Friday, May 13, 2011

No Grounds for Pity

If there ever was a hardcore band that captured hatred in their music the same way Negative Approach did in the early ‘80s, Sheer Terror would probably be that band. Along with fellow tough guys Breakdown, these urban rednecks stood against the rising tide of posi-core douchebaggery in the late ‘80s NYHC scene. Somebody had to, after all. Sheer Terror weathered that storm and became a NYHC institution in the process. To some degree, every hatecore or tough-guy hardcore band owes them a debt of gratitude.

I remember when the new milennium hardcore kids dropped loads in their Jncos over Blood for Blood—who were, of course, heavily influenced by Sheer Terror. Eh, whatever. Maybe I’ve got the wrong impression, but I always felt that Blood for Blood tried too hard to let everyone know what ultra-negative white trash losers they were. Their hatred seemed so exaggerated that it actually came off more comical than legitimate. Sheer Terror vocalist Paul Bearer didn’t need a gimmick when he lived the existence he wrote about in his lyrics. If you go by appearances, Paul was the construction worker who walked into a hardcore show after putting down a few cold ones at the local tavern. After he liked what he saw, he decided to sing about how shitty his life was too. No way could some clean-cut youth crew pipsqueak relate to that vibe.

Released in Europe shortly after debuting on MCA with
Love Songs for the Unloved, No Grounds for Pity compiles Sheer Terror demos recorded between 1985 and 1988. It’s hard to argue with people who say that this is their best work. These demos find Sheer Terror’s blue-collar hardcore at its most raw and guttural, with a LOT of Celtic Frost in the overall sound. Hell, you’d almost swear that their guitarist broke into Tom G. Warrior’s house and made off with his gear.

A year after recording “Twisting and Turning,” Sheer Terror went back into the studio and issued their classic
Just Can’t Hate Enough LP, but that’s a story for another time. Listen to the first chapter here.

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