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About Sheer Terror
Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, Sheer Terror were one of the linchpin bands of the New York hardcore and crossover scenes, preaching electric sermons of violent camaraderie at those infamous CBGB Sunday hardcore matinees alongside contemporaries such as Agnostic Front and the Cro-Mags. Emerging in the mid-'80s, the band influenced a whole generation of aggro-rockers with their seminal 1989 release Just Can't Hate Enough, which married the caustic bite of punk with the crushing intensity of heavy metal. Lineup changes and shifting musical styles resulted in the band parting ways in 1998, but they re-formed in 2004 for a pair of reunion shows, and went on to release their first studio LP in 18 years, Standing Up for Falling Down, in 2014.
The band first came into existence in December 1984, and the initial lineup of vocalist Paul Bearer, guitarist Alan Blake, bassist Baron "Barry" Misuraca, and drummer Sam "Reid" Lohman found the going pretty tough in such competitive surroundings. Sunday matinee acceptance came naturally, but, elsewhere, Sheer Terror struggled to make their mark, appearing on 1985's One Big Crowd compilation, but only issuing a pair of cassette releases (1986's No Grounds for Pity and 1987's Fall from Grace) before splintering in half. Bearer and Blake eventually decided to carry on, and new members Mark Neuman (bass) and Jason Martin (drums) helped drive them in a more metallic direction, like much of the rest of the NYHC at the time. Contributing a song to 1989's NYHC: Where the Wild Things Are compilation initiated the band's relationship with upstart Blackout! Records, which issued the Live at CBGB 7" later that year, and then licensed Sheer Terror's Just Can't Hate Enough LP from Germany's Starving Missile, the following year. The latter finally helped place Sheer Terror on the major hardcore players' map, but their inexplicable decision to record a cover of the Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" would drive a wedge between the band and many of its original, old-school fans, and convince guitarist Blake that it was time to make his exit. In the event, Neuman took over his duties and a new bassist, Mike "Chickie" Walter (formerly of Ludachrist), stepped into the breach. Several albums (1991's Ugly and Proud, 1992's Thanks fer Nuthin'), grueling tours (of both America and Europe), and membership changes later, Sheer Terror were still struggling to pay the bills, and with the entire NYHC scene considered yesterday's news by the mid-'90s, it was time to put up or shut up. So they dispensed unprecedented attention to the recording of 1994's unusually eclectic Old, New, Borrowed & Blue EP, taping their one and only promo video for the song "Broken," and taking to the road once again to promote it. Their efforts paid off with a deal from major-label MCA, but the so-called "Musical Cemetery of America" succeeded only in undermining what was left of Sheer Terror's grassroots credibility, while utterly failing to cross 1995's Love Songs for the Unloved (co-produced by Prong's Tommy Victor) over to the mainstream. By this point, Neuman and most recent drummer Pat Cronin had also had enough and quit, leaving Bearer to scrape along with a number of stand-ins until finally calling it a day in 1998.
Years passed with no sign of a reconciliation, but then, against all odds and despite lingering animosity, Bearer, Neuman, Chickie, and Cronin actually re-formed Sheer Terror in 2004, with the express mission of playing a pair of reunion gigs at CBGB's and packaging them into the Beaten by the Fists of God documentary. In 2010, Bearer put together a new iteration of the band, and in 2014 Sheer Terror issued their first collection of new material in nearly two decades, the hard-hitting Standing Up for Falling Down. Now operating as a five-piece consisting of Bearer, Johnny Eggz (guitar), Gary Bennett (guitar), Jason Çarter (bass), and Anthony Corallo (drums), the band released the Pall in the Family EP in 2018. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
- New York, NY
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