Triumph - Thunder Seven
Editor's Choice ...
And this time ... "Thunder Seven", Triumph's seventh studio album released on November 10, 1984.
We have a weakness for Power Trios, you probably already know that, and if they're Canadians then they deserve a bonus from us. Now add to that the fact that they have a Jewish bassist and keyboardist, and two great singers, one of whom is the drummer, and you will understand that with such opening figures there is no chance that we would not have fallen in love with this band.
It is one of the band's biggest albums, which reached its peak of popularity in its wake, largely thanks to the two "hits", "Spellbound" and "Follow Your Heart", both of which were rotated on the MTV channel at the time.
At the same time, the other side of the album includes a kind of concept musical piece whose recurring theme is related to "time". This is also one of the reasons why this album is our particular favorite, as it showcases the added value of sophistication and complexity that this band has.
This album was influenced by changes in the music market during the 1980s, so its sound and style were updated accordingly, relative to the band's previous albums. These effects can already be heard from the excellent opening track "Spellbound", with the clean and polished production and the excess of keyboards. The lead singer in this song is drummer Gil Moore and guitarist Rik Emmett on background vocals during the chorus. We have always loved the fact that this band has two singers, each with a different voice color. They complement each other and allow the band a greater musical diversity.
This diversity is already reflected in the second track of the album "Rock Out, Roll On" which opens with an interesting guitar riff by Rik Emmett, who also sings Lead Vocals. Emmett's voice is higher and more flexible, he has an extra wide range and he uses his voice as a musical instrument, with melodic vocals that travel above and below the riff.
The third track "Cool Down" is one of the specials on the album. It starts with a classic blues that reminds us of "Bon Jovi" "Wanted Dead Or Alive" and from the beginning, it becomes a bluesy hard rock that is sure to remind you of "Led Zeppelin", even with Rik Emmett's singing that really sounds like Robert Plant, at times. The excellent slide guitar solo of Emmett proves how talented guitarist he is. Emmett also plays keyboards on this album and shares this instrument with bassist Mike Levine.
The track ending the vinyl's first side is the excellent "Follow Your Heart", which is also probably the band's most successful single. The lead singer in the song is drummer Gil Moore who this time too receives an enriching and beautiful reinforcement from Emmet in the high notes of the chorus.
From here we come to what we think is the highlight of the album. The other side of the vinyl, with the concept of "time" which runs as the second thread between the various tracks on this side. The song "Time Goes By" opens up this kind of concept piece. It's not a complex song but it's definitely one of the best on the album with a strong and slow riff in the verses, a bridge section that includes an amazing collaboration between Moore and Emmett's vocal harmonies, and such catchy and beautiful chorus that will not leave your head.
Immediately after comes the classic instrumental track "Midsummer's Daydream", which is a passage played by Emmett on acoustic guitar. This piece also proves what a versatile giant guitarist Rik Emmett is, both in terms of melody and performance.
The short section "Time Canon" is a kind of a cappella by Emmett and Moore which serves as an intro to the charming song "Killing Time", which is the culmination of this concept musical piece. Emmett and Moore collaborate in lead singing that sounds like a vocal dialogue between the two. We think this is the first time in the band's history that these two excellent singers have equally shared lead vocals in a song, and it's so special and beautiful.
We're nearing the end of the piece with "Stranger in a Strange Land", another amazing blues piece sung by Rik Emmett that ranges from soft and caressing during the verses to poignant and powerful in the chorus. The song features excellent bass work by Mike Levine who also plays the synthesizers.
The album is sealed with another instrumental track "Little Boy Blues", whose title reveals its musical style. Unlike the previous instrumental track, this time Emmett shows us his abilities in blues playing on an electric guitar, and it's hard for us not to compare his playing here to the legendary Gary Moore.