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Triumph - Thunder Seven CD (album) cover

THUNDER SEVEN

Triumph

 

Prog Related

2.50 | 47 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Prog snobs, run along please

Nothing for you here. Unapologetic 80s rock fans, enjoy.

Triumph were a great live rock band. One look at their '83 US festival gig proves it as they blew most of their bigger-hyped contemporaries off the stage. However it's fair to say their studio albums have had their hits and misses. The typical Triumph album has about two or three great songs, two or three decent songs, and a few throwaways. But they weren't making albums to please progressive rock purists. They were making albums for suburban teenagers listening to FM rock radio. So despite the occasional "proggy" touches I doubt these guys cared much about being identified as such. Triumph are more in the Journey, Zebra, Foreigner, and Styx vein but with less keyboards, more guitar, and more rocking.

"Thunder Seven" is actually one of the better Triumph albums, in fact possibly their best. Again, assuming you don't mind typical suburban-glory hard rock with lyrical clichés beyond comical and bordering on criminal. The better material here is tasty stuff: soaring power ballads, nice little riffs and exceptional lead guitar, as well as good dual vocals. While not as original (or free of corporate considerations) as the great albums of the early 70s, these catchy, melodic hard rockers grow on you. The album has a nice flow, unlike some earlier one's derailed by some less consistent material. The first three tracks are hard punchy rock, the middle songs are soaring, uplifting songs, and the last couple sliding in a bit bluesier direction. It also features two short instrumentals to give a bit more room for Rik's wonderful guitar playing, one is acoustic and one electric. Supposedly this is a conceptual album about "the actions of the 21st century man" and the continuity of certain themes may be of interest to some. But what I really like is the joy and the instincts Rik always brings to his performance--I can hear his enthusiasm--and I think the band feeds on that and you can hear the little bits of extra punch everyone contributes. There seems to be a very fluid, natural energy to the songs on this album, I would call it a bit of their "live" feel coming through. The second half of the album in particular.

This would be a peak of sorts and is certainly as good as comparable fare from 1980s Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, Rainbow, or Robert Plant. But again, one must enjoy FM hard rock for what it is rather than judging it against bands with different creative aspirations. I was a prog snob myself for a while but upon revisiting my old musical turf I find things like Triumph, Benatar, and AC/DC as much fun as they once were. Not everything has to be difficult and cerebral. After "Thunder Seven" things began to deteriorate for Triumph. Sales were waning, the label wanted outside writers and the band began splintering. The next couple of albums would get tighter and more polished, but "Thunder Seven" remains the best combination of the band's talents and personable, everyman dynamic....plus they still sound like they're having a lot of fun, a vibe I find missing on the next two releases.

So go ahead, roll down your window and sing along. Time is short. 7/10.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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