Back in the year 2000, something massive happened in the underground: Tragedy released their debut album. The band rose out of the ashes of the mighty His Hero Is Gone and took HHIG’s dour outlook and massive, apocalyptic crust and simplified it, going fast and punk, riding d-beats into the sunset.
All of Tragedy’s output is worthy of much exploration, but their self-titled has that extra something that made us consider it for the Hall. Today, we look back on the album and rank the songs from worst to best, mainly as a reminder of just how great this band really is.
This gets pretty confusing, but work with us here: this is the second of two mid-album and one late-album respites called “Intermezzo.” This one finds the instruments falling silent after the chaos of the first “Intermezzo” and an assortment of samples taking over as the band and listener all get to take a breather. Actually works really well in the record; on its own, not so much, of course.
This one is basically the band cooling down after the massive “Confessions of a Suicide Advocate” and letting some doomsday strumming take over for a minute before it all falls apart. Like the other “Intermezzo,” it works well within the context of the album.
And how about a third? This one comes just before the album’s final two songs, the band taking almost two minutes to strum some quiet, haunting guitar, bringing the listener back to the opening of the album. Speaking of which…
Like a lot of the classic albums we bring into our Hall of Fame, even the intro on this album is good. Here, “Intro” (hey, why not?) sets the tone with some dire acoustic strumming, the band going fast like crust punks on beat-up five-dollar six-stringers salvaged from the military surplus road down the store as an ominous opening to this most ominous of records.
10. Tension Awaiting Imminent Collapse
The band close out the album with two of its longest songs; this is the first of those two, “Tension Awaiting Imminent Collapse” doing a decent slow-burn build to bring the listener to the end of this great record. A great, powerful song that uses repetition and a relentless forward momentum to deliver its doomsday message (well, I assume it’s a doomsday message, anyway; this ain’t exactly “Happy Birthday”).
9. The Intolerable Weight
Man, this one bounces along and finds the band almost sounding… content? “Happy” is pushing it, but this one has more in common with old punk than we ever thought possible, the band members still forcing a sense of despair on the party, but that verse melody is… jubilant? Half-smirking despite itself? There we go.
8. Products of a Cold War
This minute-long sludging grinder punks along in one of the most His Hero Is Gone-esque moments on the album; it’s over before you know it, but placed where it is it delivers a huge impact, and gives the album a nice touch of power violence to boot.
7. You Are an Experiment
The band doesn’t just take the listener’s hand and guide them into the final third of the album here, they body-check the listener into the pit, into the squat’s bathtub, into the worst part of town, just grabbing them by the scruff of their neck and screaming, “See?! See?!” Good song.
6. Chemical Imbalance
The album closer here just feels important, feels like something big has just happened, is still happening, will continue to happen. All of which is true, because Tragedy’s self-titled album just came to an end, and good goddamn is it ever an experience. Here, the sludge is huge, and the d-beat-drenched hardcore that brings things to a close even huger, the melodies haunting, the vocals anguished, everything clicking into place perfectly.
5. With Empty Hands Extended
This album is divided between short, fast ragers and longer, slower sludge-inflected tunes; this one falls into the former category, “With Empty Hands Extended” showing the incredible power this band has when they take it down a notch and just pummel, pummel, no hope in sight, pummel. You keep expecting them to race into a d-beat, but, no, just pummel, pummel, pummel.
4. Not Fucking Fodder
With a drum-fill intro very reminiscent of His Hero Is Gone, this one announced loud and proud that, despite the similarities, Tragedy is indeed not HHIG, and “Not Fucking Fodder” proved it: the heft is there, the suffocating heaviness, the dire overtones, but the music is way more punk rock than sludgey power violence, as this quick and simple rager proves.
3. Confessions of a Suicide Advocate
After an intro and three brisk ragers comes this four-minute sludge-laden mini-epic, which shows the band still has the power to go low and slow, although they can’t resist laying down the fast punk as well. This song shows them handling both speeds with authority, and that main riff is a monster—when it returns at the end, it’s a triumph of despair.
2. Never Knowing Peace
Love the opening of this one, the band hitting those chords like only they can, while the drummer just goes batshit bonkers back there. The surprise comes once things kick into gear—sure, there’s a familiar d-beat propelling things along, but wart’s that melody? That’s Tragedy is what that is, and the band’s sound really starts crystallizing on this massive earth-shaker.
1. The Point of No Return
The album’s first full-on song is almost humorously energetic, the band just absolutely attacking, the blinders-on d-beat and apoca-crust coming immediate, hard and heavy. The closing, barked-out lines are legendary, yes, but this whole song is legendary in my books.