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Triumph biography
TRIUMPH is usually known as the band who, in their early days at least, tried to be like RUSH. Hailing from Canada and also a trio, they initially played similar music to RUSH's early period, but much less fantasy-oriented and more AOR. They quickly moved on to standard hard rock, however. In 1977 TRIUMPH really kicked off, getting radio play and growing as a band artistically. After several lineup changes, and despite a good fan base in the hard rock community, they broke up in 1993.

Fans hard rock should like TRIUMPH as well as the fans of DREAM THEATER'S less complex more straight-ahead rock moments.

Triumph 1976
Rock & Roll Machine 1977
Just a Game 1979
Progressions of Power 1980
Allied Forces 1981
Never Surrender 1982
Thunder Seven 1984
Stages [live] 1985
The Sport of Kings 1985
Surveillance 1989
Edge of Excess 1993
In the Beginning 1995
Cleveland 1981 1996
King Biscuit Flower Hour (In Concert) 1996
Live at the US Festival 2003

Classics 1989
Living for the Weekend: Anthology 2005

Live at the US Festival 1992
A Night of Triumph 1995

Triumph official website

TRIUMPH MP3, Free Download (music stream)

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TRIUMPH Videos (YouTube and more)

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Greatest Hits Remixed (CD + DVD)Greatest Hits Remixed (CD + DVD)
TML Entertainment 2010
Audio CD$10.49
$10.31 (used)
Thunder SevenThunder Seven
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$5.61
$4.88 (used)
Allied ForcesAllied Forces
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$6.81
$5.95 (used)
Never SurrenderNever Surrender
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$5.95
$5.49 (used)
Tml Entertainment 2007
Audio CD$8.12
$4.71 (used)
Progressions of PowerProgressions of Power
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$4.52
$3.15 (used)
Rock N Roll MachineRock N Roll Machine
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$5.59
$4.99 (used)
Sport of KingsSport of Kings
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$5.60
$5.59 (used)
Just a GameJust a Game
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$5.69
$4.12 (used)
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$6.84
$6.67 (used)
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TRIUMPH discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

TRIUMPH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.61 | 19 ratings
Triumph (aka In the Beginning...)
3.36 | 31 ratings
Rock And Roll Machine
2.62 | 39 ratings
Just a Game
2.59 | 32 ratings
Progressions of Power
2.47 | 58 ratings
Allied Forces
2.48 | 36 ratings
Never Surrender
2.49 | 43 ratings
Thunder Seven
1.88 | 26 ratings
The Sport of Kings
2.87 | 27 ratings
2.50 | 9 ratings
Edge Of Excess

TRIUMPH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 12 ratings
3.00 | 6 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour (In Concert)
3.33 | 6 ratings
Live at the US Festival
2.00 | 3 ratings
Extended Versions Live

TRIUMPH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 5 ratings
Live At The US Festival
4.00 | 2 ratings
A Night Of Triumph Live
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Sweden Rock Festival

TRIUMPH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.72 | 10 ratings
3.00 | 1 ratings
Living For The Weekend
4.00 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits Remixed

TRIUMPH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Just a Game by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.62 | 39 ratings

Just a Game
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Three good songs

In my defense of Triumph as a great live band I mentioned the fact that they made some pretty mediocre studio albums. This is one. The problem with Triumph in my opinion is that no one had the apricots to tell Gil to zip it and just worry about the drums. While Gil is a decent drummer and backing vocalist who compliments Emmett's vocals well, the band suffers from the tracks he leads. I don't know how the writing arrangements break down, but I do know that the "Rik vocal songs" are the good ones generally, while the "Gil vocal songs" are usually the ultra predictable, painful bar room blues hard rockers you could hear at the corner pub. Nothing wrong with that if you like it, but I don't. It certainly hurt this band's studio output overall I would argue.

"Just a Game" delivered one huge hit (Lay It on the Line) which brought the band a ton of radio airplay but beyond that it's slim pickins'. Side 2 had two decent tracks that sound very much like some of Tommy Shaw's early contributions to Styx (Just a Game, Hold On). I would describe them as dreamy, melodic 70s rock with nice use of acoustic guitars for flavor and beautiful lead playing. Put these three fine tracks with the short acoustic Fantasy Serenade solo and you have a pretty good half album. But the other half ranges from brutal to mediocre. I think there is still enough good stuff here for *fans* of the band to add this to their collection, but I can't quite call it a "good" album overall. But if you like a song like "American Girls" (which you can preview on YT), then by all means dive in. If you like that stuff there's a good chance you'll like this album more than I.

 Thunder Seven by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.49 | 43 ratings

Thunder Seven
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Prog snobs, run along please

Nothing for you here. Unapologetic 80s rock fans, enjoy.

Triumph were a great live rock band. One look at their '83 US festival gig proves it as they blew most of their bigger-hyped contemporaries off the stage. However it's fair to say their studio albums have had their hits and misses. The typical Triumph album has about two or three great songs, two or three decent songs, and a few throwaways. But they weren't making albums to please progressive rock purists. They were making albums for suburban teenagers listening to FM rock radio. So despite the occasional "proggy" touches I doubt these guys cared much about being identified as such. Triumph are more in the Journey, Zebra, Foreigner, and Styx vein but with less keyboards, more guitar, and more rocking.

"Thunder Seven" is actually one of the better Triumph albums, in fact possibly their best. Again, assuming you don't mind typical suburban-glory hard rock with lyrical clichés beyond comical and bordering on criminal. The better material here is tasty stuff: soaring power ballads, nice little riffs and exceptional lead guitar, as well as good dual vocals. While not as original (or free of corporate considerations) as the great albums of the early 70s, these catchy, melodic hard rockers grow on you. The album has a nice flow, unlike some earlier one's derailed by some less consistent material. The first three tracks are hard punchy rock, the middle songs are soaring, uplifting songs, and the last couple sliding in a bit bluesier direction. It also features two short instrumentals to give a bit more room for Rik's wonderful guitar playing, one is acoustic and one electric. Supposedly this is a conceptual album about "the actions of the 21st century man" and the continuity of certain themes may be of interest to some. But what I really like is the joy and the instincts Rik always brings to his performance--I can hear his enthusiasm--and I think the band feeds on that and you can hear the little bits of extra punch everyone contributes. There seems to be a very fluid, natural energy to the songs on this album, I would call it a bit of their "live" feel coming through. The second half of the album in particular.

This would be a peak of sorts and is certainly as good as comparable fare from 1980s Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, Rainbow, or Robert Plant. But again, one must enjoy FM hard rock for what it is rather than judging it against bands with different creative aspirations. I was a prog snob myself for a while but upon revisiting my old musical turf I find things like Triumph, Benatar, and AC/DC as much fun as they once were. Not everything has to be difficult and cerebral. After "Thunder Seven" things began to deteriorate for Triumph. Sales were waning, the label wanted outside writers and the band began splintering. The next couple of albums would get tighter and more polished, but "Thunder Seven" remains the best combination of the band's talents and personable, everyman they still sound like they're having a lot of fun, a vibe I find missing on the next two releases.

So go ahead, roll down your window and sing along. Time is short. 7/10.

 Never Surrender by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.48 | 36 ratings

Never Surrender
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In Never Surrender we've got a hefty collection of hard-rock and almost metal that clings to the hard-rock blues of the '70's despite being surrounded by shifting musical styles. Triumph gets points for not being a party/glam band like many of their contemporaries like Motley Crue or Dokken or Ratt or (insert crappy/campy '80's hard rock band here). Songs on Never Surrender are mostly political in theme and include just enough sprinkling of artistic nuance to get them into Prog Archives... but don't go in with the wrong expectations: Triumph is a hard-rock band first. The skill and artistic merit that comes along the way seems like an after thought.

Most of the album is straight-ahead, gruff, crunchy, upbeat rock. Emmett's guitar playing, and especially his solos, are above average. If Triumph stuck to their instrumental guns they'd actually be a pretty badass band, as shown by Emmett's axe work in the ferocious "Too Much Thinking", the bluesy "Battle Cry", and especially in the extended and creative soloing in "When the Lights Go Down." It's too bad that Emmett opens his mouth to handle most of the singing, too. Never Surrender has lyrics that are acceptably bad for the genre and era, but Emmett's high, tinny, thin, frail vocals are just plain bad. If you like camp (like me), you'll actually have fun slumming along to the shrill wails, but vocals are definitely among the album's low points (drummer Gil Moore provides much better, though infrequent vocals).

The rest of the band plays quite well. While not striving for instrumental virtuosity or ear-catching moments, the rhythm section is entirely effective. The real issue with Never Surrender is that the songs just aren't much to write home about. Emmett's guitar ends up being the most memorable thing about the album, not the songs he's playing on.

The result is a fun, unchallenging yet uninsulting hard-rock release from a fun, unchallenging band. Check out the heavy bluesy guitar antics on "When the Lights Go Down," and maybe you'll agree... if you don't press the STOP button on your way there.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

 Just a Game by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.62 | 39 ratings

Just a Game
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I discovered Triumph when I was 18, about the same time that I learned about Rush and Yes. An assistant manager at the movie theater I worked at suggested that because I like these other awesome prog bands that I should check them out, too. So I picked up Just a Game, probably for $18 at the Silver Platters record store in Seattle (only after previewing them via Napster... those were the days). This may have been one of the most misguided music suggestions I've ever received; not only is Triumph not really progressive rock (at all), but they're also not anywhere near as interesting as that "other" Canadian power-trio. That being said, I still had fun with Just a Game and Triumph's other albums; they're a guilty pleasure rock band that has just enough hard rock excellence to make them worthy of discussion.

With Just a Game I think you'll find some of Triumph's best work. It's '70's era hard rock, which means its pretty awesome and genuine. The band sounds powerful, crunchy, fuzzy, and bottom-heavy. If all you need is a bit of hard rock... what more could you ask for? If you're looking for something deeper, well then you'll be skipping tracks a bit.

The opener, "Moving On" is a bland arena rocker about being on the road, sort of a required song in the repertoire of bands of this era. It's comes and goes harmlessly, though the overdubs of arena crowds cheering is a little ostentatious. "Lay it on the Line" and "Young Enough to Cry" are bluesy, heavy, and feature some good guitar work by Emmett. His playing, and the band's transitions between them and the bridges of songs, are probably the best thing you'll hear on this album.

You can just skip the trite "American Girls" for the two songs that anyone will remember about this album: "Just a Game," a slow-tempo, hard rocking crunch-fest, and the sickeningly radio-friendly and upbeat "Hold On," which is hook-laden montage material which is basically an extended version of Rush's "Closer to the Heart." It, like most of the material on this album, are just good old fashioned hard rock fun, made sort of quaint by Emmett's weak vocals. Drummer Moore's vocals are much stronger, but unfortunately he doesn't get to sing on the key songs.

So, if you're willing to take a recommendation from the burn-out assistant manager from your local cinemaplex... you'll probably find a ton to enjoy in Triumph's Just a Game! If you want a recommendation from a prog-head like me, then this is the only Triumph album you'll enjoy, but only then if you find it in the bargain bin.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 Allied Forces by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.47 | 58 ratings

Allied Forces
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Indefensibly mediocre AOR that fits right alongside the arena-rocker greats of the era (or steals from them wholesale, whichever). A lot of people compare Triumph to Rush for obvious reasons, but for me Triumph is much closer to Journey: sort of proggish in the '70's transitioning to mainstream rocking in the '80's. For some this isn't a bad thing; after all, I appreciate camp, so like this style just fine. But, in the same year that Journey put out their top selling album of all time, Escape (as does Rush, coincidentally with Moving Picture), Triumph's Allied Forces seems like that much more of a squeaky whimper that says "us too!"

So what do we get with Allied Forces? Well, if you can image a band finding unused songs by Journey, Rush, Bad Company, Styx, Foreigner, and REO Speedwagon you'll have an OK idea of what Triumph is doing here. Maybe that's a little harsh, because there's actually some excellent musicianship on this album and Rik Emmett's legacy is respectable, but Allied Forces simply sounds derivative, unambitious, and humorless. It doesn't connect with the listener, in part because of bland production that gives each song the same flat tone. Moreover, it sounds like each song was written in an attempt to satisfy a different market segment (this song is for people who like to sing along; this one is for people who like Led Zeppelin; etc.).

Standout songs like "Fight the Good Fight" and "Ordinary Man" have a few artistic crumbles to enjoy, but for each one of those one must endure the AOR pastiche heard throughout. Emmett's voice is thin and shrill which makes me wonder why he even bothers singing when his guitar work is clearly where his talent lies. Songs like "Magic Power" feel to me like they were written for an '80's movie montage, but when you hear Emmett's vocals you'll probably agree that not even Ralph Macchio or Sylvester Stallone could make them cool.

Songwriting: 1 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 1 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

 The Sport of Kings by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1985
1.88 | 26 ratings

The Sport of Kings
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Bupie

3 stars I feel really embarrassed with some of the reviews on this band. Actually, these reviews and the overall abyssal ratings detracted me from trying Triumph again after something like a thirty years hiatus. Fortunately, traveling from link to link on Youtube, I happened to stumble upon some Triumph songs and I was really surprised by how good some of these songs are. That being said, with all due respect to guideline number 5, Triumph obviously have nothing to do on this website since their music is not remotely prog and the biography doesn't give much explanation on their presence. But they are here and so I guess that they deserve a fair or at least -since musical taste is a highly subjective matter- a more open minded treatment.

The Sport of Kings is not one of Triumph most praised albums, being seen as too poppy and slick, so this is no surprise that it gets the lowest rating of all of their discography on PA. This is indeed an AOR album in the vein of Foreigner (the band that comes to my mind first), Styx or Journey, where most songs can be labeled generic of the genre. Though, as far as I am concerned, these songs, while unspectacular, make it for a pleasant listen and lay the scene for the four gems of the album. Amongst these gems, first comes Somebody's Out There, a pop tune with a catchy as hell chorus that made for an obvious single ; two tracks later arrives If Only, a great power ballad ; finally the acoustic guitar instrumental Embrujo blends with Play With The Fire, a brilliant rocker that is the longest and IMHO best song of the album. A few words can be added for the second and last single, Just One Night, a ballad that in my book went, listen after listen, from totally lame at first to an assumed guilty pleasure. I read somewhere that this is the most radio-played Triumph song, which is not necessarily a good thing for the band's fame.

Overall, I consider The Sport of Kings a solid three stars album. But I suggest that prog fans who are not allergic to heavy AOR start somewhere else with Triumph, Allied Forces being probably the safer pick.

 Live At The US Festival by TRIUMPH album cover DVD/Video, 2003
4.00 | 5 ratings

Live At The US Festival
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Fun, sun, heat, beer, and computer gurus

The US (US as in all of us, not United States) festival 1983 was a multi-day 80s juggernaut that drew over half a million people to see the likes of The Clash, Bowie, Pretenders, Stevie Nicks, U2, Van Halen, Ozzy, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Berlin, Men at Work, and many others. Financed by Apple computers bigwig Steve Wozniak, the festival's goals were not simply profit, but rather community and "evolving technology" ideals. This is a very good thing because money-wise, he lost his ass. But the kids who went to this now legendary festival had such a great time they barely seemed to notice the oppressive heat and sun, which topped 100 degrees. While a compilation DVD of the festival was released, providing 1-3 songs for each act, Triumph is one of just a few who have released their full set as a stand-alone DVD.

Triumph is often mentioned in the same breath as Rush because both are from the same area, have three members, and a high-pitched vocalist. These are superficial reasons at best and the two bands are very different. Triumph is really more like a Canadian version of Styx minus Dennis DeYoung. Triumph is what I believe Tommy Shaw would have wanted for Styx if they could have found a way to push Dennis out of the airplane. When you think of Shaw tracks like "Blue Collar Man", "Crystal Ball", and "Love in the Midnight" you realize they aren't so far away from some of Triumph's own melodic and soaring hard rock. Both bands are sometimes accused of being "cheesy" but this no longer bothers me in the least. They are more "formulaic" and radio-friendly than many "prog rock" bands but are simply out there trying to play good music, not please critics like us. Regular Joes enjoy music too and all tendencies of prog snobbery I may subconsciously harbor melt away when good hard rock is this catchy and fun. They run the gamut from longer, more elaborate tracks (not featured in this set) to slightly bluesy party rock to spirited ballads and catchy album-oriented rock. All is done with a bit more pizzazz and color than many lesser peer hard rock bands, thanks mostly to Emmett being an exceptional guitarist. It is true that they do not live up to a creative or "chops" comparison with Rush, but they never asked for it. Triumph were a pretty humble bunch of guys who had a fierce dedication to their fan base, and they to the band.

The US festival DVD captures Triumph if not at their creative album peak, which may have been a bit earlier, certainly at their peak as a live act. They leave nothing on the table. For a band who had never seen an audience this big before or since they took the stage liked they owned the place and they smoked! With only a one hour slot here they deliver eight of their most crowd pleasing tracks. They open with "Allied Forces" and have the audience eating from their hands with "Lay it on the Line," which today is still an FM radio staple. Rik Emmett was on fire that day sporting a huge grin of pure enjoyment, his voice hitting every high note with an ease Geddy hadn't managed since about '78. His guitar work was as impressive as it was aggressive, switching effortlessly from chunky rhythms to blistering leads and lightning fast scales. Their next single "Magic Power" speaks of being "young, wild, and free" which the editor chose to use for audience shots of the oceans of young California kids who were partying like Jeff Spicoli. Sadly early 80s heavy metal kids proved to be terrible dancers as all of the audience dancing shots look like Elaine's character from Seinfeld doing her tragic office convulsions.

"A World of Fantasy" was another FM radio entry at the time and this was followed by Emmett's guitar solo...yes, a proper old fashioned metal wailfest with screaming fireworks, bends, feedback, and even a quiet classical interlude bit thrown in for good measure. He and bassist Mike Levine ran across the large stage for the whole set despite the heat. Emmett and drummer Gil Moore sang very complimentary harmonies together which adds much to the Triumph sound. They finished with their excellent "Fight the Good Fight" which was crisp and heavy. It's another of several Triumph songs which feature very uplifting, positive lyrics and messages for kids. While so many bands focus on negative themes and imagery, Triumph was always trying to affirm and inspire while pushing faith, perseverance, and joy. It's pretty refreshing to me.

The last detail that makes this gig special was the fact that it was outdoors in broad daylight. Usually I like a dark stage with good lighting to showcase the band. But for this festival and this band, the bright sunshine was a perfect compliment to the smiles and no-frills set Triumph wanted that day. They nailed it despite arriving late and without the benefit of a soundcheck, Moore even had to use someone else's kit he had never seen before. I'm not a drummer, but how would you like to walk out in front of hundreds of thousands of people and sit down at a drum kit you'd never touched before? He did just fine but I'd imagine it was not ideal for him.

The audio and video quality are passable for the 80s but certainly not perfect by today's standards. It won't matter if you are just out to have fun as I was. I enjoyed the hell out of this concert and will return to it often. Special features include a short documentary, a more recent interview, and a couple of music videos. For me this is 4-stars level of DVD watching fun but for those who don't really appreciate FM-friendly hard rock, you would probably find this 3-stars tops.

 Surveillance by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.87 | 27 ratings

Triumph Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

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.

 The Sport of Kings by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1985
1.88 | 26 ratings

The Sport of Kings
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Call me a glutton for aural punishment but I assure you that I'm not a masochist. I've found that in Progland there are not only glorious peaks to admire but shadowy valleys and a lot of in-between plateaus to navigate and explore so, as a reviewer, I must honestly rate the product manufactured by its inhabitants accordingly. A few years back an assortment of albums by Triumph came into my possession and I finally got around to giving the group a listen in hopes of discovering some savory prog rock to chew on. Unfortunately I'm finding that instead of steak and lobster I'm being presented with unseasoned cauliflower and beets. I started with their '81 release, "Allied Forces," and by the final cut I thought it should've been called "Let's do what those other guys are doing" instead because rarely have I heard anything so imitative and mimicking in my life. However, being the forgiving sort that's ever willing to give artists another chance to redeem themselves (even the best lay a rotten egg from time to time) I gave their "Sport of Kings" from '86 an unbiased spin. The good news is that it's not quite as despicable as the aforementioned turd. The bad news is that the improvement is negligible.

They open with "Tears in the Rain," a pop rock song indistinguishable from the lame offerings of a thousand other groups that swarmed like flies on a week-old wildebeest carcass in the mid 80s. Think Jefferson Starship mating with Toto and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this track sounds like especially since drummer Gil Moore could've been the shrill vocalist Mickey Thomas' stand-in. "Somebody's Out There" is next and it would've fit into the soundtracks for "Footloose" or "Flashdance" perfectly. It's slick as a quart of Quaker State, formulaic to the nth degree and contains incredibly vapid lyrics that were probably jotted down on a coffee-stained Denny's napkin at the eleventh hour. Scorpions come to mind on "What Rules My Heart" and I don't mean that to be a compliment. This is a prime example of faux metal and it's so blatantly derivative as to be a disgrace. My guess is the answer to the tune's title is "an insatiable yearning for a Top 40 hit single." "If Only" follows and to that I'd add in parentheses "we had an atom of originality." I'll concede that singer/guitarist Rik Emmett owns an impressively strong set of lungs and if there'd been an American Idol competition in those days he might've made the judges drool all over themselves but maybe he was just born too soon for such a fate. As for this particular number I find no redeeming qualities to report. "Hooked on You" is as banal as its moniker suggests and even though I hate to keep making comparisons this is an obvious rip off of the "rawk" hairballs Billy Squier was repeatedly coughing up in that era. The trio tosses in a few audio tricks to try to fool us into thinking they're clever but they're woefully ineffective.

Their mutual Canadian upbringing notwithstanding, "Take a Stand" is most likely what Rush would've sounded like if they'd decided to abandon their inventive muse and chase the almighty dollar. (May we all pause for a moment and thank the prog gods they didn't.) I deem this track pathetic schlock. Moore steps back up to the mike to croon "Just One Night," a ditty that may've been written with Michael Bolton in mind. It's a pedestrian power ballad signifying nothing. Next comes a short instrumental, "Embujo," and wow, that detour into Tijuana really paid off for you guys, huh? I will grant them this, though. At least they display a modicum of inspiration even if it's only for a few minutes. "Play With the Fire" sports the tired boogie rock beat that I so despise because it unfailingly wears out its welcome in a nanosecond and then you're stuck with it for the duration. The song's words must've been assembled from a dollar store rhyming dictionary with no regard for content whatsoever. Emmett does get to show off his fretboard tapping technique at one point but it comes off cheesy and patronizing. The name they stuck on "Don't Love Anybody But Me" is as insipid as their designation as a prog-related band. This tune is so commercial that it should have a price tag hanging off it.

In their defense putting out this brand of rock & roll is the trap that a great number of their peers stepped into during that dismal decade so perhaps they simply fell victim to a fatal strain of the MTV virus that sapped them of all progressive tendencies. I have no doubt they were giving it all they had but it's like trying to make a cake without flour. A vital ingredient was missing. As I said before, they could've been leaning in a prog direction in their early years but nothing I've heard so far convinces me that they should be given the time of day by any serious progger. 0.7 stars.

 Allied Forces by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.47 | 58 ratings

Allied Forces
Triumph Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

1 stars There's a talented, daring trio hailing from Canada that's been around since forever commenced, consistently making high-quality progressive rock & roll throughout their long career while accumulating a legion of die-hard fans along the way. And then there's Triumph. If you're an admirer of theirs and consider them to be a literal bastion of prog music then you might want to stop reading right now because you aren't going to like what I have to say about this album. I know very little about Triumph other than being vaguely familiar with one of their songs that garnered some FM airplay back in the 70s, "Lay It On the Line," and coming across their various LPs while rummaging around between Traffic and The Tubes in the record store bins of that era. No one I knew was into them or ever said anything pro or con about them so they flew under my radar. When I noticed that they were listed as qualifiers for this esteemed site it occurred to me that perhaps I missed out on hearing some decent prog by never paying them any attention. They wouldn't be the first band I've overlooked and even though the aforementioned radio tune never struck me as particularly proggy it didn't mean it wasn't an unrepresentative anomaly. I mean, it wouldn't be fair to judge Genesis' catalog of work by "Follow You, Follow Me" would it? I picked "Allied Forces" because I figured that by the time they recorded their fifth record they'd most likely have honed their craft to the point where they felt very comfortable in the studio environment and should be making some of their best music accordingly. To say I was disappointed is putting it way too mildly. There's absolutely no prog to be found on this disc. Not a speck. In fact, listening to it turned out to be like playing some kind of parlor game titled "Guess The Band They're Trying To Sound Like On This Cut!"

Any tune that sports the unimaginative, pedantic moniker of "Fool For Your Love" is hinting that it's not going to be something along the lines of a complex King Crimson number. This opening song is a case of bad Bad Company and my immediate reaction was that it was probably written on the road in a Podunk, Iowa motel room in about ten minutes tops. It's pedestrian, middle-of-the-road fare akin to what you've heard a thousand times before from as many groups. "Magic Power" is next and it's a blatant Journey imitation. It's about as authentic as a gold Rolex watch purchased on a street corner. I find nothing original whatsoever to report and I'm kinda surprised that they weren't sued for plagiarism. The short segue item that is "Air Raid" follows and it's so predictably patronizing as to be humorous. As the title implies, it comes complete with sirens wailing atop some general mayhem sound effects and ends with a metallic thud. "Allied Forces" mimics Deep Purple semi-accurately sans the intensity. By this juncture I can't help but think of those fancy golf courses they're building these days where every hole is intentionally designed to be a replica of one of the more famous ones on the PGA tour so that a middle-of-the-road player can get a second-rate taste of the real thing. Don't get me wrong, the musicianship I'm hearing is passable but it's nothing that you can't hear on any given Saturday night at your local biker bar. "Hot Time (In This City Tonight)" is as boring and unimaginative as the name implies. I guess they added the parentheses' because it looked cool or something. Here they ape any one of a half dozen Southern-styled boogie outfits that flourished in that timeframe by cranking their amps up to eleven and bellowing out some rhyming lines about how much crazy fun they're going to have while getting wasted with their bubbas. Holy crap this is so lame!

"Fight the Good Fight" proves that even Led Zeppelin wasn't immune from being ripped off by these desperate dudes. By the way, fellas, using a synthesizer doesn't make you progressive. On this cut it appears that singer Rik Emmett is trying to out-screech his northern territory rival, Geddy Lee. Ugh. "Ordinary Man" is counterfeit Styx, complete with big stacked vocal harmonies and a lot of low-brow political posturing crammed into the lyrics. This is so contrived and amateurish that it's embarrassing to listen to. Next is "Petite Etude." If there's a bright spot in this morass of mediocrity it's this little acoustic guitar piece that's the equivalent of a colorful toadstool growing out of a cow pie. It succeeds mainly due to bassist Mike Levino and drummer Gil Moore taking the day off and not being in the studio to screw it up. That's my guess, anyway. "Say Goodbye" is the last tune and I couldn't have put my sentiments more succinctly than the title does. The number is so generic that it defies identification as to whom they're trying to copy this time around. I'll put it this way. If you were to combine all the hair bands that were yet to come along in the 80s into a musical melting pot and have a song appear this is what it'd taste like. Bland to the point of being nausea-inducing. Considering that this record was released in 1981 it might be reasonable to blame Triumph for all the banal power ballads that inundated the industry for the rest of the decade. That might be stepping over the line of decency, though. That's a brutal accusation on my part so I take it back. You can decide for yourself as to who started that ball rolling.

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, it could be that they started out as a progressive band in '75 but abandoned it long before they got around to recording "Allied Forces." In their defense they sold over a million copies of this album and it reached #23 on the LP chart so they no doubt filled a few arena seats because of it and, according to what I found on the web, they're still a working entity with a loyal following traipsing the state fair circuits. I have no beef with these boys per se but when they're put up on the Progarchives dartboard and labeled worthy of inclusion then they're also qualified to be shot at. My only goal is to warn proggers who, like me, might be tempted to check this disc out in hopes of discovering something intriguing that they should spend their time looking elsewhere. To think that a group can manufacture a hit song simply by imitating what others have achieved is folly but it sounds like Triumph was trying to do just that. This is as intentionally derivative as anything I've ever come across and I hope I never have to sit through it again. 0.5 stars.

Thanks to Tony R for the artist addition.

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