Stepping out of the realm of objective criticism for a second, I have to admit that I hold a personal appreciation for the band Triumph. They were a band I had listened to while first getting into both the hard rock and heavy metal genres. They gave their magic power of music to me and I fought the good fight with it, etc, etc. Even if the band were a fraction of their heyday selves, I would continue to enjoy and appreciate their presence. The truth is, however, when Triumph do come together all these years later, they are still a force to be reckoned with. They have not lost much in all this time since their birth. The proof is this CD/DVD release, Live at Sweden Rock Festival. The live performance captured on both audio and video is damn good. I say, damn good. And you have to wonder, ‘Why isn’t this band a mainstay on today’s touring circuit?’ WHY?!

‘If only,’ I guess. Triumph came a little too late to Hard Rock’s fertility. They were always known as the little trio sibling of their Canadian brethren, Rush. And ‘if only’ Triumph had stayed a solid unit like Rush had throughout its career. But, as said, when Triumph do come together they produce wonderful music. And the band plays as one without missing a beat. Very sharp. Very loud. Very electric. Again, damn good.

On Live at Sweden Rock Festival — a performance recorded in June 7, 2008 — the full-throttle hard rockers “Allied Forces” and “Rock and Roll Machine” still excel. Solid classic rockers “Lay It On the Line” and “Fight the Good Fight” sound f**kin amazing. And the catchy “Magic Power” is forever a crowd-pleaser. Bassist Mike Levine and drummer Gil Moore are as tight as any rhythm section can be, and guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett — looking more like Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson than the long-haired guitar god of days past — reins supreme with stalwart vocals and high-quality guitar licks.

The only thing that stops this reviewer from giving this CD/DVD package a perfect 5-star review are a few flaws. First, the video quality of the DVD is good enough but does not match the brilliance of the band’s actual performance. And the inclusion of the cover of Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” is a head-scratcher. “Rocky Mountain Way” is an iconic classic rock song, true, but leave it alone. We put on these discs to listen to Triumph. Not Triumph covering a Joe Walsh song that has been overplayed on FM Radio. You might as well cover “Stairway to Heaven.” Triumph do it well enough but it’s a snore. One to be skipped over, which slows down the momentum of an otherwise great concert performance.

You don’t have to be a Triumph fan to pick up this release. Any hard rock or classic rock fan should own and enjoy this. Trust me.

Bravo, Triumph. Continue to fight the good fight, please.


Label: TML Entertainment (to purchase the CD/DVD package go here)