Reviews

Hot Press - Scheer

Scheer (Students’ Bar, University College Dublin)

Make no mistake about it. Scheer are brilliant. Confronted with a slightly restrained student audience tonight they still managed to electrify the air with their presence. Besides, in lead singer Audrey they have an engaging and compelling front person who is refreshingly free of the stultifying self-consciousness of cool. This is a warm-up gig of new material before the intrepid five-piece are flown off to the ‘States for some low-key showcases in New York. The best of the new songs is ‘You Said’. It’s that little bit faster and punkier than the rest of the set. ‘Sad Loved Girl’ also sounded intriguing. While ‘Screaming’ breached the boundaries I’d like to see Scheer violate with greater frequency.

They should up the rhythm and lead guitars and trash them around more. More shuffle and noise of a lighter but faster variety would coincide and complement Audrey’s vocal prowess better and suitably up the ante methinks. Nevertheless, Scheer are always tight and intensely credible.

The highlight is, naturally, ‘Don’t Know Why’ which features the perfect marriage of the band’s inclination to play the heavies and Audrey’s desire to rev things up with more vigour and libido. It’s as if Audrey’s natural energy and (im)pulse challenges the rest of the band to follow suit. The result, without exaggeration, is a song deserving of immortality!

Certain musical styles have already had their day. Scheer should be wary of this. However, I know in my heart and soul that if they obey their own central nervous systems more and push their music a little further in a very short time they’ll be unsurpassable. Already they’re prodigious but now is the time to become unique, which is even better.

Patrick Brennan

 

Scheer "Infliction"  June 15 1996

Whimsy paired with understatement--this is one way of viewing the half-troubled, half-wispy vocals of Audrey Gallagher merging into the raw electricity of Scheer, the new, captivating, nebulous musical experience, perhaps defined by some as rock for the sake of rock--but is it really?

4AD Records, despite the signing of bands like Tarnation and the loss of Red House Painters, has never raised quite as many eyebrows as when they recently signed this not-so-shoegazing Irish rock band. The event has been seen by many 4AD fans as, at best, quite a change in the way the label does business. But it is illogical for fans to say that 4AD is really rocking the boat by signing a band specializing in such straightforward harshness--they've done it multiple times before (Pixies, Unrest/Air Miami, and more). The band asserts, however, that there is nothing aesthetically flawed about pure rock. If comparisons are to be made, Scheer is less eccentric, more user-friendly than their fellow harder label-mates.

The bottom line is that Scheer are a glittering, beautifully rough act in concert, but are standard rock stars on record. Having seen them on the St. Louis date of Shaving the Pavement (the recent 4AD festival tour), it is apparent that although Infliction is catchy, energetic, and a good listen, it is easier to listen to without a yawn after such an impressive performance (the album was completely uninteresting to me before the show). In fact, 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell felt the same way after seeing the band perform, saying that he was unsure about the band until that point, but something just "clicked" at the show. Whether it was difficulty in the studio or bad planning that flawed the final product, Scheer unfortunately presents themselves on their album as neither terribly boring nor incredibly interesting.

Standout tracks include "Shea", "Wish You Were Dead", "Demon", "Screaming", "Goodbye". Vague pieces of familiar 4AD themes can be heard on such tracks by imaginative souls after several listens. Yet this a difficult task, because the band succeeds at avoiding displaying influences from other bands, just as they had hoped. But for fun, this reviewer must take a stab at pegging them, as the rest of the music press already has. In a certain mood, Scheer could possibly be compared, as an unidentified reviewer proposed, to a "turbocharged Sundays." However, what they really are is best left to the listener to decide.

Lee Graham Bridges

 

Drop-D: A Reappraisal of a Forgotten Irish Band - Dec. 6 2006

If Scheer had been a landscape they would have been an icy tundra on a beautiful clear night " the kind of night where the sky is crowded with diamond stars shining like inspiration but the ground is dense with shadows that whisper of witchcraft and black magic. An insidious darkness permeates their music wading under the sound with the gritty metal of the band and soaring high over it with Audrey Gallagher's ghostly vocals.

However, Scheer lived a life and died a death that has become all too familiar to Irish bands. Originally formed in 1990 in Derry, the band's infancy lasted three years before they developed the confidence and courage to start playing regular gigs. The vivacity and edginess of their performances not only blew audience after audience away, but attracted the attention of Son, a small independent Irish label, with whom the band went through it's adolescence. Their time with the label saw the release of the four-track Psychobabble and the single Wish You Were Dead: the single by which most people still remember the quintet.

Things really kicked off for Scheer when they were asked to sign to 4AD, an unlikely alliance which would eventually be indirectly responsible for the downfall of the band so close to hitting the top. At the top of their game, Scheer played across the world with bands like Korn, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bush, Placebo, Throwing Muses, Ash and the Jesus and Mary Chain, and even had an interview televised in Russia to an audience of 100 million.

Perhaps most memorably" Scheer's involvement with 4AD led to the release of an astounding debut album" Infliction. As Joe Bates "drummer" said almost 10 years ago: "When you're listening to music and it's really fucking good and it's really pushing all the buttons and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. If we could do that"" Well that is exactly what Scheer did with Infliction. The dying echoes of prog-rock and metal inherent in the crashing rhythm guitars" intricate lead work rising often to squeals and pounding drums never once overshadow the exquisite melodies and soaring soprano voice. From the immensity of tracks like openers Shéa and Howling Boy to the painful minimalism of Babysize and Goodbye, Scheer proved themselves masters of the control of technique and sound, matching word with music in an album of subtle but haunting imagery. Mention this album in any forum and response is always immediate and enthusiastic.

Unfortunately, this would prove to be as high as Scheer could fly. As the band approached premature old age" relations with 4AD became increasingly strained and uneasy" "due"" according to 4AD" "to the fact that Scheer were an unabashed heavy metal group " not exactly a typical 4AD genre" " a statement which proves in itself how the "indie" label misunderstood the Derry band. Scheer left 4AD in August 1998 in order to start their own record label" Schism Records. However, the damage had already been done, and the fivesome disbanded not long after" releasing" posthumously as it were" the aptly titled …And Finally in 2000: the final headstone on the grave of one of our most promising acts of the last decade.

Anna Murray

 

[review4]

[CDBaby.com "And Finally"

"Tunefully abrasive & abrasively tuneful... great hooks, big searing guitars and sweet vocals... one of the finest Irish bands of the last decade."

"...another chance to salivate all over Neal Calderwood's searing guitars & Audrey Gallagher's sweet vocals...this woman has a fabulous voice...a welcome treat from one of the finest Irish bands of the last decade..." -HOT PRESS (UK)

In 1995-96 Scheer released 3 EPs and their widely acclaimed album 'Infliction' for the 4AD label, while touring extensively through Europe, Canada and the US. The album and touring built a following that lobbied tirelessly for the release of this session once 4AD dropped it from their schedule.

The new release, appropriately titled '... and Finally' , was recorded at Rockfield Studios (Ash, Stone Roses, Pink Floyd) with producer Cliff Norrell (Henry Rollins, REM, Madonna). It features the lineup that remained constant through the band's history: Neal Calderwood and Paddy Leyden on scorching guitars, Peter Fleming on bass, Joe Bates on drums and honey-voiced Audrey Gallagher providing a delicious counterpoint to all the noise.

'...an impressively consistent record...both tunefully abrasive & abrasively tuneful at the same time...this album casts a quick glance back to see just what might have been' -BBM]

 

[review5]

[Rock And Roll Casino.com "And Finally"

Just as the cliché states, it's often times better to get something late than to never get it at all. That's the case with And Finally, the second, and final, full-length record from the now defunct band Scheer, which originally hailed from Northern Ireland. Sad as it is for those who were fans of Scheer, the band decided to call it quits after recording their second full album. In fact, we should consider ourselves lucky that Schism Records maintained the distribution rights from indie-legend 4AD… if it hadn't, we might never have had the chance to hear the band's final exit.

While Scheer has been labelled in various music media bios as being an "alternative metal" group, their sounds veer from mainstream metal acts that have now found their way into the mainstream music stream. Unlike pop-oriented metal acts like Kid Rock and Korn, Scheer's sound was blistering, distinctively unique in strength and complex when it came to song arrangement.

Formed in 1993, Scheer originally found a home at a small Irish label before landing a deal with 4AD. Once among the other 4AD outfits, followed its initial Psychobabble EP with the Schism EP, which was released in 1995. In the following year, the group launched Infliction, its first full-length release. Based on the strength of two singles, Wish You Were Dead in particular, Infliction gained the band notable recognition and a small cult following. Strongly characterized by the shimmering and cutting vocals of Audrey Gallagher and the metallic guitars of her brother Neal, Scheer seemed to be poised for bigger things.

The band got to work on their next release in 1997, but its release got stalled for the past few years because of a contractual disagreement with 4AD. Now, after the wait is over, And Finally caps the band's brief but evocative history. The group's second (and almost-lost) full-length release picks up right where Infliction left off. The disc's opening "Deadly Serious" features a quick assault of cosmic guitars and riveting drums which both wrap themselves around the distinctive voice of Audrey Gallagher.

"First Contact" follows with a dreamy sense of power pop, while "Face the Sun" slows the beat down with a sense of eerie foreboding. "6am" sounds as if it could have been taken from the band's first full-length record, as it drives with power chords, quick drumbeats and tightness within the band despite the quick changes in tempo and rhythm.

Later tracks fluctuate between being quick and driving and sounding more apt for shoegazing. Some tracks have a bit of both in them, such as "Secrets and Lies," which is one of the more traditional-sounding songs, given its verse-chorus-verse layout. "Say the Word" closes the record out with a minimalistic drum track sprinkled with sparse guitar chords and subdued vocals… almost as if the band didn't want the ride to end.]

 

[review6]

[Melody Maker - 5/25/96, p.50

Recommended - "...a murderously affecting album....Complex, heartrending and deeply thrilling, it is utterly superb..."]

 

[review7]

[New Musical Express - 5/25/96, p.54

7 (out of 10) - "...marinated in melancholia....Audrey Gallagher's heavenly Björk-a-like voice lights up the album like a signal flare....INFLICTION is a marvelous study in light and shade,...[it] cuts to the bone and gives you a Band Aid..."]

 

[review8]

[Option - 9/10/96, p.128

"...The secret here is in the combination of vocal and instrumentals: no matter how hard, furious and ugly a racket the band manages to generate...lead singer Audrey Gallagher's clear, lilting soprano, always pushed cleanly to the front of the mix, pulls things together..."]

 

[review4]

[Alternative Press - 10/96, p.103

3 (out of 5) - "...manages to graft Talulah Gosh's head onto Skunk Anansie's body in an implausible Frankenstein experiment....A curious hybrid beast..."]

 

[review5]

[Scheer
Infliction
(4AD)

Inflict Me With Your Artwork

Okay, so even if the gruesome, stitched up, bunched up, pocky-looking flesh on the cover leaves something to be desired - like maybe a big fat bandage to cover it up - the music inside's not bad. Vocally, singer Audrey Gallagher manages a Sundays-Juliana Hatfield-Björkesque sound. Combine that with music that is guitar-driven, heavy and melodic, and it becomes clear why the term "pop metal" has been bandied about so much when talking about this band.

Produced by Head (PJ Harvey's "Dry") and mixed by Spike.

Drake (Pet Shop Boys, New Order) the tracks on Infliction range from hard-driving, thrusting numbers like "Shéa," "Howling Boy" and "Wish You Were Dead," to slower, flowing tunes like "Sad Loved Girl", "Goodbye" and the remarkably Sundays-ish "Babysize." And, as seems to be the fashion these days, there is even an eleventh "secret" track - a stripped down "Demon" that makes for an interesting contrast to the earlier metalized version.

Apparently the band members have described their sound as "Pantera in bedroom slippers." As for me? I'd say they're more like White Zombie in a silk robe.

by: Miss Molly

 

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