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Triumph - Just A Game CD (album) cover

JUST A GAME

Triumph

 

Prog Related

2.67 | 46 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
3 stars The Canadian power trio TRIUMPH had been on an upward trajectory of gaining popularity in their home country and with their second album "Rock & Roll Machine" finding a global market, their reputation as a hard rock and heavy metal band was growing by the day which included a small crossover from prog fans who were hoping that they would delve more into those arenas. However on their third album JUST A GAME, the comparisons to Rush had finally taken their toll so TRIUMPH streamlined their sound more into the hard rock camp but also found their niche with those catchy AOR power ballad hooks that found two of their most popular tracks of their career hitting the top 40 worldwide including the Billboard charts. "Lay It On The Line" and "Hold On" showcased Rik Emmett's high pitched vocals while the more heavier tracks focused on hard bluesy rock which were primarily written by drummer Gil Moore.

As a result of the world of popular music ditching prog oriented music in favor of punk and heavy rock in the latter part of the 70s, TRIUMPH jettisoned the ambitious longer tracks presented on their first two albums and created a more cohesive albeit less exciting collection of nine tracks. JUST A GAME as well played as it is, sounds very much in tune with the mainstream hard rock of the era with not only the Styx and Journey sounding AOR tracks but with the bluesy rockers such as "American Girls" that remind me a lot of 38 Special and other Southern-tinged hard rock of the late 70s / early 80s turnover. Musically TRIUMPH basically sold out as JUST A GAME doesn't even feature any outstanding virtuosity of Emmett's guitar skills as heard on the previous albums however as a standard commercial sounding hard rock album of the era, all tracks are catchy and pleasurable to listen to as they are well performed, well produced and take the final step in finding their unique sound that jettisons many of the characteristics of fellow Ontario mates Rush.

While JUST A GAME may not be the most sophisticated album musically, the album cover is absolutely brilliant with the original LP vinyl version that folded out to display a giant board game that could actually be played although bassist Mike Levine convinced the band that it should be impossible to win and so it was! The futuristic looking front cover also contains a symbol that depicts every song on the album, so apparently they weren't quite ready to let go of the all the prog urges which becomes even more apparent by the short classical guitar number "Fantasy Serenade" that sounds a bit out of place actually. When all is said and done, JUST A GAME is a competent album that plays it all too safe. While commercially it was the right thing to do, it seems a little too tame in comparison to the albums that surround it. While the singles are some of the strongest TRIUMPH had to offer, the rest of the album seems a little mediocre in terms of quality. Pleasant album but not outstanding either.

3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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