Fear not my friends…metal flames burn brightly in Mississauga Ontario. The Toronto suburb is home to meal band Phear. Spelt with a “ph” like phat…meaning cool? Works for me. Nothing to be afraid of here despite what you may have heard on the CGCM Podcast about frontman Patrick Mulock being a scary guy. There may also have been other inappropriate chatter concerning genitalia. Those that know, know. Those that don’t…might want to maintain that blissful ignorance. PHEAR Strikes at The Rockpile in Toronto.
Formed in 2014 by all accounts I could find, Phear issued their first and so far only full length, Insanitarium, in May of 2015. Then the Cures Lives On EP dropped in late June of 2017. Maintaining the original roster aside from bass duties, we find Patrick Mulock (vocals), Chris Lewis (drums), Chris Boshis (bass), Tyson Emanuel and Graham Stirrett (guitars) leading the Phear army.
Phear swamped the Rockpile Bar and Nightclub on Friday, November 17, 2017. A night of neck-breaking, head-banging bliss delivered by three of the regions top offerings. With Phear as top billing in celebration of their new Curse Lives On EP, the face-melting began before 9pm and lasted until near 1am. There were only two things amiss this evening. 1-I was broke and forced to make difficult decisions at the merch table (coming away with only The Curse Lives On EP). And 2-I forgot a camera and my cell phone is poor clarity…and full anyway. But never fear (or Phear), we have some awesome shots of Phear opening for Dirkshneider earlier in the year courtesy of Brian Ronald.
Profaner was first off. To be honest I’m not totally sure what to think. The riffs were exactly what I like. The stand-up and take notice kind. They opened with a loud as fuck thunder. Very heavy speed thrash style of destruction. Their set included a mix of new and older tunes or so we were informed. But it was the cover that really sealed these guys with me. I’ve always been a Megadeth over Metallica guy. Sure go ahead and shake your head. Profaner ripped through a blistering cover of Megadeth‘s “Skin o’ My Teeth” mid-set. What a great job, band and vocalist all round. My regret is the failure to purchase the CD.
Prismind got going shortly before 10pm. Right off the starting line, my first thoughts were very prog. A sort of heavy Rush. Not a metal flavor endearing to me particularly, although these guys were laying down some riffage. It was disappointing to see the singer using an iPad or tablet. By no means am I a vocalist and am not criticizing talent, but know your own lyrics man. Song three saw them inviting Jose on stage. “Jose from Chile is gonna show you all how to headbang properly”. Seemingly decent musicianship but just not my flavor of tea. That is until a ripping cover of Iron Maiden‘s “2 Minutes to Midnight”. That closed the set on a high note for me and left me wishing they’d been a Maiden tribute band.
The dry ice fog enveloped the stage filtering in slowly from around 11:15pm. Illuminated with the trademark green hue cast from the stage lights, the eerieness projected served in heightening the anticipation. Phear was coming, oh yes they were. Surrounded by misty green-tinged clouds of fog, the first notes rang from the otherwise darkened Rockpile stage. Before long frontman Patrick Mulock‘s invasive vocals were added to the mix. The final Phear performance of 2017 took off with “Until You Die”. From there it was into “Delusions” ahead of “Dirty Work”. “Dirty Work” has the designation of the only new original composition on the newly issued Curse Lives On EP. The disc, which I picked up at the show, has the Maiden cover “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, 3 live songs and “Dirty Work”. Wicked off the mark groove…I smell a D.I.T.D. track coming on a future CGCM Episode.
“Motives Unknown” was seamlessly delivered next. By way of introduction, Mulock let everyone know that a video for the track was forthcoming in the next few weeks. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. From there we got “Fallen”, bringing us to “Heaven”. Emotions flooded the stage, audience, and staff as Mulock spoke briefly and fondly about fallen Toronto rock scene member Colin McAllister in a dedication of “Heaven”.
Phear gained some added internet traction thanks to their massive cover of Maiden‘s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. What a monster to pull off live, but Phear knows what they’re doing and breathe new life into the classic. “In the Name of…” followed bringing us into “Bloodline”.
From the Insanitarium album released in 2015 (I really do need to get ahold of that…stupid being broke at the show) we were served “Don’t Scream”. With the crowd showing their vigor and appreciation, Phear returned to the stage for an encore. Brief band intros took place during the encore of “Regan’s Dream”. And the green mist dissipated as Phear retired for the night.
FEEL THE PHEAR
A fantastic and truly engaging 90minute set delivered tonight by Phear. The band is on point and Mulock has the wail of a banshee. Absent were the piercing green laser lights from Mulock‘s hands that we were introduced to in my first Phear presentation as they set the stage for UDO. (DIRKSHNEIDER Destroys Toronto (Concert Review)). But the stage lighting shot its laser green bolts in fine fashion. With a new album on the horizon for 2018, be on the lookout for Phear…..they’re phat with a “ph”.
PHOTOS BY: Brian Ronald
Find more of my album reviews here: Meister Music