Triumph - Just a Game / Allied Forces
There are many reasons for reviewing two classic Triumph albums. First of all the original line-up of Rik Emmett, Mike Levine and Gil Moore has reformed after a two-decade absence. Second the Canadian Music Hall of Fame is to induct Triumph at the 2008 Juno Awards. Third the band is scheduled to perform at this year Sweden Rock Festival.
The Canadian trio was formed in 1975 and soon Triumph build a fan base in Canada by touring. The band became increasingly notorious for their live performances and their reputation earned them several gigs in the US as well.
In the 1980'ies Triumph released some high profile records like "Allied Forces", "Never Surrender", "Thunder Seven" and "The Sport of Kings", which all sold well.
Triumph's success in North America weren't transformed in same caliber to the European markets, but there certainly is a buzz about the Sweden Rock reunion gig and RevelationZ Magazine gladly puts fuel to that fire by reviewing "Just a Game" and "Allied Forces".
In 1995 Triumph formed their own company and the entire Triumph catalog was re-mastered and reissued on CD. Both "Just a Game" and "Allied Forces" are the aforementioned reissues
Just a Game
Triumph rounded off the seventies with "Just a Game", which was released in 1979. The band produced the album themselves with Mike Levine as chief of production.
"Just a Game" is great album because Triumph sounds inspired and they have the attitude of "we'll show them". The best way is to let the music do the talking and 8 great consistent tracks make up "Just a Game" including my favorite Triumph song Lay it on the Line.
The blues rocker Young enough to Cry sounds great. It's emotional and has a charming 70´s feel. Rik Emmets playing is superb. The solo on Young Enough to Cry and the bouncing rocker American Girls are stunning. Rik Emmets ends American Girls with a long solo and it just seems like he could go on forever.
The title track has a moody feel, where the mix of acoustic and electric guitar works perfectly. The song has several instrumental pieces, which brings a special emotion to it and makes it another highlight.
In my opinion "Just a Game" marks Triumph's finest moment. The album has everything from rockers, blues songs, ballads and a flirt with progressive rock on Hold On.
Allied Forces
"Allied Forces" was Triumph's fifth album and the most famous Triumph album. The album is the first and only Triumph album to reach platinum status in the US (April 2003).
"Allied Forces" is more diverse and certainly has more aspects than "Just a Game". On this album Triumph doesn't distance themselves far from their fellow countrymen Rush.
The album has several layers to it and sounds big even today. Magic Power sounds like a Boston song combined with the classic keyboards of Rush. The power trio creates a bombastic sound. Triumph even flirts with Heavy metal on the title track, but the absolute album highlight is Fight the Good Fight
Not everything works for Triumph on this album. Ordinary man becomes too symphonic and the vocals tend to get annoying.
"Just a Game" and "Allied Forces" has lots to offer. Both discs still sound great more than 20 years later. This definitely will be a show to watch at Sweden Rock 2008.

Just a Game - 7,5/10
Allied Forces - 6,0/10

Written by Michael
Sunday, March 9, 2008
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Alanna (Staff) - Sunday, March 9, 2008
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Comments: 245
Always loved these albums too, though "Sport of Kings" may have been my favorite. They were discovered all roughly around the same time so nothing was allowed to completely stand out from the rest, though I do fondly remember "Fantasy Serenade" (love that song title!), "Just a Game" and "Magic Power".

Posted by Alanna (Staff)
Sunday, March 9, 2008

Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Member) - Friday, June 24, 2011
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Triumph is truly a great band. They have never released a bad album. There has been rumors of the three flirting with entering the studio again, however it has been a while since the re-union and they have not said anything that this will happen. Perhaps not releasing an other album allows us to walk down memory lane and see them as legends. Or on my part great Canadian legends.

Rik Emmett is unquestionably one of Canada's greatest guitar players. Till this day his versatility still wows me with his Classical and Jazz recordings and of course his return to rock with Airtime (2007). Like Steve Morse (whom is my all time favorite) I wonder if he has any musical boundaries when it comes to his playing.

By Triumph not releasing another album (now so late in their careers) I personally think Edge Of Excess was a good note to close that chapter. A Solid Rock Album! Even though Rik did not return for that recording.

Posted by Little Drummer Boy
Friday, June 24, 2011

Comment by Brian (Staff) - Friday, June 24, 2011
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Good to see this comment.
Edge... is inclined to polarise opinion among Triumph fans, but I absolutely love it. Gil Moore is just great on vocals, and bringing in M'laden (Von Groove) on guitar as well as Phil X was an inspired move.

Posted by Brian (Staff)
Friday, June 24, 2011

Comment by Little Drummer Boy (Member) - Monday, July 11, 2011
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Edge just did not have the other finesse trademarks of Emmett. When you think about it it was like having 2 bands rolled into one. That was the part many fans could not get past. They judged it for what it did not have rather what it did.

I remembered when I first heard Phil X was to fill the shoes of Emmett I was apprehensive. I really thought that it would be Steve Morse since he had close ties to Triumph at that time and he did have a guest appearance on the previous album, Surveillance, dueling it out with Emmett on "Headed For Nowhere". But after hearing the first single Troublemaker (featured on the Hellraiser 3 soundtrack) I could not wait for the CD release. Phil X contributed to an edger approach that fit the material nicely. And as you said "Gil Moore is just great on vocals".

Shame Gil Moore did not continue on will his works afterwards. Powerful vocalist and solid drummer. People tend to forget that nearly half the hits Triumph had was Gil Moore doing lead vocals and the material was more directed at straight ahead Rock. Edge provided that in spades and ended up being my third favorite album by the band.

Posted by Little Drummer Boy
Monday, July 11, 2011

Review by Michael

Released by
TML Entertainment - 1979

Just a Game
1. Movin' On
2. Lay It on the Line
3. Young Enough to Cry
4. American Girls
5. Just a Game
6. Fantasy Serenade
7. Hold On
8. Suitcase Blues

Allied Forces
1. Fool For Your Love
2. Magic Power
3. Air Raid
4. Allied Forces
5. Hot Time (In This City Tonight)
6. Fight The Good Fight
7. Ordinary Man
8. Petite Etude
9. Say Goodbye


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