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Triumph: Just a Game (remaster)

Remember back in the late 70's when there was all of a sudden another hot Canadian band besides Rush producing quality hard rock? Yes, that was Triumph, and their 1979 release Just a Game brought the band a bit of recognition here in the US thanks to wonderful FM anthems like Lay It On the Line and Hold On, both catchy hard rock numbers that hinted at a band with excellent songwriting and musical skills. Now that the Triumph catalog is being remastered, everyone can hear these albums with superior sound, and booklets that recreate the original LP's artwork and design.

As on the actual record that was released back in 1979, you get some neat live shots of the band, and the game board design, plus the lyrics to each of the songs. The songs you ask, well, there's plenty of muscular and melodic rockers, like the bluesy "Young Enough to Cry", which features drummer Gil Moore's husky vocals and searing lead guitar work from Rik Emmett. There's rockin' boogie numbers such as "Movin' On", raunchy riff-rockers like "American Girls", and the progressive tinged title track "Just a Game". Having two lead vocalists in Moore and Emmett added nice variety to Triumph's music, as both had very different styles and delivery; Emmett being very high pitched and melodic, and Moore in the lower register, better suited to the heavy rock numbers.

In what became standard on all of the Triumph albums, Emmett includes a short guitar instrumental, this one called "Fantasy Serenade", and a very nice piece at that. One of the world's most underrated guitar players, Emmett's work is amazing throughout this album, and the remaster process has done wonders for the guitar sound here, as it has for Mike Levine's thunderous and sinewy bass playing.

If you are a long-time Triumph fan, there's every reason in the world to pick up the remastered series, and this is as good a place to start as any. Those new to the band now have the perfect opportunity to check these guys out.


Track Listing
1) Movin' On (4:05)
2) Lay It On the Line (4:00)
3) Young Enough to Cry (6:00)
4) American Girls (5:01)
5) Just a Game (6:10)
6) Fantasy Serenade (1:40)
7) Hold On (6:00)
8) Suitcase Blues (3:02)

Added: March 1st 2005
Reviewer: Peter Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Triumph Website
Hits: 3154
Language: english

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Triumph: Just a Game (remaster)
Posted by Elias Granillo, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-03-01 21:50:42
My Score:

Just A Game was the third offering from Canada's "other" hard rockin' trio, Triumph, one in which the niche the band was in the midst of carving for itself was becoming most apparent. Naturally, the star of the band was Rik Emmett, he of the stunning, crystalline falsetto vocal and exemplary lead guitar prowess that was on par—even preferable—to the talents of Ritchie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen, and other rock guitar gods who rose to prominence in the 1970's. Gil Moore's drumming was modeled on the powerful styles of Ian Paice and Bill Ward, and while he may have lacked some finesse, one must not forget he also sang lead, and his drumming never suffered for it—so what if he never mastered the art of twirling a stick! Bassman Mike Levine pulled double duty on keyboards, and sported the best hair!

Just A Game generally receives better marks than the albums immediately before and after it, the bold Rock And Roll Machine and the uneven Progressions Of Power. For one thing, more songs are sung by Emmett on here than Moore, and while Gil's voice is well-suited to the heavier anthemic numbers, and Rik's the ballads and more melodic fare (both are interchangeable, to an extent), I prefer Rik's powerful, oftimes angelic pipes. Among Rick's songs are the radio-ready classic "Hold On," the highly regarded "Lay It On The Line," and the fantastic title track, which should have been recalled in Triumph's twilight days for another live show booster. Not to undercut Mr. Moore, the opening rocker "Movin' On" and the potent blues anti-ballad "Young Enough To Cry" are both super tracks. Yes, there's the acoustic solo instrumental, but the velvety "Suitcase Blues," relegated to final track status, is an overlooked gem every bit as enjoyable as "Fantasy Serenade," and the perfect closer.

Most importantly, it's been ten years since the TRC Remasters, and the new Millennium Remasters sound quite a bit better! Those who passed up on the first series now have an even better reason to revisit the Triumph catalog.




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