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Triumph –  Surveillance (MCA) 1987

1.   Prologue: Into The Forever (1:01)
2.   Never Say Never (3:36)
3.   Headed For Nowhere (6:07)
4.   All The King’s Horses (1:47)
5.   Carry On The Flame (5:14)
6.   Let The Light (Shine On Me) (5:33)
7.   Long Time Gone (5:10)
8.   Rock You Down (3:57)
9.   Prelude: The Waking Dream [instrumental] (1:13)
10. On And On (3:49)
11. All Over Again (3:57)

Triumps’s “Surveillance” is a slickly produced, radio rock album and is a departure from the heavier rock of everything up and through “Allied Forces”. Whereas some band’s benefit from a slick production, I think Triumph were a better band when they had a rawer sound. The band also adds more keyboards to this album as well. However, all that is not to say that “Surveillance” is a bad album. I also preferred the rawer, harder rocking Whitesnake albums to the far more popular and slickly produced mid-80’s albums. The more commercial approach worked well for Whitesnake. It should have worked well for Triumph as well because “Surveillance” is chock full of songs ripe and ready for radio play. “Never Say Never” is almost a power-pop tune with a cool intro in the form of “Prologue: Into the Forever”. Listening to this song I can only imagine how heavy it would have been had the guitars been turned up and the keyboards minimized. Still, a very cool song that could have been a hit. Though I’ve never been a huge fan of ballads, “All Over Again” is a good song and again could easily have been a hit on the level of “Is This Love” and “Honestly”. The song features one of Gil Moore’s best vocal performances. Once again, the approach worked for Whitesnake, but it shall forever be a mystery as to why it didn’t work for Triumph. Rik Emmett lets loose on some smokin’ guitar solos on this album and his vocals are as great as they have ever been. It’s just unfortunate that the rock and roll machine was hidden behind a layer of gloss and keyboards. Still, not a bad record.

the songs: Prologue: Into The Forever / Never Say Never / Headed For Nowhere / All The King’s Horses / Carry On The Flame / Let The Light (Shine On Me) / Long Time Gone / Rock You Down / Prelude: The Waking Dream / On and On / All Over Again / Running In The Night

Golly if this isn’t a good album. Widely blasted as the limp into the sunset by Canada’s other premiere rock trio. Rik, Mike, and Gil put out a collection of polished rock tunes that still sound good. I always wanted to like Triumph more than I did. Rik Emmett is a great guitar player and has that tweeter voice that cuts through almost anything. Perhaps if they’d waited more than a few months more rather releasing this hot on the heels of The Sport of Kings this album would be viewed as more than an after thought. There are some great songs such as “Let The Light (Shine On Me)”, “On and On”, and my favourite “Headed For Nowhere”, which features some great interplay between Rik and Steve Morse. After thirteen years this baby still cooks (and cleans and does dishes).

Triumph: Surveillance (remaster)

Considered one of the weakest Triumph albums by many fans, 1987’s Surveillance was guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett’s swan song with the band. Despite the negative reviews and lackluster sales, Surveillance still boasts a few exceptional tracks, as well as a few guitar solos from guest Steve Morse.

Let’s get the Morse tunes out of the way first. “Headed for Nowhere” is a red-hot rocker sung by drummer Gil Moore that sees Emmett trading blazing solos with the Dixie Dregs guitarist. This cut is the albums longest at just over six-minutes and features great hooks, keyboards (handled by Dave Tkaczuk on this album instead of Mike Levine), muscular yet intricate rhythm guitar work, and of course that classic duel between Emmett and Morse. Steve returns once again for some gentle acoustic work on “All the Kings Horses”, although all too briefly as the song clocks in at under two-minutes. Other standout tracks include the catchy metal numbers “Never Say Never” and ‘Carry On the Flame”, as well as the thunderous “Rock You Down”, which features some wild guitar solos from Emmett. However, there are too many generic pop rockers here, such as “On and On”, “Long Time Gone” , or the sappy “Running in the Night”, to bring this release up to par with some of the albums that came before it. Even the catchy pop tune “All Over Again” ulimately fails, as the band for some reason decided to put all the mellower songs at the back end of the CD, which no doubt turned off fans of their harder edged material, and prompted many to hit the Stop button mid-way through the album.

Still, if you are a fan of this album, the remastering process has done wonders to it, as the sound is big and bright, the guitars and keyboards brimming with new found clarity.
Track Listing
1. Prologue: Into The Forever
2. Never Say Never
3. Headed For Nowhere
4. All The King’s Horses
5. Carry On The Flame
6. Let The Light (Shine On Me)
7. Long Time Gone
8. Rock You Down
9. Prelude: The Waking Dream
10. On And On
11. All Over Again
12. Running In The Night

When this album was released, some fans thought it be a strange album, and for others it was their instant favourite. This album certainly brought out many sides of Triumph, as people and musicians. Includes classics such as Long Time Gone, Never Say Never, Rock You Down.