When I first heard this album was in the works I knew I wanted to be a first day buyer. Triumph was the first concert I ever attended and I have loved Rik Emmett ever since. Unfortunately for me Triumph broke up and Rik ventured off on a solo career. His music has slowly gone away from stadium rock to a mellow, acoustic guitar based jazz/rock. He is still an amazing player, just not as heavy as he used to be. I’ve seen him live many times and I can still well up with tears because his guitar work makes me so happy. However, I still long for the good old days of Triumph.
Of note was the availability of the album. I had to call 20 stores until I found a copy, and it was only on cd. This was on the release day in the bands home area. No vinyl available. Personally I am getting very fed up with new releases not being available when promised. Why even bother having a release day? The cd packaging is very nice though. The cd has a vinyl-look, sleeved in a mock 45 record style card sleeve inside the gatefold packaging. The booklet is nice as well.
This may not be a Triumph reunion but….wait a second. There is a bonus track, Grand Parade has a drummer by the name of Gil Moore and a bassist named Mike Levine. WICKED.
Ohh and speaking of guests, this album has another pair of Canadian musicians. Alex Lifeson(Rush) plays guitar on one song, James Labrie (Dream Theater) sings on another and they are both featured on a third song. This album is basically a who’s who of Canadian talent.
Stand Still – This song has kind of a fun, groovy beat. Almost like a Chickenfoot song. It seems like the band is already enjoying themselves here.
Human Race – Unmistakable guitar work here. Alex Lifeson plays 12 string licks that may be similar to a few Rush songs, without copying them. With 3 amazing guitarists on this song it may have had the potential to be over saturated, but rest assured it is just amazing.
I Sing – Rik Emmett and James Labrie both sing lead vocals here. They work so well together. The guitar work is amazing as well.
My Cathredral – The guitar work reminds me of The Black Crowes or SRV. The organ and female background singers add a beautiful touch. The guitar solo 3 minutes in is real cool as well.
The Ghost Of Shadow Town – The guitar is the hero again on this slow, bluesy jam. It has kind of a Bon Jovi feel (as do others on this album). In fact, a few of the songs could easily have been on Slippery When Wet. They are that good. Hey JBJ, if your newer stuff sounded more like this, perhaps you wouldn’t have to put your house up for sale.
When You Were My Baby – A funky jam with guitar work not unlike a Joe Satriani song. Rik Emmet does the first solo, and Dave Dunlop does the next. They both do an amazing job.
Sweet Tooth – This reminds me of a David Lee Roth song from the mid 80’s. It has a bouncy beat that never seems to take itself seriously. Great, but sedated guitar work. This may be the only song on the album that isn’t quite at the same level as the rest. It’s good, but the rest are better.
Heads Up – This reminds me of Rik’s most famous solo song Big Lie. It also has elements of 80’s Bon Jovi.
Rest of My Life – Dave Dunlop mixes it up bit by playing acoustic here. It’s a nice addition. Also the background chants are welcome. A really uplifting song about love, starting anew, and the joy of life.
End Of The Line – Rik Emmett, Alex Lifeson and James Labrie on the same song. It starts with a Kiss drum beat and a Mama Said guitar tone. No offence to Slash but I think this song has even better guitar. James Labrie’s vocals are wonderful. This is one amazing song. WOW.
Grand Parade (Bonus Song) – The first time the boys from Triumph have recorded a song together since Surveillance came out in 1987. I for one have been waiting almost 30 years for this. I still want a full blown Triumph reunion, but I’m sure that will never happen. Gil Moore is too busy as the owner of Metal Works Studio (where this album was recorded). I’m not sure about Mike Levine. It’s great to see they can work together and put water under the bridge. As you can imagine, this sounds like a Triumph song. A good Triumph song. Not the balls out, stadium rocker I would have hoped for, but a nice, mellow song. Good to see Gil and Mike can still play. Maybe this song will give them the itch again. It’s been way too long.
For fans of Triumph, Rush, Dream Theater, 80’s Bon Jovi, and rock period. This album rocks. There isn’t a dud on this entire album. One song just one small notch below the rest.