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Triumph - Triumph [Aka: In The Beginning] CD (album) cover

TRIUMPH [AKA: IN THE BEGINNING]

Triumph

 

Prog Related

2.69 | 22 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars Personally i think the band TRIUMPH is a tad underrated in the footnotes of history and part of this reason is that they get tagged as a Rush wannabe band and to be honest the comparisons are quite warranted in many ways. First of all, they were a power trio consisting of a bassist and keyboardist (Mike Levine), drummer (Gil Moore) and while in this case it was guitarist who was the lead singer (Rik Emmett) he actually sounded kind of like a less goofy yelping version of Geddy Lee. Not to mention that they also emerged in the Toronto area of Canada about the same time AND to be fair there is very much on their debut album that really does sound like the first Rush album. Originally album number had an eponymous title but was retagged in 1996 as IN THE BEGINNING with an entirely new album cover. The album was pretty much limited to Canada in those days but is now easily available with a recent remastered version emerging.

While the band would grow musically and become both notable for their catchy hard rock bordering on heavy metal melodies as well as for their AOR radio with Rik Emmett's high pitched vocals creating a distinct mark on the world of hard rock, on IN THE BEGINNING they sound very much like a 70s hard rock band. The album kicks off with a bluesy hard rocker that sounds a bit like a hard Alice Cooper bluesy shuffle with a party all night Kiss attitude. Yeah, the lyrics on this one weren't too developed at this point and are a little focused on teenage obsessions such as partying all night! Love! Easy living! And of course rock 'n roll. Many of the tracks sound like they could have fit right in on Rush's debut release and the influence is undeniable and understandably so given time and place however TRIUMPH-isms do exist like Emmett's signature guitar solos sounding nothing like Alex Lifeson's and their riffing while similar is still all their own. "Let Me Get Next To You" however is a little too close to early Rush territory for its own good sounding like "Finding My Way."

"Don't Take My Life" sounds a bit like "I'm 18" from Alice Cooper and simultaneously a bit like "All Along The Watchtower" by Hendrix showing a couple more influences in the mix. The most interesting track that deviates from the blues and hard rock queue is the near nine minute closer "Blinding Light Show / Moonchild" which sounds completely different from the other tracks. It begins with a hard rock Celtic type of jig but completely shifts gears and becomes a spacey Pink Floyd sounding acoustic arpeggio run and really sounds like something off of "The Wall" a full three years before that album was released! It has a rock chorus but evolves into a beautiful classical guitar sequence that gets quite accomplished thus the type of track that often gets them in progressive rock related territory.

While not completely finding their own distinct sound quite yet, IN THE BEGINNING is a well performed debut that is a pleasure to listen to. Emmett had some of the best vocals in the world of hard rock and AOR and TRIUMPH sort of was a much more sophisticated version of Journey rather than a mere Rush clone at least after the first couple albums. On this one they do sound a lot like early Rush but that's not a bad thing for me since i happen to love the early Rush albums before they blossomed into prog behemoths. While TRIUMPH albums have traditionally suffered poor production values and neglected due to the fact that despite finding some success never really hit the big time either but the new remastered releases sound excellent like they were made for modern day consumption. Even if 70s hard rock isn't your thing, i highly recommend the closing track for prog heads however if you do fancy bluesy heavy rock from that era, TRIUMPH's first album is quite the pleasant listening experience.

3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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