Sunday, January 20, 2013

Triumph - Allied Forces

Oh yeah, this is definitely a trip down memory lane indeed, all you waveriders! My brother, Thomas, got me hooked on these guys - as with so many other bands in my formative years - the day he brought home their Never Surrender LP. That album is fantastic but pales in comparison to it's predecessor Allied Forces. So buckle up folks...a hot time in this city tonight is upon you!

It never falters. To this day whenever I put on Allied Forces and Fool For Your Love rips this album to life my teenage years collide with my current old ass and I headbang relentlessly. And as in my formative years I grab my imaginary Gibson and go to town on the invisible fretboard pretending to be the guitar hero I will never Rik Emmett. Still and I just turned 41 so I guess in some ways I will never grow up which I is good I suppose. Because the moment you stop being a kid at heart and start feeling your age you wither away. So being "into" metal and heavy rock is my fountain of youth, as soon as aches and pains appear I just put on an album like Allied Forces and I feel great for days. What need is there for pharmaceuticals when you have Triumph?

Alright, alright I'm straying from the subject but indulge me if you will dear waverider. This is after all a trip down memory lane up. As I mentioned earlier Fool For Your Love gets the album going with a slight southern rock feel for a few seconds but it quickly changes into a mid-tempo rocker once drummer Gil Moore starts to sing. Lyrically it's basically a love song but where the love goes wrong. Perfect album opener with some amazing riffing.

Second song out is the beautiful Magic Power, the first to feature Rik Emmett on vocals (Rik and Gil share the lead vocal duties). It tells the tale of young people struggling to make things work while having the whole world at their disposal...and music is what helps them on their way. Great song!

Third on the list is the short instrumental intro Air Raid. Sounding like it was taken from an arcade game it leads straight into the stomping title track Allied Forces.  A call-to-arms to all rockers this rocker simply annihilates. Rik Emmett is on top of things as always with some very smart and deft guitar playing. Gil Moore sings his heart out while keeping the beat behind the drums and Mike Levine's bass playing is impeccable.
The last song on side A is Hot Time(In This City Tonight) a fantastic homage to 50's music, think Chuck Berry, and Rik's wicked guitar playing peels the paint of the walls.

Side B opens up with Fight The Good Fight which is one of the longer songs on the album. The band speaks of making the right choices in life and doing the right thing, regardless the cost. Tough it out and you will be better for it. Musically the band changes slightly from here on leading into a more progressive field as Fight The Good Fight is more technical and subtle.

Their progressive leanings continue with Ordinary Man. Although it starts out with a choir before slowly moving onto a semi-acoutic segue, the song eventually explodes turning into a predecessor of thrash metal...seriously! Emmett is shredding and riffing like there's no tomorrow putting ANY accomplished thrash metal guitarist to shame. Moore and Levine follow suit and this is an absolute corker of a song...definitely my favourite on a great album.

Second last song on Allied Forces is Petite Etude which even further enhances Emmett's traits as an all-round guitar virtuoso of the highest order. This is a short, acoustic classical piece akin to what any of the classical masters would have composed...except Rik wrote it.

Triumph rounds off the album with Say Goodbye, a break-up song if there ever was one. Musically it's a return to the more straight-forward rock of side A although it's more mid-tempo with a heavy reliance on slide and lap steel guitars.

Overall Allied Forces is a fantastic album that touches on many various rock styles. Still the band manage elegantly to keep the music and the structure cohesive, engaging and simply crushing. The musicianship is out of this world and I have already spoken a lot about Rik Emmett but let's not forget about Gil Moore and Mike Levine. Gil is a tight, technical good rock drummer which is extremely apparent since he handles a lot of the lead vocals...while drumming. That is quite an accomplishment. And apart from being a solid bass player Mike plays all the synths, organs and pianos on this album. And this muscial ability is not only for the studio, they did the same live...just like their fellow Canadians Rush. Must be something in the water up there in Canada!


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