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THUNDER SEVEN

Triumph

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Triumph Thunder Seven album cover
2.39 | 36 ratings | 7 reviews | 11% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spellbound (5:14)
2. Rock Out, Roll On (5:17)
3. Cool Down (4:50)
4. Follow Your Heart (3:35)
5. Time Goes By (6:02)
6. Midsummer's Daydream (1:40)
7. Time Canon (1:33)
8. Killing Time (4:17)
9. Stranger in a Strange Land (5:13)
10. Little Boy Blues (3:38)

Total Time: (40:51)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Rik Emmett / guitar, vocals
- Michael Levine / bass, keys
- Gil Moore / drums, vocals

Releases information

2004 CD TRC #78007

Thanks to Retrovertigo for the addition
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TRIUMPH Thunder Seven ratings distribution


2.39
(36 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (19%)
19%
Collectors/fans only (28%)
28%
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)
8%

TRIUMPH Thunder Seven reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars I hate to come down so hard on these guys, but if Triumph are going to be included on this site, they need to come under serious scrutiny. I don't even intend to judge them as a prog band (after all, they are placed in the prog-related category), but on their own merits.

Side 1 offers up 3 songs that veer uncomfortably between wimpy AOR and watered- down lite-metal. The other song on the side, "Cool Down", is a 3rd rate Led Zeppelin-ish rocker, having no more reason to exist than Fastway and Kingdom Come (two other bands who borrowed liberally from L.Z.). There's no real ambition to write original tunes, as many of these ideas sound very familiar, even if FM radio rock isn't your thing. The only difference is that these songs never wore out their welcome on radio.

The second side doesn't get any better. "Time Goes By" shows Rik Emmett sounding very close to Geddy Lee, vocally, and though he always got the comparisons, sometimes it was unfair to both men. Not here. The song is actually the best on the album, with an ambitious arrangement and excellent guitar solo, but it's a dim light in a mire of terrible songs. Two shorts segues follow: a classical guitar exercise, and the a capella "Time Canon", which might've been impressive if we hadn't heard this done a million times better by Gentle Giant (and Queen in "The Prophet Song"). And that's where the prog relation begins and ends, as the final three tracks take us back to the genericness of the first side.

There's so much talent here, but I'm sorry, I just don't "get" Triumph and I probably never will. I've come into contact with their music several times in the last 25 years and I have to sympathize with Rush that this Canadian trio used to get dubbed as a "poor man's Rush" from some critics...that's just insulting to Rush. The album cover's pretty cool though.

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Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is probably among the Triumph's best ones! It is a sophisticated hard rock that is nevertheless quite accessible. Regarding the question "Is this record progressive?", it is obviously not really progressive, although there are some very light prog related elements. The lead singer has a tone between Journey's Steve Perry and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant. Speaking of Journey, I think the overall music has resemblances too; it also sounds a bit like hard rock band Night Ranger, at least the bass and the backing vocals arrangements. There are some good background synthesizers and the drums patterns are often varied and fast: those 2 elements certainly avoid this record to abruptly fall into a deja vu hard rock style. Some acoustic guitar bits again bring some variety to the whole: for instance, the acoustic instrumental track "Midsummer's Daydream" proves that Rik Emmet is a VERY talented guitarist. The impressive "Time Canon" reminds a simplified Gentle Giant's vocals canon. The 2 next songs are very slightly progressive, and the record finishes with a very good sentimental bluesy track with very impressive & insistent guitar solos.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
1 stars I was stuck at a stoplight today and had the car window down trying to enjoy a gorgeous afternoon. The guy in the car next to me also had his window down, and was lip-synching away to his CD player, out of which was blaring “Spellbound”. Took me back all the way to my college days when this album came out and I had to listen to several of these songs on the only half-decent radio station in our town at the time. I realized that I hadn’t played it in over twenty years, and considering the totally crappy day I had today and fighting the desire to throw myself in front of a train, I decided to throw on my very old copy of Thunder Seven instead. After that I find myself thinking that there are still a couple of trains that run yet tonight.

“Spellbound” always struck me as rock-in-a-can, even back in the 80s. Rik Emmett has by far the most annoying metal voice I’ve ever heard, and he seems to have no real ability to stay in tune for more than a couple of notes in a row. Also, I get the impression these guys are mouthing the timing of the tempo to each other in studio when they record, or at least that’s the way this plodding song sounds.

“Rock Out, Roll On” – well, ‘nuff said.

On “Follow Your Heart” Emmett's voice is actually sort of okay for the most part, probably because he shares the vocals with drummer Gil Moore who makes Emmett sound good. The sentiment of the lyrics is pretty typical Triumph stuff – chip on the shoulder, go kick ass in the world and don’t let 'the man' deny you your dreams. Yeah team – go, fight, win! The random high-hat cymbals just seem gratuitous, and the bass has no synchronization with the rest of the song at all.

I guess “Time Goes By” is supposed to be the sort-of ballad, with strangled-cat harmonized vocals and occasional mellow passages, but the overall theme seems to be ‘I’m getting old and I need a chick’ or something to that effect. Nice little guitar solo in the middle though – props to Emmett for that.

“Midsummer’s Daydream” is a brief respite from the onslaught, where Emmett treats us to a short acoustic instrumental that I felt like copying a dozen times or so and using to overwrite the rest of the cassette. “Time Canon” is some sort of barbershop quartet lame knockoff of Spock’s Beard’s “June” I guess, but it’s so out of place and abrupt it actually creeped me out the first couple times I heard it.

“Stranger in a Strange Land” starts off as a pretty decent blues rocker, but for some inexplicable reason someone turns on Emmett’s mike and it pretty much goes downhill from there. There’s a part in the middle of this where he tries to hold a sustained screech of a vocal and my cats actually drag themselves off the floor and leave the room. Both of them!

“Little Boy Blues” is a pretty decent soft bluesy instrumental to close the album. Like “Midsummer’s Daydream”, if the boys would have just extended this to the length of the whole album then the thing would have been a much better offering, perhaps even listenable.

As it is, I know that many fans of the band believe this to be their best studio work. I agree. One star.

peace

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Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars If only the music was as great as the cover art!

Thunder Seven is, as its title implies, Triumph's seventh studio album. It is a very uneven album with some good moments and many that can be described as mundane and generic. Thunder Seven is also one of Triumph's most eclectic albums. Spellbound has a rather commercial sound with a catchy chorus clearly geared towards radio play. Rock Out, Roll On could perhaps have been a better song than it is with a better chorus and particularly with better lyrics. The lyrics are deadly uninteresting and standard on almost the whole album. Cool Down is a bluesy rocker that sounds like a total Led Zeppelin rip off. The vocals even sound very much like Robert Plant. Like in Led Zeppelin's music there is also a slight Folk influence manifested here in an acoustic break.

Next up is a Pop Metal song with a forgettable chorus and, again, basic Rock 'N' Roll lyrics. All these straightforward Hard Rock songs are becoming quite tiresome at this point and anyone who would have given up on Thunder Seven after its first four songs might be forgiven. But it gets better! Time Goes By is actually a very good song and here the vocals strongly evoke Steve Perry of Journey. Still even this song will probably not impress the average Prog Rock fan despite its strong melody and its Ritchie Blackmore-like, Neo-Classical solo! Still, it is easily the album's best song.

You cannot accuse Triumph of being original as they often sound like other bands. But they do have a tendency to surprise you when you least expect it! The can create whole albums of boring Hard Rock and then, suddenly, glimpses of creativity and progressive attitude flashes by. On this album these bright moments are represented first by Rik Emmet's Midsummer's Night Dream which is a gorgeous acoustic guitar piece that could have been written and played by Steve Howe or Steve Hackett. This is followed with Time Canon which is an a cappella number full of Queen/Gentle Giant-like harmony vocals! This then leads into the average semi-ballad Killing Time. This song would have fitted perfectly on one of Journey's worst albums! Stranger In A Strange Land is another quite good song with good guitar work and vocals, even the lyrics are decent here. But again, this will certainly not blow the Prog fan away. The album ends with the bluesy instrumental Little Boy Blues.

With several songs about time, you might perhaps say that this album is partly a very loose concept album about time. It has a few good songs and a few short moments showing a progressive mindset. Sadly, the large majority of the material is straightforward and mundane Hard Rock numbers. Triumph never made a great album, but they made better ones than Thunder Seven, both before and after.

Only for fans and collectors

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Review by FragileKings
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It's a pity to see Triumph on this esteemed site, a pity because for all the talent in the band and greatness in the music there is hardly a shred of progressive music to be found in their catalogue, aside from Rik Emmett's classical guitar compositions and a few other musical tricks here and there. Triumph are mostly a commercial hard rock band. That they were ever compared to Rush or considered to be competition to Rush is sillier than the Judas Priest/Iron Maiden fiasco of the early 80's. The two bands are quite distinct and Rush clearly followed the more progressive path while Triumph built their style on their strengths as a hard rock band.

"Thunder Seven" was released around the time I was first considering giving Triumph a listen and I remember a review in a rock magazine describing the guitar at the beginning of the opening track, "Spellbound" as "having all the subtleties of a rusty chainsaw". Indeed, "Spellbound" aimed at hitting the listener with a very typical but exciting hard rock song that by all expectations was to go down well with concert audiences. All of side one, in fact, comes across very much as a classic commercial hard rock album, as if Triumph had taken all they had learned from their past composing and recording experiences and tried to make it work for the big money and a bigger fan base. The album was a huge success for the band, and the inspire-the-teens rocker, "Follow Your Heart" was the monster single that propelled the band into Pepsi commercials after Michael Jackson got his 'fro toasted.

So side one is pretty much Triumph at their commercial hard rock best, and there is nothing here that would please anyone looking for that special musical twist that opens the doors to the progressive realm. Not even Emmett's acoustic slide guitar solo in the much derided Zeppelin-esque tune "Cool Down" can save this album on this site.

But side two looks more promising. Here's where the band quite likely came the closest to doing anything visionary. Consider the mini pseudo-suite of the time-themed songs: "Time Goes By," "Time Canon," and "Killing Time" with what is possibly Emmett's best classical composition ever, "Midsummer's Daydream" nestled in there. Most reviewers here agree that either "Time Goes By" or "Killing Time" are at least decent hard rock songs, and I think "Time Canon" shows the band attempting to exploit their vocal harmony capacity. Is it a rip off of Queen or Gentle Giant? Maybe the inspiration came from there but I don't think Triumph were out to take any credit for mimicking. In an interview at the time, Rik Emmett (who has an extensive musical background) said he suggested the idea to the other two members and was met with dubious looks and cocked eyebrows. I think it was a wonderful touch to an otherwise commercially oriented album.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" takes us out of the time pseudo-suite and back to the hard rock feel of the album but with a little more attention to the vocal and instrumentation atmosphere. In other words, they are looking away from the top of the hard rock pops approach that dominated side one.

The album closer is a carefully composed electric blues instrumental, "Little Boy Blues", for which some reviewers (bless them for their opinions) have offered little appreciation. I personally love this piece. There is mood, mood change, emotion and soul in the guitar playing, and the rest of the band do well to make this a wonderful and intelligent instrumental (I always listen for the drum solo break!). It seems that while Triumph were aiming to capture the commercial hard rock market with this album, they were also attempting to stretch out a little more than previously. Perhaps if they had continued to explore more progressive ideas they may have eventually become a real heavy-prog band. Instead they went for the more commercial approach on their next album, "The Sport of Kings".

I once laughed at a friend for buying the same cassette twice because he loved it so much, but there are now several albums in my collection that I have bought three times, first on cassette in the 80's, then on CD in the 90's, and then on remastered CD in the 00's and 10's. "Thunder Seven" by Triumph is one of those albums. It has always remained a favourite of mine (even though I don't listen to it often) because this was where I felt Triumph were making an effort to go beyond the standard commercial hard rock format. I give it 4.5 stars as a rock album. But as for a prog rock album I agree that more than 2 stars is pushing it. I am, however, glad to see a couple of people have rated it higher. Bless them for their opinions!

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Latest members reviews

2 stars Triumph is not prog. Let's just get that out there right now. Maybe they should be on this site, maybe they shouldn't. I'm not going to let an argument of "what is prog?" get in the way of reviewing this album though. Here's what you need to know: Triumph is essentially a mix of Led Zeppelin and ... (read more)

Report this review (#263849) | Posted by KansasRushDream | Monday, February 01, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Some guys may think that I'm exaggerating giving this album 4 stars, but believe me, I'm not!!! This is what the best we can find in Art Rock: songs perfectly executed, full of emotion and with a fine touch of Prog Rock here and there... The combination of the melodic voice of Rik Emmett and t ... (read more)

Report this review (#51365) | Posted by herbie53 | Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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