MCA, 1987

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Triumph doesn’t get enough love.

Yes, they were kind of the Great Value Rush. (Power trio? Check. Canadian? Check. Lack of internal strife and ability to update sound for the time? Um….) But there is something to be said for the pounding percussion of Gil Moore and Rik Emmett’s ability to emote while singing. They were just a fun band.

Surveillance, however, is the album where they, at least briefly, Got Serious (™).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There is a definite overtone to this album that perhaps we were a long way from the days of “Magic Power”. Taking on issues like global warming may seem odd for a metal band, but Triumph made it work, more or less. Add in the interesting choice of guitarslinger-for-hire Steve Morse on a couple of tracks (I swear, I can hear two guitar chords and I can identify Steve Morse. That ‘duh-duh-duh-da-DUH-duh’ thing of his is unmistakable) and Surveillance is interesting, complex, and even intriguing in places.

Production is acceptable, though Triumph’s sound has always been a little dynamically flat for my tastes. Musicianship is competent, and even a little flashy in places (I’m looking at you, the guitar break in “On And On”).

The bad first: there are a couple of hair-metal crapfests on this CD. “Long Time Gone” and “Rock You Down” are cliche-ridden, boring, and not worth hearing a second time, much less a first. If I wanted Quiet Riot, I’d listen to Quiet Riot. Now that that’s out of the way….

There are some damned good tracks on this CD as well. “All Over Again” is a nice power ballad. “Never Say Never” will get your blood running and your fists pumping. “Headed For Nowhere” has a couple of minutes of caffeine-fueled guitar and drum madness that shows off the band’s skills as musicians. The highlight for me is “All The King’s Horses/Carry On The Flame”, a surprisingly thoughtful and serious look at the environment as it stood in the late eighties (and trust me, it’s just gotten worse since then).

Is Surveillance a great album? No. Not in the least. It’s not even the best Triumph album. But like many a forgotten CD, it’s got some gold hidden within. Worthwhile for fans of the band or the genre.

Rating: B-

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