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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.

Triumph – Never Surrender (MCA) 1982

1. “Too Much Thinkin” (5:34)
2. “A World of Fantasy” (5:03)
3. “A Minor Prelude” (:43)
4. “All the Way” (4:22)
5. “Battle Cry” (4:57)
6. “Overture (Procession)” (1:54)
7. “Never Surrender” (6:40)
8. “When the Lights Go Down” (5:03)
9. “Writing on the Wall” (3:34)
10. “Epilogue (Resolution)” (2:41)

Triumph CDs never seem to show up in the used bins, so when I spoted this one I snagged it I was already familiar with the title track, “Never Surrender”, and I knew I liked this song. However, once I got the disc home and popped it into the CD player, I just couldn’t get into this one like I did some of their earlier albums. There are a few standouts cuts, as in the aformentioned title track and “A World of Fantasy” as well. Overall, however, I much prefer “Allied Forces” and “Progressions of Power” over this disc.

Triumph – Allied Forces (MCA) 1981

1. “Fool for Your Love” (4:28)
2. “Magic Power” (4:48)
3. “Air Raid” (1:18)
4. “Allied Forces” (5:01)
5. “Hot Time (in this City Tonight)” (3:20)
6. “Fight the Good Fight” (6:20)
7. “Ordinary Man” (7:24)
8. “Petite Etude” [instrumental] (1:12)
9. “Say Goodbye” (4:27)

“Allied Forces” is without a doubt Triumph’s most popular album and for good reason, it’s a great album. It’s a fairly short album, with only eight real tracks clocking in at under forty minutes long. There is also short sound effects track called “Air Raid” that acts as an introduction to the screaming heavy metal title track. “Allied Forces” may be one of the band’s fastest and heaviest songs, and on of my personal favorites from the band’s catalog. Of course “Fight the Good Fight” is the band’s signature track and is still on regular rotation on classic rock stations across the globe. Rik Emmet’s vocals on this song are glass shatteringly high and still sends chills up my spine each time I hear it. “Magic Power” is another cut from this CD that became a hit for the band, and a standout track in the band’s catalog. “Petite Etude”is Emmett’s solo showcase and allowed him to flex his musical muscle and show his diverse talents. “Allied Forces” was Triumph at the top of their collective game. I can say without blinking an eye that it is one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time.

Triumph – Progressions of Power (TML Entertainment) 1980

1. I Live for the Weekend (5:18)
2. I Can Survive (4:00)
3. In the Night (6:16)
4. Nature’s Child (5:41)
5. Woman in Love (4:37)
6. Take My Heart (3:28)
7. Tear the Roof Off (4:28)
8. Fingertalkin [instrumental] (1:58)
9. Hard Road (5:22)

Progressions was somewhat of a crossroads album for this power-trio band from Canada. The band’s third release retains a certain amount of that raw and gritty sound of “Rock & Roll Machine”, but also contains some smooth, melodic arena rock which would become the band’s calling card on future releases. Drummer Gil Moore handles lead vocals on five of the eight tracks with vocals. Emmett’s high, smooth vocals are added to “In the Night”, “Take My Heart” and album closer “Hard Road”, which is also one of the albums best tracks. Actually, the album opens and closes on a high note. “I Live for the Weekend” is a fantastic anthem. “Take My Heart” is probably the weakest moment on the album, being the obligatory ballad that just isn’t one of the band’s best. “Fingertalkin” is a classical guitar instrumental, that showcases Emmett’s charismatic guitar style.

“Progressions of Power” was initially released on RCA Records and peaked at #32 on the Billboard album charts in 1980. The album was later re-released in 1985 on MCA, in 1995 on TRC and then finally remastered in 2005 and released on the band’s own TML Entertainment label.

Triumph – Just a Game (MCA) 1979

1. “Movin’ On” (4:07)
2. “Lay It on the Line” (4:02)
3. “Young Enough to Cry” (6:03)
4. “American Girls” (5:01)
5. “Just a Game” (6:13)
6. “Fantasy Serenade” [instrumental] (1:39)
7. “Hold On” (6:04)
8. “Suitcase Blues” (3:01)

With  “Just a Game” Triumph took a definite step up in quality from anything they had done before. They showcased quite a bit of diversity here, from the classy hard rock hit “Lay It on the Line” to the blues of “Young Enough to Cry” to the classically inspired instrumental ” Fantasy Serenade”. “Hold On” is a superb ballad that is does not sound like it was forced for radio play. My favorite track, however, is the title track. It’s a hard rocker with a lot of emotion and melody. Of course, “Lay It on the Line” was the big hit from this record and is one of the handful of Triumph songs that tend to still be played on rock radio thirty years later.