Meister's Metal Mayhem

TORONTO, CANADA—The metal scene here is alive and well, and chock full of great metal bands trying to claw their way into worldwide recognition. One such band is Mortal Fear. With a mission statement of “Keep It Heavy, Keep It Real, Keep It Metal!!!,” their old-school metal assult has returned to the arena to take on all contenders.

The band began back in 1985, with vocalist Ken Munro and guitarist Steve Turrer playing sludgy, doomy-type metal songs. By 1987, bassist Pete Turrer Rock Rag #18-Mortal Fear #1(younger brother of Steve) and drummer John Currie had joined the fold, bringing with them a more technical approach to the music based on Rush and Yes influences. Mortal Fear became known in the Toronto area and made a reputation for playing only original material. Two years later, it was all over, as they had begun to grow apart and decided to disband and move on to various other projects. Steve Turrer recorded with another popular Toronto-based band, Savage Steel, and Ken Munro recorded with The Blacklist, while Pete Turrer went on to play in Frantic Waltz and Marshall Birch and the Swampmonster (alongside his brother Steve in both bands).

However, in 2012, all four original members of Mortal Fear got together for a jam session. The chemistry was sparked alive once again, and they decided to reform. After recording a CD in 2012, they were set to begin supporting the release with live shows when drummer John Currie decided to depart the band for personal reasons. After an extensive search for a new drummer, Steve Scott was selected and inducted into the tribe.

The end of 2013 saw Mortal Fear play their first show in an opening slot on the totally sold-out bill for the grand opening of The Rockpile East, behind blog18_01Diemonds and the headliners, KiLLeR DWaRfS.  KiLLeR DWaRfS review.

This was my first experience with Motal Fear, and I was impressed with their heavy straightforward Judas Priestish old-school sounds. Canuck heavyweights Anvil (on their Hope In Hell tour stop in Toronto, October 19) saw the second Mortal Fear presentation. Next, the band found themselves slated to set the stage for Coney Hatch in December Coney Hatch review for another face-melting metal tirade. On January 4, they were a part of the Toronto Metal Apocalypse presentation of Mortal Fear/Varga/Entropy at The Rockpile West.

The Varga name is what initially drew me to this show, being a fan since their 1993 debut, Prototype, and also harbouring an interest in seeing Mortal Fear for my third time. I was unfamiliar with the headliners, Entropy.Rock Rag #18-Varga #3

Varga was probably the tightest sounding band I have seen in a long time—maybe ever!  I had always wanted to see them live back in 1993 after I caught their “Freeze Don’t Move” video on Much Music and the Prototype album won itself a fairly consistent rotation in my car’s CD player. Varga’s latest release, after Prototype (1993) and Oxygen (1995), is Enter the Metal (2013). It became apparent that with this new, heaviest-they’ve-ever-done music that they were not going to be supporting their back catalogue this evening. While I love the Enter the Metal CD and its lead song, “Gamera,” I was looking forward to hearing selections off that beloved debut, such as “Unconscience,” “Greed”, (which had been played on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball) or “Freeze, Don’t Move.”

They were tight as hell and blistering, overall impressive, but the song selection was disappointing. Maybe they don’t feel that the more alternative flavour of the older material fits well with the all-out attack of the new compositions.

Rock Rag #18-Mortal Fear #4 copyMortal Fear was the opener and first band on the stage, but for me and several others in and around me, they should have been the headliners. I had spoken highly of them before they took stage to some friends and warned them not to miss this presentation. Arriving shortly before the night was to begin, I had the opportunity to acquire their debut CD and briefly meet drummer Steve Scott, vocalist Ken Munro and bassist Pete Turrer.  It was here that Steve Scott informed me that they had only performed three shows prior to tonight!  Mortal attacked the stage promptly at 9pm, ripping through their entire eight-song CD, the highlights being “Left to Die” and “Inject the Fear.”

The latter song has been getting airplay through online college radio.  Two songs into the set and friends were nodding heads, looking suitably impressed and a bit shocked, agreeing with me on how great Mortal Fear sounded live. By the beginning of the fifth track, “Folly of the Priest,” a latecomer friend had arrived and the first words from her mouth were: “Oh my God, that guy can sing!” Pay attention to me, people, don’t miss Mortal Fear! I have injected the Fear—Mortal Fear, that is. Won’t you join me?




meister logo


The Meister


Leave a Reply