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4 stars While this is not the typical Triumph album, not many party rockers here, this does find the band venturing into more of a progressive-metal mode here. Weightier subject matter as well as layered instruments and vocals give this album a depth this reviewer did not find again until Dream Theater's excellent Images and Words album. Do not get me wrong, Triumph is no Dream Theater; however, I would put the 1989 version of Rik Emmett up against anybody.

The songs here are strong, mature and compelling. The first 6 songs are the most "prog-like" in their approach and carry on a theme of sorts. All of them feature driving guitar and percussion as well catchy hook filled chorus'. The album then slows down on the excellent "Let the Light". This song features a multi-tracked vocal part that needs to be heard to be believed. That Rik Emmett sure can sing. The album then discards the the prog leanings and flat out jams. The rest of the album is made up of crunchy rythms, wailing leads, mid-tempo rockers and the signature Triumph instrumental.

While listeners expecting Allied Forces redux may be dissapointing, I find Rik's farewell album to be my favorite of all the Triumph records. It is a mature rock album, too bad internal strife and label pressure broke the band up, because I would have loved to hear what they could have done to follow this one up.

Report this review (#51170)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars EXCELLENT! It is funny when you find an excellent album, from time to time, which has only a very few reviews. It seems that not much people knows it. This is the case of "Surveillance". A really great original music-lyrics work, with fantastic musicians and guest like Steve Morse. Rik Emmett is not only a guitar virtuoso, but you have to check out this man singing. Has an incredible voice.My favorite part, is the acoustic guitar on "All the king´s horses", and the way the song gets in to "Carry on the flame". Favorite lyrics on "Let the light". Do not get in to the process of considering buying this one, GET IT NOW! if you still don´t have it. Play it loud if you do!
Report this review (#75652)
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Never say never

In my opinion this is easily Triumph's best album. It is a very well made album with well written songs and extremely well played instruments. It is also more consistent and varied than earlier Triumph albums. The most important factor for success here though is the departure from the blatant party rockers of earlier albums (apart from Rock You Down which is the worst song on this album).

The vocals are excellent too and remind of Steve Perry of Journey and in some songs the music does remind a bit of Journey but a bit more metal. There are more keyboards on this album than on earlier Triumph albums and sometimes they remind slightly of the keys on Marillion's excellent Seasons End album (released the same year). However, the keyboards are never allowed the leading role and there are no keyboard solos.

Steve Morse guests on the album and you can hear his signature guitar style on Headed For Nowhere. The main riff of this song has something of an Iron Maiden sound to it!

All The Kings Horses is beautiful mellow song that leads into the rocker Carry On The Flame and the melody of All The Kings Horses is repeated again towards the end of that song. Nothing groundbreaking here, but it is a very nice arrangement.

Towards the end of the album the quality of the songs decreases a bit and nothing on the second half is as good as the first half. The closing number Running In The Night reminds me of what Asia would do on their Aria album few years later.

One negative aspect of this album compared to previous ones is that there isn't the typical Rik Emmet acoustic instrumental here (like the very nice Midsummer Daydream from the Thunder Seven album, for example). There are two short instrumentals on this album, but these are only mood setters and are not interesting on their own.

Overall, I would compare the style of this album to Kansas' Power album (on which Steve Morse also played) as well as to some of the better Wishbone Ash albums on the 80's.

This is a good album that deserves three solid stars. Recommended!

Report this review (#178870)
Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars I realize that it may look like I have something against this band. Some kind of evil vendetta intended to soil their reputation. I assure you that I don't. I knew nothing specific about them until I stumbled across their group's name in the prog related list and remembered that I had some of their albums in my mp3 library. Part of me wishes I hadn't because I could've stayed blissfully ignorant of them but what's done is done. Being a lifelong musician/songwriter I take no joy in criticizing a band's output because I know all too well how difficult, frustrating and time-consuming the whole drawn out process getting from the germ of the initial musical idea to the final mastered product is. I also admire the fact that this trio stayed intact for so many years. You can't say they didn't give it a good run. However, as a reviewer it's my responsibility to call 'em as I see 'em and in some cases there will be blood. If you're a fan of this group I mean no disrespect to your taste but after listening to several of their records I'm convinced that their tie to progressive rock is negligible at best. I noticed that this particular disc, "Surveillance," is their highest rated offering on this site so I was quite ready to have my mind changed. It didn't happen. In fact, it only cemented my dislike of them.

"Prologue - Into the Forever" conjures up a palpable Pink Floyd atmosphere complete with David Gilmour-ish guitar licks from singer/guitarist Rik Emmett. Unfortunately, the downhill slide commences immediately afterward. "Never Say Never" is a useless chunk of glossy, Journey- styled hard rock that owns no originality whatsoever. It epitomizes the formulaic, vapid crap that abounded in the forgettable era that was the 80s. The aptly titled "Headed for Nowhere" is next and it features a guest appearance by Steve Morse. The hot guitar work he adds is nice but it's like smearing icing on top of a pasture patty. It was a good move to let the former Dixie Dregs virtuoso graciously try to give them a shot in the arm but his effort is wasted on an inferior tune. "All the King's Horses" follows and I must admit that the serene aura they provide is a welcome change from the same old same old but, alas, it's nothing more than a brief intro to "Carry On the Flame," a number that reminds me of some of Whitesnake's overproduced schlock but that's actually giving this band too much credit. All in all it's a poor imitation. "Let the Light (Shine on Me)" employs one of those synthesized symphonic fog backgrounds to open the track, teasing that it might turn into a proggy deal but it soon belies its true crassly commercial colors by going down an all-too-familiar road to mediocrity.

The second half of the album starts with "Long Time Gone." I guess they ran out of song titles and had to resort to stealing one from Crosby, Stills and Nash's debut LP. I apologize to my readers in advance for my repetitiveness but the fact is I'm getting low on derogatory adjectives to accurately describe something as pitifully pedestrian as this. The odd monks-in-a-monastery chant they toss in at the middle is so misplaced as to be hilarious. "Rock You Down" may be one of the worst rock & roll compositions I've ever heard. This "anthem" is presented with an astounding dearth of enthusiasm. I've heard more excitement at a chess tournament. I'll sum it up in one word: Barf. "Prelude - The Walking Dream" may be puny and anemic yet an audible expulsion of intestinal gas would sound decent in comparison to the previous track. This short instrumental interlude is a lot like the curtain raiser. "On and On" is frightfully predictable and the name conveys the sense of weariness that overcame me at this juncture. I half expected Bonnie Tyler to start singing the lead vocal on this one but I reckon that observation says volumes about the mindless demographic they were aiming to please. It occurs to me that maybe we should be thankful that pieces of feces like this flourished in that doomed decade so that brave artists like Peter Gabriel would stand out from the herd even more. "All Over Again" is a sappy, saccharine power ballad that shouldn't be listened to until your sushi dinner has fully digested else you'll be seeing it "all over again" in your lap. Ugh. They mercifully end the torture with "Running in the Night." The best thing about it is that it's the caboose on this nondescript train of empty muzak. It's awful.

Honest to God, I really did go into this one with an open mind, hoping it would turn out to be different (in a good way) from their other stuff. Once again, they disappointed. In their defense it must be noted that the airwaves were saturated with this slick brand of pop rock in 1987. So much so that it would often make a progger like me listen to talk radio to and from work to avoid being made to feel nauseated. Maybe sampling this trash will help future generations understand why the grunge movement was able to conquer the music world with such ease in the early 90s. The public was sick of this junk. "Surveillance" turned out to be the last go-round for Rik Emmett and it's just as well. Triumph was defeated. While their fellow Canadians in Rush retained their non- conformist attitude throughout their career and reaped the benefits of their tenacity by becoming one of the planet's most respected musical entities ever I have serious doubts as to whether these boys ever had a rebellious (much less progressive) gene in their collective DNA.

Report this review (#1134623)
Posted Thursday, February 20, 2014 | Review Permalink

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