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Triumph - 1983 Never Surrender

ARTIST: Triumph
ALBUM: Never Surrender
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1986, MCA, MCAD31069 * 2004, TRC, 78006


LINEUP: Rik Emmett - vocals, guitars * Gil Moore - vocals, drums * Mike Levine - bass, keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Too Much Thinking * 02 A World Of Fantasy * 03 A Minor Prelude * 04 All The Way * 05 Battle Cry * 06 Overture (Processional) * 07 Never Surrender * 08 When The Lights Go Down * 09 Writing On The Wall * 10 Epilogue (Resolution)


1983's 'Never Surrender' was this Canadian trio's follow-up LP to the excellent 'Allied Forces'. I think it would be easy to say that following up with a new album after 'Allied Forces' was a hard ask, such was the bar being set very high with that album. Did 'Never Surrender' equal or surpass its predecessor? In my humble judgment, I would say no. Apart from a handful of tunes, most of the song material here just doesn't stand out. I bought the album back in the day, but I will admit to being a one-eyed teenage rock fan who didn't know a lot about anything back then! lol! Years later I can review this in the cold hard light of experience and say 'oh dear, what was I thinking?'

The Songs
Things get off to a harsh start with the grinding 'Too Much Thinking'. Gil Moore's voice is under strain from the get-go, plus the annoying wah-wah effects from Emmett make this a very underwhelming entrance. Much better, and in keeping with the typical Triumph style is the second-up effort 'A World Of Fantasy'. I'll admit to preferring Emmett's vocals over Moore's any day, the difference between these two opening tracks is like comparing night and day. 'A Minor Prelude' (all of 42 seconds) makes way for the anthemic rocker 'All The Way', a generic sounding tune, hamfisted in places but not too bad. Much better is 'Battle Cry', with its Led Zeppelin meets Zebra direction. Progressing beyond the short instrumental 'Overture', we land in the thick of the brilliant title track. Indeed, 'Never Surrender' reminds us of 'Ordinary Man' from the 'Allied Forces' platter. Gil Moore takes up the slack on 'When The Lights Go Down', another Triumph power rocker, this has a blues tinge to it thanks to Emmett's inventive guitar lines. 'Writing On The Wall' is perhaps the most commercial hard rocker here - next to 'A World Of Fantasy'. The album finishes with a Rik Emmett guitar instrumental.. 'Epilogue' has numerous influences within it, perhaps Larry Carlton is the most obvious.

In Summary
I listen to this album many moons later and come away thinking 'this one hasn't aged very well'. Perhaps that isn't fair, and even though the album did reasonably well (it made #26 on the Billboard Charts and had 3 tracks make the Mainstream Rock Charts, which is the equivalent of coming top of English Football League's Division Two), this wasn't a true indicator of success. You'll find that from this point onward, up until 1987's 'Surveillance', that the band were running out of ideas and inspiration. Considering this was the mid 80's, that's hardly surprising. For me, 'Never Surrender' sits a few rungs down the popularity ladder of Triumph's back catalog.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on March 04 2010 18:46:04
I think I agree pretty much with George here. I bought this when it came out and immediately loved 'World Of Fantasy' and 'A Minor Prelude / All The Way', and the rest was just OK. But it's still a pretty solid album overall.
#2 | AOR Lee on May 15 2016 17:49:32
George's review explains it very well, there are enough standout tracks but the whole album doesn't gel as well as some before and after NS. Still, World Of Fantasy is a stunner with Battle Cry and Never Surrender running it very close. Writing On The Wall has also grown on me recently, in addition to All The Way. Maybe the poor opening cut casts a long shadow on the rest of the album ?

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