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TRIUMPH

Prog Related • Canada


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Triumph picture
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.

STUDIO ALBUMS:
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

COMPILATIONS:
Classics 1989
Living for the Weekend: Anthology 2005

VIDEO:
Live at the US Festival 1992
A Night of Triumph 1995

Triumph official website

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TRIUMPH Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy TRIUMPH Music


Triumph - Greatest Hits RemixedTriumph - Greatest Hits Remixed
CD+DVD
TML Entertainment 2010
Audio CD$18.43
ClassicsClassics
Tml Entertainment 2007
Audio CD$11.53
$8.45 (used)
Allied ForcesAllied Forces
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$12.99
$8.09 (used)
Just a GameJust a Game
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$9.99
$4.04 (used)
Never SurrenderNever Surrender
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$9.50
$5.24 (used)
Rock N Roll MachineRock N Roll Machine
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$8.99
$8.88 (used)
Progressions of PowerProgressions of Power
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$8.58
$8.84 (used)
Thunder SevenThunder Seven
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2004
Audio CD$5.77
$6.69 (used)
In the BeginningIn the Beginning
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$7.47
$7.46 (used)
SurveillanceSurveillance
Remastered
Tml Entertainment 2005
Audio CD$7.58
$6.70 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
The Jacksons - Triumph Epic 1980 Classic original LP USD $18.04 [0 bids]
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TRIUMPH Follow Your Heart/Stranger 45 RPM 1984 MCA Records EX [RED vinyl] USD $8.00 Buy It Now
TRIUMPH PROGRESSIONS OF POWER MCA1453 LP Gv0048 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
55s
Triumph - Surveillance CASSETTE TAPE MCA 1987 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 4m 45s
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Triumph Stages Vinyl Record Album 1985 MCA 2 - 8020 Promotional Live 2 Lp USD $14.98 Buy It Now 19m 56s
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1h 50m
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1h 56m
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More places to buy TRIUMPH music online Buy TRIUMPH & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
TRIUMPH has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

TRIUMPH discography


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

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

2.69 | 22 ratings
Triumph [Aka: In The Beginning]
1976
3.46 | 37 ratings
Rock And Roll Machine
1977
2.67 | 46 ratings
Just A Game
1979
2.60 | 35 ratings
Progressions Of Power
1980
2.49 | 61 ratings
Allied Forces
1981
2.50 | 39 ratings
Never Surrender
1982
2.50 | 45 ratings
Thunder Seven
1984
1.89 | 28 ratings
The Sport Of Kings
1986
2.89 | 29 ratings
Surveillance
1987
2.53 | 10 ratings
Edge Of Excess
1992

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

3.22 | 14 ratings
Stages
1985
3.00 | 7 ratings
King Biscuit Flower Hour (In Concert)
1996
3.31 | 7 ratings
Live at the US Festival
2003
2.25 | 4 ratings
Extended Versions Live
2006

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

4.03 | 6 ratings
Live At The US Festival
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
A Night Of Triumph Live
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Sweden Rock Festival
2012

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

2.72 | 10 ratings
Classics
1989
3.00 | 1 ratings
Living For The Weekend
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
Greatest Hits Remixed
2010

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

TRIUMPH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Just A Game by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.67 | 46 ratings

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Just A Game
Triumph Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

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

 Rock And Roll Machine by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.46 | 37 ratings

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Rock And Roll Machine
Triumph Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

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.

 Triumph [Aka: In The Beginning] by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.69 | 22 ratings

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Triumph [Aka: In The Beginning]
Triumph Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars Personally i think the band TRIUMPH is a tad underrated in the footnotes of history and part of this reason is that they get tagged as a Rush wannabe band and to be honest the comparisons are quite warranted in many ways. First of all, they were a power trio consisting of a bassist and keyboardist (Mike Levine), drummer (Gil Moore) and while in this case it was guitarist who was the lead singer (Rik Emmett) he actually sounded kind of like a less goofy yelping version of Geddy Lee. Not to mention that they also emerged in the Toronto area of Canada about the same time AND to be fair there is very much on their debut album that really does sound like the first Rush album. Originally album number had an eponymous title but was retagged in 1996 as IN THE BEGINNING with an entirely new album cover. The album was pretty much limited to Canada in those days but is now easily available with a recent remastered version emerging.

While the band would grow musically and become both notable for their catchy hard rock bordering on heavy metal melodies as well as for their AOR radio with Rik Emmett's high pitched vocals creating a distinct mark on the world of hard rock, on IN THE BEGINNING they sound very much like a 70s hard rock band. The album kicks off with a bluesy hard rocker that sounds a bit like a hard Alice Cooper bluesy shuffle with a party all night Kiss attitude. Yeah, the lyrics on this one weren't too developed at this point and are a little focused on teenage obsessions such as partying all night! Love! Easy living! And of course rock 'n roll. Many of the tracks sound like they could have fit right in on Rush's debut release and the influence is undeniable and understandably so given time and place however TRIUMPH-isms do exist like Emmett's signature guitar solos sounding nothing like Alex Lifeson's and their riffing while similar is still all their own. "Let Me Get Next To You" however is a little too close to early Rush territory for its own good sounding like "Finding My Way."

"Don't Take My Life" sounds a bit like "I'm 18" from Alice Cooper and simultaneously a bit like "All Along The Watchtower" by Hendrix showing a couple more influences in the mix. The most interesting track that deviates from the blues and hard rock queue is the near nine minute closer "Blinding Light Show / Moonchild" which sounds completely different from the other tracks. It begins with a hard rock Celtic type of jig but completely shifts gears and becomes a spacey Pink Floyd sounding acoustic arpeggio run and really sounds like something off of "The Wall" a full three years before that album was released! It has a rock chorus but evolves into a beautiful classical guitar sequence that gets quite accomplished thus the type of track that often gets them in progressive rock related territory.

While not completely finding their own distinct sound quite yet, IN THE BEGINNING is a well performed debut that is a pleasure to listen to. Emmett had some of the best vocals in the world of hard rock and AOR and TRIUMPH sort of was a much more sophisticated version of Journey rather than a mere Rush clone at least after the first couple albums. On this one they do sound a lot like early Rush but that's not a bad thing for me since i happen to love the early Rush albums before they blossomed into prog behemoths. While TRIUMPH albums have traditionally suffered poor production values and neglected due to the fact that despite finding some success never really hit the big time either but the new remastered releases sound excellent like they were made for modern day consumption. Even if 70s hard rock isn't your thing, i highly recommend the closing track for prog heads however if you do fancy bluesy heavy rock from that era, TRIUMPH's first album is quite the pleasant listening experience.

3.5 rounded down

 Just A Game by TRIUMPH album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.67 | 46 ratings

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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
2.50 | 45 ratings

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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 dynamic....plus 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
2.50 | 39 ratings

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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
2.67 | 46 ratings

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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
2.49 | 61 ratings

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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, 1986
1.89 | 28 ratings

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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
4.03 | 6 ratings

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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.

Thanks to Tony R for the artist addition.

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