Nerve Damage

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Tragedy's quick ascension and subsequent supremacy atop the hardcore/crustcore throne was validated yet again with their third long-player, Nerve Damage. Released in 2006 on vinyl and CD, through the Portland, OR group's self-run record label, the album began to the disconcerting wails of an air raid siren -- an adequate forewarning for what was arguably the group's most implacable collection of speedcore sprints yet (e.g. "Rabid Panic," "The Hunger," "Incendiary"). But Tragedy still easily averted one-dimensional boredom by weaving their trademarked sinister melodies amidst the reigning riffing offensive, and by constantly changing up the pace to traffic in foreboding, distorted power chords befitting a true heavy metal album on bookends "Eyes of Madness" and "Plan of Execution." In fact, those requiring immediate, irrefutable evidence to this effect need have listened no further than side two opener "In Formation" (yes, we're talking vinyl here), consisting of a somber piano figure that the band slowly draped in corrosive chord colossi before igniting into the one-two punch of "Total Vision," which was split into distinct doom and hardcore halves, equally powerful in their own fashion. The ominous acoustic intro to "Under the Radar" also prefaced one of Tragedy's best all-around compositions ever, characterized by all of their aforementioned strong suits, and putting the proverbial capper on yet another nearly flawless set of sonically bruising outsider anthems.