Band of Brothers: Brazil’s Doctor Pheabes

The award-winning 2001 HBO drama “Band of Brothers” was true to life in its portrayal of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. It was heavy; it was gritty; it was a story of a group of men who stood shoulder to shoulder and took on all comers.

That might strike a common chord for Brazilian rock band Doctor Pheabes. No, they aren’t wielding guns (their weapons of choice are their instruments), nor are they in a life and death struggle doing what they do.

But they do have one thing in common: they are a band of brothers. Literally.

Doctor Pheabes consists of Eduardo Parrillo (vocals), Fernando Parrillo (guitar), Fabio Ressio (bass) and Paulo Ressio (drums). Two sets of brothers, one common mission: to spread the music of Doctor Pheabes and their new album, “Army of the Sun,” to all corners of the globe.

Tracks such as the pulsating and upbeat “Better Off Alone,” the instrumentally rich “Here To Stay,” and the radio-ready and catchy “Find A Way” are perfect examples of a band that is not only ready to capture a much larger audience, but one that has a keen knack for creating memorable tunes while maintaining a harder, grooving edge. Not to mention sound good live.

“Our music is perfect for live performance,” Fernando Parillo said in a recent interview with ListenIowa. “The drums, the bass, the sound of the voice. Everything works well live.”

The roots of the Doctor Pheabes date all the way back to junior high school. The young foursome emerged under different band names during their formative years, brandishing their rock ’n roll influences every step of the way. Especially heavy metal.

“We have a bit of everything,” Parillo said. “Our background is hard rock, though. Manowar, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath are my favorites.”

Should things go the way they hope, they’ll follow in the footsteps of another favorite, country mates Sepultura.

“They are a great band,” Parillo said. “It’s amazing how a Brazilian band can do the things they have in the world because music is a tough thing here in Brazil to do and make a living. There’s no space to make a living just with the music; it’s just impossible. You have to get your foot in America and the rest of the world, not just in South America.”

“Army of the Sun” is the band’s third album, but the quartet kicked off its recording career under the name Escargot in the 1990s. However, a financial crisis hit the government of a newly-elected president Fernando Color de Melo, which in turn affected record labels. The album was put on hold and it was decision time. Music or a professional career? And at that particular moment, career won.

Fast forward to 2009. Making music was still very much in their minds, but it needed an outlet. Enter Doctor Pheabes (from the TV series “The Abominable Dr. Phibes). With a heavier sound and English lyrics, their first album, “Seventy Dogs,” garnered the band major attention and provided them a launching pad, which landed them coveted slots on the Monsters of Rock festival in 2013, the opening act for Guns N’ ‘Roses (2014), Black Sabbath (2016) and The Rolling Stones, to name a few.

Despite the success, the band knew the next album could be make or break and enlisted the services of producers Bruno Agra and the Kato Khandwala (Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin, Paramore and My Chemical Romance). It was a match made in Brazilian Heaven. Khandwala came to Brazil and turned the band on to a new, more modern direction that landed firmly between hard rock and heavy metal. The partnership ended tragically, however, when Khandwala died in a motorcycle accident in 2018.

“From this friendship came a fantastic album, though” Parillo said. “When he died, we thought we would finish the album and then stop the project. We had a real relationship (with Khandwala), and had become friends. When you’re in the studio making an album, you take a break and go out to smoke a cigarette and you talk about everything in life and philosophy. Kato was a great guy. The most important person in my life. We spoke about time and money and put everything into the album. We dedicate every show to him. He was part of our family.”

Khandwala will never be forgotten, Parillo said. And what better tribute to their fallen comrade member than to take the music they created together and share it with the world.

“We put 100 percent in it, and this is for him. If you can put 100 percent of your soul into your music, that is a great goal to achieve,” Parillo said. “Everything is from the soul and heart.”

“Army of the Sun” Tracklist:
Army of the Sun
Better Off Alone
Rebel Riders
Here to Stay
Your Love Is Mine
Ask of You
Find a Way
Back in Town
Stranded in Love
Let’s Go
Live Forever

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