Tragedy popped by for a long-awaited revisit to Glasgow in March and I got the chance to interview Lead singer/Lead Guitarist Mo’Royce Peterson. After the interview, Mo (his friends call him that) gifted me the albums I hadn’t already bought and I promised I’d review them.
So, erm, two months on I’m finally getting round to doing it.
Tragedy have four albums out, with more or less the same personnel on each. They’re all superb, but I guess you need a little more detail than that. First of all, Tragedy are the premier heavy metal Bee Gees (and more) cover band in the Tri-State Area. It says so on their literature so it must be true. They put on a killer live show as well.
Thing is, they’re not just a joke band. They’re genuinely bloody good and do more than just rattle off covers. They really do put effort into their adaptations, and each member of the group brings their own personality to the mix.
Their first album, 2008’s We Rock Sweet Balls And Can Do No Wrong lives up to the title. It reeps reward from using up what are probably the best-known Bee Gees tracks such as “Stayin’ Alive”, “Jive Talkin'”, “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Night Fever”.
The tracks on here are generally up-tempo metal covers of the originals. Very well done covers, but really just getting into their stride with the even better albums that followed. “You Should Be Dancing” is a bit freaky, mind. Don’t pop this one on with kids or grandma in the car… the monologue in the middle will give them nightmares. Or ideas, which could be even worse.
“Too Much Heaven” begins the band’s habit of mixing riffs from more modern rock/metal tracks into the cover they’re performing and the album finishes with the band’s signature track, “Tragedy”.
In 2011, we were to be Humbled By Our Greatness. Superb album artwork is opened in gatefold style to unleash an even tighter an more varies album than their debut. Production is a bit more beefy and precise, and the songs start to spread from the purely Bee Gees. The theme to Grease, for example was written by Barry Gibb but performed by Frankie Valli and Tragedy rock the hell out of it.
“Woman in Love” is a lovely mix of heavy riffs and balladic vocals. Anyone who doesn’t recognise the recurring riff used during “To Love Somebody” needs to dig out a classic rock album or three, while their version of Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” (not Bee Gee related at all, as far as I’m aware) remains pretty faithful to the original but really ups the tempo, taking it from pop/rock into metal territory with ease.
“I Started A Joke” brings Lead Drummer and Lead Vocalist The Lord Gibbeth to the fore with a very much heavier version than the original. It should come with a warning – or to be more precise, Lord Gibbeth should… definitely keep him away from children and sharp objects.
Death To False Disco Metal arrived in 2013 and kicks off with a cover of Cher’s “Believe” complete with electronica-style vocals. By this stage, the band are happy to step away from the Bee Gees-only links and spread their dark and evil wings of metal over any deserving pop targets. Their first video (I think) was for “It’s Raining Men” from this album, which begins with Slayer’s “Raining Blood” riff which segues beautifully into The Weather Girls’ gay-anthem classic. Now being sung by men in lycra and leather. It’s like The Blue Oyster came to life.
There’s a wonderful rendition of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” with some of the best guitars I’ve heard from the band. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is another that’s fairly close to the original, but somehow just seems more lively with some kicking drums and distorted guitar.
Bonnie Tyler could never have dreamed that her 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart” could be improved upon, but Tragedy have done it making the song kick more arse than a shoe-shop full of arse-kicking boots. This should be played on a stadium stage with fireworks going off.
You may have guessed, but Death To False Disco Metal is my favourite album. Well alongside the others, including 2015’s The Solo Albums. This year’s release adds eighteen new tracks to the repertoire including the first time they’ve taken a classic metal tracks and soft-rock’d it. Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” is the unsuspecting recipient of this surprisingly effective treatment.
The Lord Gibbeth is back with more scary shit, including “Killing You Softly”, “Loathing You” and “I Think I’m Alone Now” that will have you checking under the bed before you put the lights out. The lyrics are ever so slightly different to the originals… Even towel-boy Lance gets a shot with his single song “Lance Loves Beth” based around the KISS track.
Highlight of this album, and star of their second video, is Disco Mountain Man’s rendition of “You’re The One That I Want”. A superb blend of original cheese and thudding metal, this is a stand-out in all ways. Video below in case you don’t believe me.
Tragedy are simply great fun, great musicians and lovely guys (except for the drummer – seriously, he worries me). They genuinely respect the original material that they’re coating in metal which shines through in the quality of their covers. A band which has to be seen live to truly appreciate them… but the next best thing is to treat yourself to an album or two!