If Sweden's Refused set the state of modern hardcore on its proverbial head with their groundbreaking 1998 opus, The Shape of Punk to Come, then Tragedy's staggering eponymous debut of just two years later shook it to its very core. Hard…core. Or at least it would have, were it not for the Portland, Oregon group's austere anti-promotion philosophies, which naturally meant independent production and distribution of their music, precluded anything as flagrantly pompous as creating an official website (don't even mention a MySpace page), and therefore made it almost impossible for anyone outside of the hardcore D.I.Y. underground to get wind of this CD, never mind obtain a copy. And still Tragedy had no difficulty booking self-sufficient tours of Europe, Japan, and of course the U.S. because their lofty reputation preceded them, having carried over from the group's origins in Memphis, Tennessee crustcore legends His Hero Is Gone. And, better yet, Tragedy's music, though somewhat different in nature (slower, more melodic, and just all around more diverse), retained the same amazing caliber of songwriting fecundity as that of HHIG's, as well as a good dose of their crustcore distortion and apocalyptic subject matter, for good measure. That's why songs like "The Point of No Return" (prefaced by brooding acoustic guitars), "Never Knowing Peace" (streaked with thundering riffs and searing melodies), "The Intolerable Weight" (an irresistible chant-along), and "With Empty Hands Extended" (deliberate, desperate, doom-laden) are at once familiarly inexorable and eye-poppingly enlightening. Ultimately, these are songs first, hardcore second, and where the aforementioned Refused's visionary statement seemed altogether cerebral and maybe even a little snooty, at times, Tragedy's rebuttal was ever visceral and always inclusive without having to deviate quite as radically from genre foundations. Both unquestionably delivered, very distinct, and in equally powerful new directions for the genre's future.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia