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Triumph - Rock And Roll Machine CD (album) cover

ROCK AND ROLL MACHINE

Triumph

 

Prog Related

3.46 | 37 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars TRIUMPH, the Canadian power trio of Rik Emmett (vocals, guitar), Gil Moore (drums) and Michael Levine (bass, keyboards) followed up their debut just a year later with their second release ROCK & ROLL MACHINE which at first was released only in Canada but due to increasing popularity they scored an international recording contract with RCA and then soon after MCA Records. Unfortunately the album was released with one album cover and track listing for the Canadian release and another for a global market with even a few tracks donning completely different titles. Obviously this has led to a ridiculous amount of confusion over the years as one version even went as far as mixing several tracks from both the debut and this album under the title ROCK & ROLL MACHINE. Thankfully this marketing faux pas has been corrected with the newer remastered albums at last donning the original superior album cover with the band's profile in the space sphere as opposed to the cheesy neon lit guitar and sparkles under the band's logo.

While no sophomore slump haunted the band, comparisons to Rush certainly did however ROCK & ROLL MACHINE successfully sounds like a foray into their own world of bluesy hard rock with more idiosyncratic heavy riffing which would become the trademark sound of Gil Moore's songwriting contributions . Also debuting is the classic AOR ballad sound that would showcase Emmett's powerful vocal style on "Bringing It Home" and "New York City Streets - Part 1," a style that would yield them their biggest hits in the future. As with the debut, TRIUMPH also continued their dabbling into the progressive rock world as heard on the ambitious fusion frenzy of "City: War March / El Duende Agonizante / Minstrel's Lament" which would hijack a sampling from Gustav Holst's "The Planets" as well as display a superb Spanish classical guitar workout by Emmett. The beginning thunderous march actually brings Rush's progressive works to mind (think "La Villa Strangiato") as well as showcasing a percussive rhythm workout that would find a home on Dream Theater's "Images And Words" album a decade and a half down the road. Worth mentioning is the second part of "New York City" with its jazzy guitar segments and genre shifting restlessness.

Also of extreme importance is the fantastic title track finale which jumps back into the hard rock arena and pumps out the heaviest track on the album with one of the best heavy rock guitar solos the 70s had to offer displaying Emmett as not only a gifted vocalist but a bona fide virtuoso guitarist of the first degree. This track would remain a staple of live performances and remains one of the most memorable tracks of TRIUMPH's entire career. The only track that is a misstep to my ears is the ill-placed Joe Walsh cover "Rocky Mountain Way." While i absolutely adore the original and Walsh's music in general, there is something just so wrong when it's performed without his distinct vocals at the helm. TRIUMPH does a veritable job but it really seems like a fish out of water on this release. The only other gripe i have is that the beginning heavy guitar riff on "New York City Streets - Part 2" sounds too much like Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein." Other than these quibbles, TRIUMPH produced one of their best albums of the 70s. ROCK & ROLL MACHINE is an excellent collection of hard rock, power pop and prog related treats and not a bad place to check out what made them stand out. Be sure to track down the album with the original listing as it is the superior format as well as the intended one.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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