Don't PHEAR The Reaper
June 28, 2017, a year ago
Toronto’s Phear are striking back after their 2015 debut Insanitarium with the new digital only EP The Curse Lives On. The EP is highlighted by the cover of the Iron Maiden epic “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, certainly not an easy task! One new track, “Dirty Work”, makes the cut along with three fiery live tracks recorded in the band’s hometown when they opened for the mighty Udo Dirkschneider.
Phear frontman Patrick Mulock gave BraveWords the lowdown on the new EP, tackling the Iron Maiden cover, memories of the live shows, and a possible physical release of The Curse Lives On.
BraveWords: This is your first release since 2015 debut Insanitarium. Why decide to release an EP and not another full-length?
Patrick: “As you said in your question, we haven't released anything since Insanitarium. We are in the process of writing a full-length album currently, which we expect to come out early 2018. Since we hadn't released anything for a while we decided to do our first ever cover tune. So, we started working on 'Rime’ and thought maybe we should release some live tracks. We recorded a few live shows last year.....Then we thought, we should put a studio track on this. We had this one song that was little bit of a departure stylistically for us. That's how this EP came about.”
BraveWords: So many Iron Maiden tracks to choose from and yet you guys chose the daunting epic “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”. What made the band want to cover this song and were there any other covers under consideration?
Patrick: “Honestly, there are a lot of cover tunes out there. Bands are taking POP songs and making them heavy and we decided not to follow that trend. We wanted to do a song that nobody in their right mind would attempt (laughs). Gives you an idea of our way of thinking. Anyway, we are huge Maiden fans and it was clear that it was going to be a Maiden song but which one? After some very loud discussions, we decide that we were going to give ‘Rime’ a go. We played it once and it was the clear choice. As for other considerations....‘Children Of The Damned’, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, ‘The Prisoner’, etc...All the songs you would expect.”
BraveWords: Where did the EP title The Curse Lives On come from?
Patrick: The EP title The Curse Lives On was built on the artwork we received. Our cover artist (Ludovic Cordelieres) sent us the artwork with the word ‘Cursed’ on it. Tyson came up with ‘the curse lives on'.......Curse referring to the curse in the song ‘Rime’. Lives on referring to live tracks; see what he did there? Very smart eh?”
BraveWords: The phantom, green-flaming head guy returns on the cover art. Is this guy the mascot and does he have a name? What was the idea behind the gloomy cover?
Patrick: “The guy with the flaming head has made a return along with his protege Regan. For those who don't know, his name is Phred, our mascot. Hopefully, he gets a play date with Eddie and Vic one day (laughs). The artwork is basically just replacing the Mariner with Phred and Regan, who are now the Captain and First Mate of the ghost ship. Phear meets Maiden. You can also see the Albatross in his arms.”
BraveWords: The one new song is “Dirty Work”. Tell me about the inspiration and creation of that track.
Patrick: “‘Dirty Work’, the only studio track, is a song we originally wrote for Insanitarium, however we ran out of room. It is a little bit of a departure for us. We all sing in this band, which is a great tool to have. So we wrote this song with a lit bit more melody and harmonies in the verses. We played the song live a few times and the crowd really got into the groove, so we decided to record it and include it on the EP. The decision to record a video for it was last minute. It will be released early July.”
BraveWords: The rest of the EP is made up of three live tracks. What show were they from and do you remember anything specifically about those shows? Also, how would you say the band sounds live compared to in the studio?
Patrick: “The live tracks were taken from our Toronto show at the Mod Club. There are two things that were really cool about this show.”
“One - Toronto metal fans will come out, even in the crappiest weather. The sky opened up with freezing rain that day. We were opening for Udo Dirkschneider and we were on real early. Much to my surprise, I walked up the back stairs to a packed house. Awesome Toronto!
“Two - How professional Udo and his team (band and crew) were. It sets the standard for how Phear presents ourselves. I know that is not the most metal thing to say, but we treat all of you, fans and colleagues with total respect. We will give you all we have and feed off your energy. The show was a huge success for us!
“As for Phear's live sound, we do our best to recreate what you hear on the Insanitarium album. However, for those who have seen us headline a show, you are aware we have a rather large and bright production. Sometimes, lasers get in your eyes or the smoke is too thick, so strange things and strange sounds happen. We had this one show last February where Chris (drummer) was so buried in smoke that we didn't see him for three songs, but we could certainly hear him (laughs).”
BraveWords: Will the EP eventually be made available on CD or vinyl or is the band looking at it as just a digital release?
Patrick: "The Curse Lives On will be available for download and CD on June 30th. We will look at vinyl down the road.”
BraveWords: Future plans? Any live shows coming up? Is there a plan playing the “Rime” cover live?
Patrick: “As far as the future goes, as I said before, we are currently writing a new album for 2018 release. Our plan is to start playing live in the fall in Canada. Hopefully, we can get some international shows as well. Depending on the length of the set allocated to us, ‘Rime’ will definitely be part of it. It makes a nice encore. We also would like to work on finding a record company that would have as much passion for Phear as we do, for the future. Like anything in life that's worth it, it takes time and hard work.”