Man from the Box: “Three Sides of a Tragedy I” – packed with dense instrumentals

Man from the Box has released his debut EP “Three Sides of a Tragedy I”, which is the first in the trilogy “Three Sides of a Tragedy”. The trilogy tells the story of a man that decides to hang out with his friends in a city threatened by random crime and violence. Accustomed to better times, he feels no bad things can happen to him. But he was wrong. “Three Sides of a Tragedy I” tells the story, from the victim’s point of view, while the second part takes the angle of the victim’s family and friends. Part three is seen from the murderer’s perspective.

Three-Sides-of-a-Tragedy-I-mftbMan from the Box is a contemporary progressive rock music project started by Lukas Cartea in 2015, with a strong influence from iconic bands from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. “Three Sides of a Tragedy I” is a phenomenal display of Lukas Cartea’s technological prowess, advanced instrumental abilities, and complete mastery of rock, as well an unrestrained experimental side. Packed with dense instrumentals and catchy vocal tracks alike, this EP keeps the spirit of progressive rock alive.

“Three Sides of a Tragedy I” strikes the listener in a very immediate way. That is not to say that it is mundane rock however, far from it. Man from the Box’s superb instrumental talent as well as his brilliant knack for lyrical wordplay keep the album as intelligently adventurous as it is powerful, even allowing for ambient transitions that provide a calming break in the powerful onslaught.

Even more astonishing though, under the almost accessible rock veneer lays the typical progressive complexity; entirely intact and bubbling just below the surface to reward the focused listener. In this way, Man from the Box’s remains as brilliantly original as ever through irregular solos and alternating guitar blasts, but the more accessible rock packaging adds focus and drive to the artist’s already formidable sound.

This is not your average progressive rock artist. This is a skilled craftsman that took the time to craft and work on a direction to play and a strong central theme to draw your attention. “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” sums up Man from the Box. It is precise, dense polyrhythmic rock that any competent player could learn to play but not compose. The sonic textures are massive, the guitar work stunning. We are listening to a creative statement from an accomplished musician.

Three-Sides-of-a-Tragedy-I-cover“Last Regret” brings the tension down to the kind of quiet acoustic song you wish more people would play. It is devoid of showmanship and pomp, it is a beautifully arranged and beautifully performed song that could (but won’t) get airplay. I don’t get easily excited with music today, as flash is marketed more than form.

This EP however blew me away. There is a sense of doom and psychological complexity so apparent in “Vanishing” that the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up.  “Ignorance” has flow, atmosphere, and drama, but throughout the EP there are moments of driving aggression, as on “Unpleasantly Surprised”, as well as moments of stunning beauty.

The musical forms are concise and exacting in structure and yet allow for intelligent improvisations, with plenty of light and shade. Soft melodious mood pieces alternate raunchy, full-throttle rock. It can take several listens before this music starts to make sense, so persist as Man from the Box’s continues to write with finely observed critical wit about the bleak modern social landscape.


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