Sheer Terror Love Songs for the Unloved Blackout/MCA
I bought in the summer of 2000. I was in Hastings and I found this cassette in the dollar bin. It was produced by Tommy Victor and I’ve always loved Prong, so why not? I could spare a dollar.
This was my first and only foray into the land of Sheer Terror. I had heard their name before and I knew that they made some noise in the NYC hardcore scene, but I didn’t hold Sheer Terror in any sort of reverence. I was just trying something new.
I have very mixed feelings about this album. To be polite, half of this album is utterly forgettable, mid-paced hardcore played by a band that missed the crossover boat. I had heard this before and didn’t care for it too much the first time around. However, there were some interesting things going on in the other songs.
“Jimmy’s High Life” is a mosh-a-thon comparable to Lamb of God, as is “Broken”. Both songs possess a guitar swagger that serves as convincing evidence that Sheer Terror are a direct influence on Scissorfight. “Drunk, Divorced, and Downhill Fast” is the sort of pure hardcore song that this entire record should have sounded like. That being said, Paul Bearer sounds best when he varies his vocal delivery.
It’s almost as if “Love Songs for the Unloved” is an album divided into thirds. One third is the forgettable hardcore and another third contains some pretty innovative hardcore songs. The remaining third carries this desire for innovation entirely too far with poor results to show.
“Skinhead Girl” is an awkward, but mildly entertaining attempt to capture the Neurosis/Sepultura tribal vibe. “For Rudy the Kraut” is a ridiculous attempt at making a classic drinking song, complete with a Flogging Molly/Pouges style horn line. Most curious is the “Rock Bottom of the Kitchen Floor”. With this song, Sheer Terror are either making fun of Life of Agony or poorly impersonating one of Life of Agony’s singles “This Time”. Life of Agony once said that they used to get no respect in the NYC hardcore scene, so I’ll give Sheer Terror the benefit of the doubt and assume that they were ridiculing Life of Agony.
These songs are indicators that “Love Songs for the Unloved” was an ambitious attempt to create a diverse album. Unfortunately, no one has ever succeeded at being everything to everyone and the record leaves Sheer Terror without much of an identity. Does Sheer Terror want to wave the old school flag? Do they want to be the good time party band? Do they want to represent for the floor punching youth crews? Regardless, the result is a bland album with a few killer tunes. “Love Songs for the Unloved” is just good enough so that I’ve never sold it on eBay, traded it, or gave it away, so I suppose that it’s a testament to Sheer Terror’s mediocrity.
Here's the promo video for "Unbroken" by Sheer Terror.
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