D’ERCOLE (Phil Vincent) – The Art Of Self Destruction (2010)
Phil Vincent is a busy musician.
One of the most prolific recording artists of the last few years, he is the singer and keyboard player with TRAGIK and CIRCULAR LOGIK, and most recently; LEGION.
D’ERCOLE is another of his new projects featuring guitarist Damian D’Ercole which has appeared alongside Vincent in TRAGIK, releasing three records to date.
Damian supplies the bulk of the guitar work, Phil performs the vocals and keyboards, and the band is completed by bassist William Arnold and drummer Tane DeAngelis, plus some guests.
So if this is basically a collaboration between D´Ercole and Vincent, why is it not under the TRAGIK moniker?
Well, it´s actually quite different to the Tragik material, admittedly this album is more guitar oriented, it reminds you of when ’80s Melodic Hard Rock ruled the airwaves.
The guitar riffs are crunching yet polished, and the overall sound is powerful and in your face. There are no ballads here, just 10 rockers but with plenty of variation and depth.
Vincent pared back on his responsibilities for this release and focused on just vocals and keyboards, where he typically plays guitar, bass, and everything else.
You’ll hear his contributions immediately on the first track “Desperate”, where the flowing keys lead into a heated rhythm from guitarist Damien D’Ercole. Vincent admits that it is hard for him to escape the ‘you sound like Don Dokken’ references, but if true, then Vincent is similar to the Dokken of decades past, not the current one.
If you don’t hear some Scorpions guitar influences on “The Last Time”, then you just aren’t listening. The opening is a huge ‘thank you’ to Schenker and crew, and then the songs veers off to the recent Winger sound. Vincent sings with a fluid anger, especially on lines like, “Do you remember, do you even care? I still remember, you were never there.” The guitars accompany Vincent’s words, sort of supporting that accusation, and all in all, it’s a cool as hell composition.
It’s not just the vocals that will remind of Dokken when you get to “Nothin’ To Me”. D’Ercole is obviously a student of the masters, and he channels George Lynch on this opening guitar piece, razor-edged, intricate and full of menace. This song introduces some underlying keyboard sounds and D’Ercole’s solo is fat, bordering on neo-classical but never going over that edge, and the talent drips from every lick he throws at you.
“I Won’t Be Denied” is a cool track with edgy attitude and ripping guitars. Along with the previous track and the album opening ‘Desperate’ you get three of the stronger tracks on offer from ‘The Art of Self Destruction’.
“Destiny” is my favorite track. A keyboard heavy, sort of like something Bon Jovi used to write when they were relevant, or, at least good. The true magic of this track lies in the multi-layered harmonies during the chorus. Haunting, like something the old Journey used to pull off.
“Don’t Wanna Be Like You” turns the harder, attitude-riddled vibe back up notch as you get a straight ahead full-on rocker. More of the Dokken sound comes to mind again.
“Gone But Not Forgotten” offers up a more melodic approach than the previous track but still maintains a rocking edge and features a good use of keys in the mix.
An album highlight is to be had on “It’s A Lie”. The tune starts out with an old school guitar riff and proceeds to turn into a great rocker accentuated with some really cool guitar pyrotechnics from D’Ercole. The energy on this one is fueled by drummer Tane DeAngelis manic and brutal fills.
The album closes out with another favorite track; “The Deluge”. You get some nice atmospheric and ominious keys swirl around Vincent’s vocals, and the keys turn into more of a synthesizer sound, pounding like an accusation, as the guitars fill the rest of the void. The song continues to build and crescendo to wall of passion and umbrage, especially when Phil sings, “You made your last mistake; now you’ll be lonely for the rest of your days.” Impressive vocal performance from Vincent. It may be his best of the record.
Phil Vincent has done it again people.
Under the new monicker of D´ERCOLE (after guitar player Damian) he has delivered another very good rocking album, this time chock-full of delightful hard rock songs.
“The Art of Self Destruction” concentrates on guitars rather than keyboards. There are some keys to support the arrangements, but this is all about massive guitars. Holy cow, sometimes they even seem to invade your room.
Of course ‘the Vincent’ sensibility for great melodies is never lost. I have heard some people compare this to Dokken and sorts, which is surely an indication of style. At least when they relate to the Dokken on top of their game.
Released at the end of the last year, this album will please everyone into melodic hard rock, get it and support one of the hardest working men in the business.
Melodic, guitar-driven and featuring mammoth choruses, “The Art of Self Destruction” is a damn fine ride.
01 – Desperate
02 – The Last Time
03 – Face To Face
04 – Nothin’ To Me
05 – I Won’t Be Denied
06 – Destiny
07 – Don’t Wanna Be Like You
08 – Gone But Not Forgotten
09 – It’s A Lie
10 – The Deluge
Phil Vincent – Lead vocals, Synthesizers, Piano
Damian D’Ercole – Guitars
William Arnold – Bass
Tane DeAngelis – Drums
David Zychek (Airborne) – Guitars on tracks 2, 7 & 10
William Roux (What Matters) – Guitars on track 3
Steven Albanese (Circular Logik) – Guitars on track 9
Shawn McGovern – Guitars on track 8
IF YOU LIKE IT, BUY IT!