The man that never sleeps is back! This time with Tragik and the Power Of Suggestion. Of course I am talking about Phil Vincent, singer and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire. On this album he is joined by regular mates Damian D’Ercole and Dirk Phillips, but also by Vince O’Regan. And Tom Bushell, who co-wrote Her, plays bells on that track.
Opening the album are a couple of rockers, Victim, All I Have and Crazy, which are carried by the trademark vocals and harmonies as well as by more guitar extravaganza from O’Regan. Then comes Learning To Live which has hit written all over it. Should there be any justice in the world…
Already Gone is another rocker, where Over You has a pulse akin to Maneater by Hall & Oates. Done in Vincent style of course. Through It All has a nice solo section where the spotlight is on keyboards and guitar. Told You So is another track with a chorus you sing for days. It is kind of a Seventies classic rock track transported into a modern metal song.
The album closes with the epic (almost 10 minutes) of Her. Opening with an a capella vocal line after which the piano comes in and the song really takes off. Of course the song moves through several arrangements, including a couple of beautiful solos.
Album number 7 for this US hard rock band with many pomp influences. Lead by the unmistakeable voice and talent of multi-instrumentalist Phil Vincent. And what is most striking is that, even after recording for over 20 years and being involved in over 30 albums, the man still manages to evolve. Both as a songwriter, as well as a producer. So even when this is in essence a pomp hard rock album, some things cross new borders. And yes people, that is a very good thing in my book!
Opener Welcome Back is a driving song, built around riffs and melodies and with crunching guitars and solos. And then arrives Not Over You (Listen). I can already hear the critics wail over this… And why? The base of it is a drum loop and parts of the song have an Eighties wave feel to them. It also clocks in at over 9 minutes. But if you are able to listen beyond that; you will hear it is an adventurous take on something familiar. And people who follow the blog on a regular base, know that I am all for experimenting. I think this is a great song that keeps you on your toes!
Songs like Can’t Take It Back or Face Of Sorrow are aiming for the more traditional tastes. And songs like Into The Great Unknown or Heaven (another 8+ epic) aim to blend genres again. And closer Harsh Reality sees Vincent and co groove like never before. The guitar work of the late David Zychek playing a great part in it.
So for me this is another great release from the band. And as with all of the earlier releases, the album just keeps growing on you. Wonderful stuff.
It took me a while to lay my hands on this Tragik album, but here it is! Tragik is the band where site regular Phil Vincent is joined by Dirk Phillips on drums and Damian D’Ercole (also in another Vincent fronted band, D’Ercole) on guitars. Other guests are Vince O’Regan (his buddy in Legion) on guitar solos and Eric Ragno plays keyboards on opening track Look At Me Now.
The first couple of songs actually made me think a bit of Legion. Very heavy and pretty straight forward rockers. Of course with Phil’s trademark melodic vocals and awesome vocal harmonies but still. And then we get Reflections (Walk Away) and that is such a beautiful song! Much more laid back, with acoustic guitar and synths, stunning! Also with a fine solo that has a more different feel that regular. This is more the Tragik I love so much. Because from all the bands that Phil is in, I regard Tragik as the one with the most experimental approach. Well maybe with the exception of Forest Field, but that’s another story.
A point that is proven by the next song, Lake Of Tears. A stunning 16 plus minutes in 5 parts! Nice peaceful opening with keyboards before the band kicks in, firing on all cylinders. Won’t talk you through the whole song though, find out for yourself. Just know there is a lot happening 😉
Great singing as usual, an album that grows with every spin, all in all another damn fine release by the band, get it!
Without a shadow of a doubt the artist most covered on these pages is mister Phil Vincent. Be it with Legion, solo, or one of his other projects. In this case we are talking about one of his more demanding bands Tragik. Besides Phil on vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards, we also find Dirk Phillips on drums and fellow D´Ercole band-mate Damian D´Ercole on guitars. And among the guitars players firing away some solo´s we find fellow Legion companion Vince O ‘ Regan. Who is rapidly becoming another usual suspect.
So the big question with all this output (2 to 3 cd´s per year seems average) is probably how to keep them all apart. After all, the voice is in all cases the same. Luckily it is a voice I like, especially when those wonderful vocal harmonies are added. For me Tragik sits a bit asides the others because keyboards play a more important role. And while melodies and big choruses are always important, the band never seem shy of exploring their more adventurous side. So where Giving Up is a straight rocker, Don´t Say A Word surprises with a keen use of keyboards in the verses and loud guitars in the chorus.
But there is more. What to think of a 12 minute track? The title Eye In The Sky might hint at Alan Parsons, musically this is a completely different animal. Starting on a piano in a pretty mellow tempo, the song keeps evolving. Tempos vary and parts exchange without the song losing identity. And thus proof of why Tragik are such an attractive addition to the Vincent roster.
This is the third release of Tragik, consisting of Phil Vincent on vocals, bass and keyboards, Damian D´Ercole on guitars and Dirk Phillips on drums. For those familiar with Phil and his projects, a cast of familiar names.
After playing this disk for several times, I feel it is one of Phil´s most adventurous releases so far. By now he has achieved an impressive back catalogue and yet there is room for progress. It is definitely hard rocking and melodic as always, but the keyboards play a larger role than before. There is also room for extended soloing (Can´t Find The words), and listening to that is no punishment considering the craftsmanship on display here.
What is nice to notice is the voice. Not only it is just like it keeps getting better and better, also on the production side experiments with panning, effects, backing vocals, etc. are put to good use.
Some details I feel can be improved are the sound of the drums / snare and the use of compressors. The drums sound triggered (you know, every beat is of the same sound and volume). I prefer a more organic feel. But as always, that is a matter of taste. Also at times (Giving In) it is just like one sound pushes another away a little. But that is a technical detail I am not sure will be picked up by many. And maybe it is intentional.
To sum it up, another quality release that is very varied and entertaining. On the website several samples are available. Give it a listen, or better yet, buy it and support independent music!
Personal play tips: Jaded, At The Shore, Long Way From Home.
American singer, songwriter and all around musician and busy nice guy Phil Vincent is also participating in several bands. This one, Tragik, is one of them.
Together with Damian D´Ercole on guitars (a great find!) and Dirk Phillips on drums, Phil has so far released 3 albums under the Tragik banner of which Outlaw is the second. Latest opus And We All Turn To Dust will be reviewed some time later.
Style wise it is definitely Vincent influenced melodic hard rock. For me, Tragik is sounding different because of the keyboards, especially the use of loops in some tracks. This creates a vibrant kind of tension other albums with Phil don´t have. Don´t worry, no techno stuff here, it is still hard rocking music. Most of the time anyway 😉
I understand some people don´t like the arrangements on this record. I for one think it really adds to the discography of mister Vincent. I even consider this one of his most adventurous work, also on the production side of things. His trademark vocals have hardly sounded any better and melodies are still present, but the guitars sound more heavier at times. And as said, more room for keyboards.
A lot of albums feature the best songs up front. In this case I feel they close the album. To open with a ballad type song is a bold move. And things only get better. Like this one a lot, great stuff!
Personal play tips: What You Give, Just Can´t Get Enough, Who´s Gonna Make The First Move (or just take a random pick).