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Triumph - Never Surrender CD (album) cover

NEVER SURRENDER

Triumph

 

Prog Related

2.51 | 41 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars In Never Surrender we've got a hefty collection of hard-rock and almost metal that clings to the hard-rock blues of the '70's despite being surrounded by shifting musical styles. Triumph gets points for not being a party/glam band like many of their contemporaries like Motley Crue or Dokken or Ratt or (insert crappy/campy '80's hard rock band here). Songs on Never Surrender are mostly political in theme and include just enough sprinkling of artistic nuance to get them into Prog Archives... but don't go in with the wrong expectations: Triumph is a hard-rock band first. The skill and artistic merit that comes along the way seems like an after thought.

Most of the album is straight-ahead, gruff, crunchy, upbeat rock. Emmett's guitar playing, and especially his solos, are above average. If Triumph stuck to their instrumental guns they'd actually be a pretty badass band, as shown by Emmett's axe work in the ferocious "Too Much Thinking", the bluesy "Battle Cry", and especially in the extended and creative soloing in "When the Lights Go Down." It's too bad that Emmett opens his mouth to handle most of the singing, too. Never Surrender has lyrics that are acceptably bad for the genre and era, but Emmett's high, tinny, thin, frail vocals are just plain bad. If you like camp (like me), you'll actually have fun slumming along to the shrill wails, but vocals are definitely among the album's low points (drummer Gil Moore provides much better, though infrequent vocals).

The rest of the band plays quite well. While not striving for instrumental virtuosity or ear-catching moments, the rhythm section is entirely effective. The real issue with Never Surrender is that the songs just aren't much to write home about. Emmett's guitar ends up being the most memorable thing about the album, not the songs he's playing on.

The result is a fun, unchallenging yet uninsulting hard-rock release from a fun, unchallenging band. Check out the heavy bluesy guitar antics on "When the Lights Go Down," and maybe you'll agree... if you don't press the STOP button on your way there.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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