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Triumph

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Triumph - Just A Game [RCA Victor AYL1-4784] (10 January 1979)

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ITEM# SR-RCAYL14784
Ratings: C=VG+; LP=VG+

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Artist:

Triumph

Title:

Just A Game

Released: 10 January 1979
Label: RCA Victor
Catalog: AYL1-4784
Genre: Rock
Note: Reissue of RCA Victor AFL1-3224 and Attic Records LAT 1061


T R A C K L I S T:
01 Movin' On
02 Lay It On The Line
03 Young Enough To Cry
04 American Girls
05 Just A Game
06 Fantasy Serenade
07 Hold On
08 Suitcase Blues
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Album Review

Eduardo Rivadavia [allmusic.com]

Triumph's first worldwide release, Rock & Roll Machine, had managed to capture the attention of many hard rock and heavy metal fans (as well as some borderline prog rock nerds), but still many more remained suspicious of the Canadian power trio's similarities to that country's established elder statesmen, Rush. Thankfully, 1979's Just a Game would see Triumph taking measures (albeit discreet ones) to establish a stronger personality of their own, by relinquishing some of those progressive tendencies in exchange for a generally bluesier, unquestionably rock-based songwriting approach that eventually defined them as slightly heavier foils to their famed countrymen. Another in-house production overseen by bassist, keyboard player, and all-around peacekeeper Mike Levine, Just a Game once again balanced an equal number of compositions from dual lead singers and songwriting forces Rik Emmett (guitar) and Gil Moore (drums). But whereas the squeaky-voiced Emmett was in fine form throughout, delivering two of Triumph's best singles ever in the anthemic ''Lay It on the Line'' and the irresistibly upbeat ''Hold On,'' before scoring high marks with the majestic title track itself, many of Moore's contributions (including cornball rocker ''American Girls'' and the passable blues ''Young Enough to Cry'') suffered from an excess of musical clichés and terribly cheesy lyrics. ''Suitcase Blues'' had other problems entirely, falling flat on its easy listening face, and sounding more appropriate for the local Holiday Inn lounge than a Triumph LP. To be fair, though, these were simpler times, far removed from the cynical attitudes that would evolve after a few decades of rock & roll repetition, so modern listeners would do well to cut Moore and Triumph some slack. And what better place to start cutting slack than album opener ''Movin' On,'' whose chorus of brightly layered harmonies alluded to Chicago pomp rockers Styx, who were enjoying the peak of their popularity and influence at the time of this release. With all that in mind, it's easy to understand why Just a Game -- imperfections and all -- remains one of Triumph's best-loved and best-selling albums.


Triumph - Thunder Seven [MCA MCA-5537] (1984)

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ITEM# SR-MCMCA5537
Ratings: C=VG; LP=VG

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Artist:

Triumph

Title:

Thunder Seven

Released: 1984
Label: MCA
Catalog: MCA-5537
Genre: Rock
T R A C K L I S T:
01 Spellbound
02 Rock Out, Roll On
03 Cool Down
04 Follow Your Heart
05 Time Goes By
06 Midsummer's Daydream (Instrumental)
07 Time Canon
08 Killing Time
09 Stranger In A Strange Land
10 Little Boy Blues (Instrumental)
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Album Review

Les Barker [allmusic.com]

While I usually agree with the Allmusic critics, I couldn't disagree more where this album is concerned. In my opinion, this is Triumph's best album, and I just can't understand the lack of respect for such an excellent piece of work. It may be that they open with Spellbound, which is not one of there best rockers and I tend to overlook that because the rest of the album is so good. Starting with Rock Out, Roll On through Killing Time (7 songs); you will not find anything that Triumph did before or after that was as good. There were not many other bands at the time that could match them in progressive metal except for Rush of course, and I suppose that was always the problem. But in the end, this is a fine album.

Triumph's Biography

Greg Prato [allmusic.com]

Late-'70s/early-'80s prog metallists Triumph endured countless comparisons to Rush throughout their career, and with good reason; they were both quite similar musically and lyrically, comprised of three members each, and hailed from Canada (although it must be said that Rush were the originator, and were much more commercially successful). Formed in Toronto during 1975, the trio consisted of guitarist/singer Rik Emmett, drummer/singer Gil Moore, and bassist/keyboardist Mike Levine, and issued its self-titled debut a year later via the independent Attic label. Although the album was largely ignored, it became a favorite of a radio DJ in San Antonio, Texas, which led to a regional following solidified by a tour of the state.

The exposure also gave way to a deal with RCA Records, which reissued the debut as well as Triumph's sophomore effort, 1977's Rock & Roll Machine, which spawned the group's first semi-hit single, a cover of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way." It was also around this time that the group became known for its concerts, which relied heavily on pyrotechnics and an intricate light show (just in case their following couldn't figure this out themselves, the trio penned a track called "Blinding Light Show").

With their stock rising among hard rock fans, Triumph inked a new recording contract with MCA, which led to their most successful period both artistically and commercially. Such resulting albums as 1979's Just a Game and 1980's Progressions of Power inched the group closer to breakthrough success, which was obtained by a pair of back-to-back gold-certified albums: 1981's Allied Forces (often considered the group's best album, which spawned the hit anthem "Fight the Good Fight") and 1982's Never Surrender. Such further albums as 1984's Thunder Seven, 1985's Stages, 1985's The Sport of Kings, and 1987's Surveillance failed to meet the expectations set by Triumph's earlier releases, yet the group was able to retain its following. Come 1988, Emmett opted to leave the group to pursue a solo career, but instead of calling it a day, Moore and Levine decided to carry on with a new frontman/guitarist, while an 11-track best-of set, Classics, was issued a year after Emmett's exit.

Their first choice, ex-Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake member John Sykes, was too busy getting his project Blue Murder off the ground at the time, so the gig ultimately went to former Frozen Ghost/Aldo Nova associate Phil X (it was also around this time that the group built its own recording studio in Mississauga, Ontario, called Metalworks). The Phil X-led version of the group only managed to issue a single release, however, 1993's Edge of Excess, before Triumph split up for good. In the wake of their breakup, several archival releases popped up in record stores, such as 1995's In the Beginning and 1996's King Biscuit Flower Hour (the latter of which chronicled a 1981 concert), while Rik Emmett continued on with his solo career, issuing albums on a regular basis throughout the '90s.

In 2007, it was announced that Triumph were to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Subsequently, the original lineup of Emmett, Levine, and Moore reunited for several high-profile live shows leading up to their induction into the Hall of Fame during the 2008 Juno Awards. In 2012, the band released the DVD/CD set Live at Sweden Rock Festival, which documents Triumph's reunion concert from 2008.
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