Tragic Hero

A Walk With Death

Tragic Hero - A Walk With Death ©2002 Natural Order
1. Pathway Of Descent
2. A Death Foreshadowed
3. Charge Into Battle
4. Fallen Ones
5. Prelude To A Fight
6. The Raging Winds Of Fate
7. The Finishing Blow
8. Farewell To These Lands
9. Rites Of Passage
10. New Armies Ride In Glory
11. Implements Of Their Own Demise
12. Warriors' Chant
13. His Cause For Ruin
14. Bravery's Champion
15. Selfrevelation
16. Transgression
17. Sempiternal

Tragic Hero is the work of Scott Tompkins. This disc was written, performed and recorded by him.

The disc is a concept work and is narrated more than it is sung. The story carries a sense of the inescapability of one individual's fate. It is narrated from the perspective of the three players, The Warrior, Death, and the Narrator. Interestingly, the Warrior's character is split into two identifiable personas. There is the prideful conqueror on the one hand and the introspective conscience on the other. While the story is quite involved, it drives home an age-old point that we are sometimes our own worst enemies.

The music is fueled by the aggressive guitar work. It is a continual assault as relentless as the theme of the story, driving forward to its conclusion and not allowing the listener to escape any more than the protagonist of the story can escape the fate for which he has been predestined. The relentless pace of the music inexorably drives the story on as the Warrior persona drives the protagonist on, even against his own better judgment. There is a continual backdrop of ambient sound to create the atmosphere of the music. At times these pieces can become a bit too repetitive, but they don't detract from the story as much as they enhance its telling. The music sweeps along going from quiet interludes to bursts of frenetic activity. This as epic a piece of guitar work as you're likely to find. It makes an awesome debut effort. I'm a sucker for good concept discs, and this one is very well done. A lot of effort has gone into the disc, each part of it has been considered carefully before going in.

Far too many heavy metal guitar superheroes go in for the flashy guitar pyrotechnics in an effort to play the chord faster or cram more 64th notes into a bar of music than the next guy. This disc is a refreshing change of pace from those strutting king-of-the-hill discs. There is a lot of guitar work on this disc, but none of it is the flashy, showy "bet-you-can't-do-this" type of playing. It is far more downtuned and accessible. It'd be great to see Tragic Hero get signed and pick up a contract for a few discs. If he can crank out something of this caliber on his own, I'd love to hear what he can do with even more resources at his command.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 03/2002

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