Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Triumph - The Sport Of Kings CD (album) cover




Prog Related

1.98 | 33 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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.

Chicapah | 1/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this TRIUMPH review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.