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Triumph - Never Surrender CD (album) cover




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2.64 | 56 ratings

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3 stars My Triumph trilogy

Triumph is one of those bands which officially sanctioned "proggers" feel the need to debase, when in reality the band has always been a feel-good hard rock band who I'm sure doesn't pine for the approval of we, the musical Asgard. How some folks see fit to trash this band with one-star reviews is beyond me. Triumph always struck me as similar to what Styx would sound like without Dennis DeYoung, if it were led by Tommy Shaw and James Young alone as it is today. Just good quality suburban hard-rock, surviving the era of bad clothes and big hair with respectable musicianship and grueling tour constitutions. But these days, revisionism is huge in all areas of life, so I shouldn't be surprised.

I think the one-two-three punch of Allied Forces/Never Surrender/Thunder Seven marks what is probably my personal highpoint for the group. Everything seems just a bit more cohesive, planned, polished, and executed. The live Triumph were at the absolute peak of their power in this period as proven in the 1983 US Festival performance, which you should own on DVD if you like this band to any measurable degree.

They still don't deviate far, unfortunately, from their template of several bar-rock hard bluesy tunes sung by Gil, to Rik's more grandiose anthemic tracks, with the cherry on whip cream short acoustic guitar number stuck in there (not unlike what Steve Howe did with stuff like The Clap.) The album is on par with the previous and the latter, although on most days, it is probably my least played of the three. The title track is a great song and the acoustic interludes are beautiful. It boasted a couple of high-charting Billboard singles, with "A World of Fantasy" being a standout track. It and the title track have that big epic Rik song style vibe that became the hallmark of Triumph in this period, even if it wasn't quite comparable to the attempts to pass this band off as another Rush (they never were or tried to be.) Still, good vibes duly noted, three stars is definitely the best I can do with Never Surrender.

For anyone remotely interested in checking out Triumph, who has no previous experience with this Canadian hard-rock juggernaut, the place to start is their full, spectacular performance at the US Festival, which is available on both CD and DVD. That is the day they arguably blew their peers away. THAT is Triumph at their finest. They never quite translated that same ferocity to their studio work, most of which is three stars at best. Still, suburban kids of the late 70s and early 80s will remember Triumph as a really good band they enjoyed at the rink or arcade, and they frankly couldn't give a whiz what the cerebrals in the "progressive community" think. Nor should you. Carry on, kiddos, and pass it this way.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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