". Even as a die-hard black metal fan you have to ask yourself, if you really need an album, which essentially does nothing else than those bands, which were active in the genre about 20-30 years ago. In case you are able to ignore this fact you get a surprisingly well done and great sounding platter of melodic blackened goodness.

To simply dismiss "Scorn" like that would not do enough justice to the strong moments and passages of the album and there is a chance you are missing out. There are the distorted and aggressive sounding vocals in combination with sawing guitars on “Conquered By Sin” or the atmospheric stomping on “The Path”, where the guitar sounds simply carry you away and animate you to headbang. Also the driving “Wolf” is fun, because the production - as already mentioned - is clear, but still heavy enough, so that the power and force of such a melodic track is well expressed. There might be critics calling the sound a tad too synthetic and modern, but overall the music comes across very dynamic. Fitting in many cases are also the lyrics, which essentially take up classic black metal themes, but work off independently.

ZR does everything - except for the drumming I think - on his own, and he has done well. The eight songs that appear on "Scorn," which is released via Immortal Frost production, show a lot of great harmonies, soloing, blasts but also groovier sections. The bulk of the songs are all about aggression, speed and fiery tremolo riffs over which fierce vocals spew their heartburn, although at the end of opener "Let the world drown," there is also room for a piano song and violin string. "Storm Breaks Loose" also contains very subtle classical elements while the aforementioned "Wolf" has slightly symphonic touches. In the lingering sections of "Conquered by sin," choral chants add a sacred touch. Fortunately, ZR pays attention to such elements because otherwise saturation would soon peek out from behind the corner.

It's not that you necessarily need "Scorn", but if you look at the album from the technical and songwriting skills, it must be said that this disc is one of the better ones when it comes to tributes to the origins of melodic black metal of the 90s. A little more of his own personality would be welcome on a future release, for now the influences are sometimes just a little too apparent. Nevertheless, "Scorn" is a good first release with some room for improvement, but there is no doubt that ZR has a lot of potential.