Edge Of Excess


Victory Music, 1992


REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


Quick! What do you get when a repeated gold-selling rock outfit takes nearly four years off between album releases, switches guitarists, and releases an album to a label that goes belly up just one month after the record hits the shelves?

The answer is Triumph's Edge Of Excess, an album that seemingly doesn't count and could be unfairly categorized as a wasted effort.

Too bad if that's your first reaction. Sure, the departure of singer/songwriter/guitarist and posterboy pinup Rik Emmett from the band in 1989 resulted in some messy courtroom litigation that had many people thinking this Canadian rock trio was finished. But Triumph, by virtue of having drummer Gil Moore and Emmett teaming up to share the singing/songwriting duties through the eight-album history of the band, had always been more dynamic than most bands with regards to the chemistry found on each album. Moore's tracks and vocals provided the power; Emmett's generated the finesse.

Fan familiarity with the separate vocal/songwriting elements of past Triumph albums would prove to be a valuable resource for this release and also prove to leave enough gas in the tank to make Edge Of Excess an album worth checking out.

So while realizing that Triumph had always packaged "two albums in one," my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Edge Of Excess understandably would take on a new face as Moore would find himself tasked with having to anchor the lead songwriting duties. Add in the hard riffing Phil Xenidis, as the replacement to Emmett, and the over/under on Edge Of Excess' evolving into a no-frills rock album obviously weighed heavily in that direction.

I, for one, can't say that turned out to be a bad thing. Sure, Moore's songwriting was never overly sophisticated but that never mattered to me. He has always had a rock voice that could handle singing some blues as parts of "Black Sheep" would illustrate. And the opening track"Child of the City" turned out to be one of the best Triumph songs that Emmett never wrote. The opening guitar riffs of Xenidis on the song were decidedly a tribute to the new era as the musical differences that frustrated Moore and Emmett in the past centered on what Moore claimed to be Emmett softening in his approach to his songwriting.

Additionally, another track on the album, "Troublemaker" enjoyed the notoriety that came with the fact of its inclusion on the Hellraiser 3 movie soundtrack. It's a song that would have never made it to a Triumph album previously as in my estimation; it's the hardest song Triumph would ever lay claim to. In it's current format, the power of the song would have disrupted the AOR balance each album Triumph had put out to this point.

On the ballad, It's Over, Moore does seem to struggle with the opening notes but rallies to handle the chorus in fine fashion. The old days would have had him dueting his way through the song as he did on Thunder Seven's "Killing Time and The Sport of Kings "Hooked on You." And while it might seem unfair to keep comparing Edge Of Excess back to the albums that had the dueling songwriting element, one must remember, it's the standard Triumph set for themselves.

For many fans, the road most easily traveled is to bemoan what Edge Of Excess didn't have and that's obviously the contributions of Rik Emmett. But, I find that to be a cop out. Moore and bassist Mike Levine did a noble job in keeping the rock n' roll machine moving forward with this release. Through no fault of Triumph's, Victory Music's parent Polygram pulled the plug on the marketing and distribution operation as the album was just getting out of the gates. As a result, the album lost the airplay radio was just beginning to give their first single, "Child of the City." And with that, it was almost as if Edge Of Excess never existed.

As I said earlier, Moore's voice was always fundamentally half of the Triumph equation. Simple mathematics would suggest Edge Of Excess would generate only half the chops one would expect from a Triumph album. I can't say that's necessarily the case in the instance.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2004 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Victory Music, and is used for informational purposes only.