Triumph Biography

This Canadian power trio formed in Toronto during 1975. Comprising Rik Emmett (10 July 1953, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; guitar/vocals), Gil Moore (b. 12 February 1951, Canada; drums) and Mike Levine (b. 1 June 1949, Canada; bass/keyboards), Triumph shared many similarities to Rush aside from geographical location. All three members were highly accomplished musicians who experimented with many facets of high-tech melodic rock, yet they followed a rockier road than their fellow countrymen.

Triumph’s music was characterized by Emmett’s high-pitched vocals and intricate guitar work, supplemented by keyboard fills and a thunderous rhythm section. Interest built slowly, but the band finally made a breakthrough with Just A Game, their third album, released in 1979 and featuring the US Top 40 hit ‘Hold On’. Allied Forces (1981) and Never Surrender (1983) saw the pinnacle of their success, with both albums attaining gold status in the USA. 1984’s Thunder Seven, a CD-only release, was a disjointed collection, while the live album that followed suffered from a wooden sound and flat production. In live settings, the band frequently used Rick Santers as an extra guitarist to overcome the limitations of a three man line-up. Like Rush, their concerts were renowned for their sophisticated special effects rather than the actual music, and featured every conceivable pyrotechnic device available, plus the ultimate in computerized, laser lighting rigs. 1986’s The Sport Of Kings saw the band move in a blatantly commercial direction and featured the US Top 30 hit ‘Somebody’s Out There’. The follow-up Surveillance marked a return to their roots: an aggressive and well-produced hard rock album. Emmett left the band in 1988 and was replaced by guitarist Phil Xenides. The vocals were taken over by Moore, but much of Triumph’s character left with Emmett. Phil X (b. Phil Xenides, Canada) joined in 1992 as additional guitarist, but the album Edge Of Excess was a lacklustre effort. Triumph disbanded shortly afterwards. Moore and Levine have continued to release live recordings and videos to cater for the bands loyal fanbase. They also run the lucrative Metal Works Studio in Mississauga.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.