by Joe Mis
– Senior Columnist –
Hunger is the fourth and latest from Tragik, a trio fronted multi-talented musician and songwriter Phil Vincent. Based in Rhode Island, Tragik puts out intense melodic rock clearly influenced by some of the greatest metal acts of all time. Hunger is modern rock with a bit of the ‘80s mixed in, along with a dash of commercial metal, and just a bit of progressive rock.
Phil Vincent, the multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and songwriter stands at the front of Tragik, handling lead vocals, keys, bass, and some guitars. His musical range allows the band to move from one style to another without any obvious hiccups or weak spots. Unlike other bands led by such a talent, Vincent does not allow himself to dominate the album. Damian D’Ercole plays most guitars, while Dirk Phillips handles the sticks quite capably. Guest musicians Vince O’Regan, David Zychek and Billy Roux contribute guitar solos and lead breaks. Phil has a good voice for rock – clear, smooth, and expressive. His overall vocal style was probably most influenced by Kip Winger and Don Dokken – and he fills those shoes well. He also produced and engineered Hunger, and did it without overemphasizing his own musical contributions to the CD allowing the talents of his band mates to shine. Damian D’Ercole plays a great rhythm guitar, laying down strong hooks and setting the mood for the songs nicely. He works well with Vincent’s keyboarding. Phillips is a solid rock drummer, doing exactly what is needed at the proper times without going over the top.
“Giving Up” kicks off on a high – great bass, driving drums, a great guitar line and a blistering full-on metal guitar solo. This is a song that epitomizes the music of Tragik – an old school sound with tons of modern flourishes. Keyboards and a near dance beat make “Don’t Say A Word” a radio-friendly rocker with a huge sweeping chorus and strong positive lyrics. “Look At Yourself” opens with some strong keys and a keeps a bit of a prog rock feel throughout, featuring neatly layered vocal harmonies at the chorus. “Eye In The Sky” is a 12 minute epic prog rocker that splits into three segments. The first is a mid-tempo keyboard rich section with some spiraling guitar fireworks, the second an up-tempo commercial rock chunk with a slick chugging guitar line and superb drums, and the third is a more blues rock segment with some Beatles influence – it has it all.
“I Will Remember” is a Dokken / Foreigner style rocker with strong bass work, good vocals and a slick rhythm line, and an explosive guitar solo. “For You” is a simple Bon Jovi-ish mid-tempo acoustic rocker with simple rhythms and heartfelt lyrics. “No Tomorrow” is another upbeat 80s style rocker, allowing Phil to show off his keyboard chops, and highlighting Dirk’s drumming ability. The smoky and heavy “This Is How It Has To Be” shows Phil’s vocals at their best, and the bluesy guitar solo by Vince O’Regan is nothing short of jaw dropping. The album wraps with “’Til the End of Time,” a simple mostly acoustic tune with a nice guitar solo and some light keyboard backing – think Extreme meets Boston and Bon Jovi…
All in all, Hunger is a very good album. Almost every fan of modern melodic rock will enjoy this, and any fan of the great band from the 1980s will find much to appreciate. Never harsh or discordant, Tragik proves that you can make modern rock without ripping off the greats that came before. Hunger is varied and unpretentious rock performed with lots of enthusiasm and a true love of the genre. With elements and influences culled from the past 4 decades, Phil and the boys have created another CD that fires on all cylinders.
Genre: Melodic Metal
Phil Vincent (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards)
Damian D’Ercole (guitars)
Dirk Phillips (drums)
Guests – Vince O’Regan (guitar solo on 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9), David Zychek (guitar solo on 4), William Roux (guitar solo on 7)
1. Giving Up
2. Don’t Say A Word
3. Look At Yourself
4. Eye In The Sky
5. I Will Remember
6. For You
7. No Tomorrow
8. This Is How It Has To Be
9. ‘Til The End Of Time
Label: Phil Vincent Music
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5 / 10