By Martin Popoff
Live at Sweden Rock Festival
Ha ha, man, they look exactly the same, which is inspiring in itself. No, here the acrimony is put aside as Triumph strikes a rare reunion pact for one of the world’s main situations where this sort of thing magically happens, sunny Sweden Rock, the biggest old school metal lovefest on the planet. Both drummer Gil Moore and guitarist Rik Emmett are singing their usual high, histrionic and strong, on these bombastic songs of inspiration and hope, some like elephantine progressive power ballads, others not much more aspirational than heavy KISS or Ted Nugent, but arriving late by three or four years into the early ‘80s.
There’s tight, neat logo graphics behind the boys on this daytime set, adding to the geometry of seeing these three guys (with a fourth, but downplayed), deliver one of the tightest and best recorded sets of their live career. Knock them all you want for their cheesy songs, Sweden Rock demonstrates that Triumph’s rhythm section is better than ever. There’s no problem with the singing, and Rik can still think like a hard rocker when he wants. Great camera angles, and slow an’ smart enough editing adds to the relaxing vibe of these non-challenging songs, but again, it’s the heavy guitar sound and fat bass that really slams this set into a package without fault.
Highlights? Well, I’d have to go with the thematic suite “Lay It On The Line,” “Magic Power” and “Never Surrender,” songs that comprise Triumph’s most substantial and unique proposal to the world, a refreshingly gauche form of the “stadium rock ballad.”