reprinted from Electric Basement.com
Phil Vincent has a special talent for playing all the instruments on his albums, yet sounding like a full band. This continues flawlessly on his latest effort. There is little doubt in my mind that, if you played this for someone not in the know, they'd simply accept this as a full band. Part of it might be the mix. Some of it could be the writing. But ultimately comes down to the fact that Vincent can play solid to excellent on all instruments. His guitar work is fiery (see "Cruel"), his voice is strong (see "Stand Or Fall"), his keys/piano work is spot on ("Where Do We Go From Here"), his percussion is not only well schooled, but invented (see "So Sad").
While some might begin to tag this as a one-man-band-gimmick, they'd be wrong. After all, Phil is, at heart, a songwriter. And for the most part, the disc shines. The hooks and buildups are PURE 80s AOR a la Journey and Foreigner. There is a lot of "Jukebox Hero" and "Cold As Ice" reflection on the rockers. Yet there is more to the disc than even that. There's an acoustic shuffle in "The Hard Way" that slowly crescendos in to a Dokken-esque vocal nuance. Musically, it's hard to peg, but it oscillates between ballad-like and peppy. Not progressive per se, but simply more developed than minimalist AOR. Within this diversity there are still some obvious "singles" in "Long Nights" and the layered "Hard To Say Goodbye." So this is a well-rounded, heavily thought out presentation. While some tracks need growing room, most wreak good time, melodic havoc right off the first spin. Another deep, fully realized disc from one of melodic rock's most promising acts.
- Brian Coles
PHIL VINCENT `Tragic' (Song Haus/AOR Heaven - 55014-2)
Release date: 2001
Tracklist: Stand Or Fall; Where Do We Go From Here?; Cruel; Illusion; So Sad; The Hard Way; Life Is A Game; Matter Of Time; My Life; Long Night; Changing Faces; Hard To Say Goodbye
Playing time: 56:56 min.
Muscians: Phil Vincent (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums)
Producer: Phil Vincent
Maybe some of you can remember my review about Phil Vincent's last album 'Thunder In The East' Back then my biggest criticisms of his album were the too similar sounding songs and the sterile and monotonous drumsound. Well, it seems that Phil has really learned from his mistakes, as `Tragic' is a great leap forward and none of my former criticisms can be used for this album. The production has finally reached a professional level and the songwriting is much more fluent and varied. The new album features straight up-tempo songs (`;Stand Or Fall';, `;Cruel';, `;Life Is A Game';, `;Hard To Say Goodbye';) as well as powerful mid-tempo tunes (`;So Sad';, `;Matter Of Time';) and rousing ballads (`;Illusion';), but all with the typical songwriting and arrangements of Phil Vincent. So his preference for dense and atmospheric keyboards, soft pianos, powerful guitar riffs and melancholic melody lines is still setting the tones of his AOR/Melodic Rock songs. It's hard to compare the music of Phil Vincent with any other artists, as he has a real unique songwriting, but everyone who still listens to Russ Ballard's `;The Fire Still Burns'; or PLANET P's `;Why Me?'; should take a listen to this album. As appetizers I recommend `;So Sad';, `;My Life'; and `;Hard To Say Goodbye';. Definitely Phil Vincent's best album so far!
Rating: 80 %
Discography: Rising; Life Is A Game; Calm Before The Storm; No Turning Back; Undone (EP); Thunder In The East
Reprinted from MelodicRock.com
"Thunder from the East"
(Song Haus Music)
Fifth release within three years for the talented american artist Phil Vincent who makes all on his own, but this time he is supported by a real label. The opener "Friend of foe" is superlative, rich of keys and power guitars for a strong AOR song between White Sister, Foreigner and Harlan Cage; the cd goes on with the seducing hook-lines of the vigorous AOR "When love is gone" and the pompous atmospheres of the uptempo "Guilty", making Larry Greene & Co turn pale. "Eye to eye" may recall "Look at what you got" by Touch/Drive She Said, while "Keeping distance" is very similar to Yes "Owner of a lonely heart" main riff, but then it goes on pompous grounds, placing with the power ballads "Trying to lose you" and "Forever and a day" (in the Heavens Edge style) two more classy shots. The only track of a lower level is "Into temptation", a theatre-rock-style song à-la Robby Valentine, but as a whole "Thunder from the East" will drive crazy the fans of Harlan Cage, Drive She Said and White Sister. Buy it and try to get also the previous album, in particular "No turning back".