The june/july edition of Fireworks Magazine discussed the We Alll Turn To Dust album from Tragik:
Tragik is one of Phil vincent´s bands and at the time of their first album back in 2005 I´d assumed that it was a vehicle for some of Vincent´s harder edged songs. Five years later and with album number three the difference is much less obvious with more guitars and less keyboards creeping into Phil´s solo albums and more variety on this Tragik disc. With all but one song credited to all three members, this time Phil has dropped the guitars and handles vocals, bass and keyboards, Dirk Phillips is the drummer and also plays some keyboards, and all the guitars are courtesy of Damian D´Ercole, who this time doen´t play bass. Musical chairs anyone?
All I can say about WATTD is that it´s more varied than Outlaw and continues the growth in terms of quality. It kicks off with piano and keyboards before turning into a densely layered tuneful intrumental that would have taken Tom Scholz five years to record. You get the usual catchy guitar based hard rock songs like Jaded and Black and White, but a lot of the rest of the album is pretty unpredictable. Shadows of Loneliness for instance starts life as an upbeat rocker and ends with all the other instruments dropping out to leave two minutes of orchestral keyboard swathes. Similarly Long Way From Home is Boston-esque melodic rock with layers of keys and guitar harmonies that unexpectedly speeds up in the middle. Giving In is another straight ahead rock song that bursts into staccato guitar and piano chords like Toto sometimes do, whilst the cool and laidback At The Shore has a King´s X way of building up to the end.
Throw in other memorable tunes like the moody Can´t Find The Words (great drums and atmospheric keys) and the Enuff Z´nuff power pop of Before It´s Gone and the job is already done. However, I didn´t really expect the more complex, almost progressive Nothing, which closes the album in a flash of brilliance, to be so different to everything that´s gone before. When I first heard it I had to dig out Kee Marcello´s Melon Demon Dive album to get the same effect.
With a powerful and clear sound and such a varied colelction of songs, Tragik have built on the best bits of the previous two records and thrown in a few left field ideas that all work in one way or another, and Phil Vincent´s assured vocals help to give the different styles a single identity so that the album holds together. Another one for your shopping list.
D’ERCOLE may be a new band but it features a couple members who should be somewhat familiar with the melodic rock community. Vocalist Phil Vincent has independently released no less than twelve solo CD’s to date and has been involved in a couple other band projects over the years (namely TRAGIK). Guitarist Damian D’Ercole has appeared alongside Vincent in TRAGIK and they have released three records to date. No doubt these guys (especially Vincent) are prolific but now they have set their sights on a new project and that brings us to “The Art of Self Destruction” on Z Rock Records out of the England.
The album opens with “Desperate” and you will immediately get a taste of classic DOKKEN as Vincent seems something of a dead-ringer for Don Dokken himself. Musically, D’ERCOLE brings a classy hard rock sound to the table but I’d like to hear a bit more of a “chunkier” sound as the production seems just a bit thin and I’m not sure I agree with the snare drum sound on the record as it gives it something of a “grungy” feel to the proceedings.
“The Last Time” strays a bit from the DOKKEN-esque sound and brings a bit more of modern vibe mixed with some classic rock moments. The same goes for “Face To Face” but D’ERCOLE does seem to have a knack for coming up with a decent guitar riff though. “Nothin’ To Me” introduces some underlying keyboard sounds along with a cool riff and some nice guitar playing from D’ERCOLE.
“I Won’t Be Denied” is a cool track with edgy attitude and ripping guitars. Along with the previous track and the album opening “Desperate” you get three of the stronger tracks on offer from “The Art of Self Destruction”. “Destiny” is a decent mid-paced track with a melodic rock chorus and when coupled with Vincent’s vocals you get sort of a DOKKEN meets AOR vibe.
“Don’t Wanna Be Like You” turns the heavier, attitude-riddled vibe back up notch as you get a straight ahead full-on rocker. More of the DOKKEN sound comes to mind again but the one thing I feel hurts the tune is that pesky snare drum sound. “Gone But Not Forgotten” offers up a more melodic approach than the previous track but still maintains a rocking edge and features a good use of keys in the mix.
An album highlight is to be had on “It’s A Lie”. The tune starts out with a decent little riff and proceeds to turn into a great rocker accentuated with some really cool guitar pyrotechnics from D’ERCOLE.
“The Art of Self Destruction” closes out with another highlight on “The Deluge”. You get some nice keyboard sounds with an impressive vocal performance from Vincent. It may be his best of the record.
All in all “The Art of Self Destruction” by D’ERCOLE is pretty decent debut with several classy melodic rockers and just a few misses along the way. If they could turn the production up a notch next time around they might have something here.