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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Triumph

Live At Sweden Rock Festival

Review by Gary Hill

There were always a lot of sides to the Triumph sound and different aspects seem to dominate during different periods of the group’s history. When this concert was recorded, they were leaning more towards the heavy metal side and it shows in the performance. That’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean that the other elements of their sound weren’t presented. It just means that this live recording lands closer to the heavy metal end of the spectrum than a lot of their other stuff does. All in all, this is a solid recording and it even comes with a bonus DVD. That’s what I call “value.”

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
When The Lights Go Down

This pounds in and I am immediately reminded how metallic (real metal) Triumph could be at times. It’s a killer tune that might be missing some of the finesse of Triumph but makes up for it with sheer “oomph!” Comparisons to Rush are always common with Triumph and the guitar solo section here does compare to early Rush in a lot of ways.

Lay It On The Line
Powering in with more of that metallic edge, this drops to an almost jazzy sound before getting into the magical ballad-like section. When it turns to the more rocking sound, it seems a bit slow to me, but this cut really works well here.
Allied Forces
The metal side is back in force here, and it’s very much in a technical metal vein. This is another screamer that’s quite cool.
Never Surrender
I like this song a lot, both in terms of the cool, hard rocking yet proggy sound and in terms of the positive, tenacious nature of the lyrics. The only thing is, it seems too similar in sound and lyrical theme to “Fight the Good Fight” to me. All that said, they do a great job of capturing it live here, with the balance between mellower and harder edged working nicely.
I Live For The Weekend
There is definitely more of a party metal vibe to this cut. It works well, and just plain rocks.
Blinding Light Show
This is one of my favorite cuts of the whole set. There’s an epic nature to it and the contrast between mellow and harder rocking is magic. The vocal performance is one of the best of the set. This just works so well here. At over ten-minutes in length, this is the most extensive piece here and at times, it’s almost progressive rock.
Rocky Mountain Way
Here Triumph covers Joe Walsh. They do a cool version that stays pretty close to the original for most of the duration. There’s a more standard Triumph sound on the jam that they end it with, though.
Magic Power
Here’s another Triumph classic delivered in a strong live performance.
Rock & Roll Machine
This song always reminded me of the first Rush album, but here it has a bit of a more raw metal edge. It’s a real rocker and while not one of my favorite Triumph tunes, works pretty well here. Of course, they take it into some different directions later. First, there’s a bit where they play “Hall of the Mountain King.” Then they take it into “Hocus Pocus” by Focus. They just keep working through different things as it continues from there.
Fight The Good Fight
I’ve always considered this the unofficial theme song of my life. This thing is a killer rocker with one of the most positive messages of any cut I’ve ever heard. They deliver a smoking hot live rendition here.
 
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