Melbourne Power Metal veterans Eyefear took advantage of the Labour Day long weekend to reveal their new vocalist to punters at the Workers’ Club on a Sunday night, headlining a bill with Demonhead and Espionage. With the big event out of the way, guitarist Kosta Papazoglou reflects on the show in which they introduced Riccardo Mecchi as the new Eyefear frontman.

“It turned out good for a little venue and stuff. We put it together really, really quick, but it turned out good. It’s not bad at all at the Workers’ Club. I don’t mind it, so all good. Everyone seemed to enjoy the gig, so it was good. We tried to keep it as quiet as we could,” he says of the announcement, “but a lot of people were guessing it and talking about it, but I guess that was the whole point of doing it, you know what I mean? We got people talking. It wasn’t much of a surprise to some people, I’ll put it to you that way.”

Papazoglou is glowing in his description of what Mecchi will bring to the band. “He’s actually quite a talented sort of guy, because I’m pretty sure you would have seen him in his other band, Kill : Death : Ratio, where he does both vocals and guitars and does a lot of song writing and stuff. So bringing in a bit of a different sort of influence, and a bit of a different sort of feedback, which is always a help when it comes to writing new stuff. It brings a different vibe, just a different influence altogether, which really helps. That probably the main thing, which is always good, and it helps the band sort of reinvent themselves and not stay down one path. It opens up different avenues, which is really cool.”

It’s been six years since the last Eyefear album, so Papazoglou opens up about what fans can expect from the new material. “It’s still Eyefear. It’s still very symphonic and epic and heavy and stuff, but I think with the newer material it’s just a little bit more open, and less sort of technical and less going on; which I think opens it up for vocals to be a little bit more memorable and melodic. So it’s still very Eyefear, but we’ve just opened things up a little bit and made it a little less chaotic, like compared to ‘The Inception of Darkness’ where there was a whole heap of stuff going on, and the songs were pretty full-on, and there was lots of keyboard stuff happening. Just less busy, something a little bit easier to remember, if you know what I mean; so a lot more melody and stuff, I guess.”

During the gig, Mecchi had to take some time for stern words with the current “keyboardist,” actually the band’s laptop with backing tracks. “That’s the other thing,” Papazoglou goes on, “I mean our last keyboardist Seb moved over to Europe, so we’re without a keyboard player, but it’s just with the way things are going now, especially with trying to cut costs and stuff, and to try and find another keyboardist for starters here in Australia is literally impossible anyway. Especially the calibre of Seb, he was a ridiculously good player. We’ve gone down the path of not having a keyboard player anymore and just putting them all on backing tracks, which a lot of bands are doing now anyway.”

Lyrically, the new material will continue in the manner familiar to Eyefear fans. “With lyrics, we’ve always been down sort of the same path, very sort of dark and moody, and just sort of telling stories, I guess, has probably always been our sort of thing. Talking about emotions and stuff, and things in general that aren’t sort of love stories or anything like that, but they’re pretty dark lyrics, but there’s always a positive message about them. It’s something we do take great pride in, it’s not just a matter of putting a few words together, so if you ever get a chance to, check them out and have a good read. There’s always some sort of message there.”

When it comes to how Mecchi joined the band, it seems like fate. “Some of those tracks that you heard the other night, the third track we played, Wasteland, the music to that had been done four years ago. So, you know, the writing’s always sort of been happening. And like I said, Rick Mecchi came along. It was something that happened very, very, very quick. It was like an overnight discussion, really, and within two weeks he was ready for rehearsals and four months later he’s already learnt the set, and we’re digging him. We’ve got a couple of new tracks and working on the rest of the album. We’ll have to go through all the stuff slowly and just re-arrange stuff for vocals now, I guess. A lot of stuff is written, but we need to sit down with Rick and sort of go through it all now and get it all happening, and get it all ready for recording, I guess.”

Eyefear have two big shows coming up, with the Stormrider festival in Perth and Legions of Steel in Melbourne. “We might throw in a different track or two in Perth and Legions of Steel,” he muses. “We’re working on some new stuff, so we might road-test another new song, which is always good to check out live, because it’s one thing to record it, it’s another to perform it live. You can sort of get a vibe of what it’s going to be like, because at the end of the day you’ve got to perform the songs live, so they’ve got to work for both CD and live. So we might throw in another new one, we’ll see how we go. We will try and change it up a little bit, that’s for sure.”

The band also have an impressive resume of support slots played throughout their career, but there is one artist Papazoglou would want to play with above all. “King Diamond. I don’t even need to think twice. Definitely King Diamond. That would be absolutely out of this world. It’d be very, very difficult to see them coming here, but never say never, I guess. I mean, I think all the guys in the band would probably agree with me on King Diamond. That would be the one that we’d really, really like to do, because we’ve done some pretty big ones. I mean, Nightwish; it doesn’t get much bigger than that here, really, unless we’re talking about Metallica or someone, but we’ve been lucky enough to do Nightwish twice, Blind Guardian twice; we’ve done Queensryche, Stratovarius, Evergrey, Epica, which was a very, very cool show. So we’ve done quite a few actually, we’ve been lucky in that regard. It’s very important to do those sort of shows, because you get to play to people who probably wouldn’t know you and introduce your band to new fans.

“I’m a huge fan of Andy LaRocque. I’ve grown up idolising him I guess, and had the pleasure of meeting him and working with him on the first two albums, and he guest soloed on the second album. ‘Them’ is probably my number one. I’ve actually got those plates on my car. My four-wheel drive has got ‘THEM’ registration plates, so there you go.”

As for where Papazoglou would like to tour in the future, he’s sanguine about taking things as they come. “There’s no place really specific. The dream would obviously be to get over to Europe one day. You know, we’ve obviously had a lot of offers in the past to do tour slots and stuff, but they can be quite pricey, quite an expensive experience. It’s just a path we’ve never really taken. Who knows? Maybe one day. It’s not hard to do, but it all comes to funds, especially. I think a lot of people that aren’t in bands don’t quite comprehend why certain bands don’t tour, but to get into the logistics of it is probably wrong, but there’s a lot more to it than just getting on the tour support. It’s not that easy, let’s say. That’s just always been our thing. We’ve never wanted to put ourselves in that position. I guess that’s why we’ve lasted as long as we have. We haven’t put ourselves in some sort of ridiculous debt, let’s say. We enjoy writing music, and recording and releasing it, and whatever comes with it, well, it comes. So if nothing comes, we’ll just record and keep doing what we enjoy.

In the end, he thanks the fans. “Thank you to all the fans who turn up and everybody that’s been on our Facebook page and supporting our stuff, we really, really appreciate it. We look forward to seeing you guys at the next shows, so stay tuned for more.”